Illegals get a pay raise while current American workers’ checks could get squeezed

by Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times  |  published on November 21, 2014

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Illegal immigrants stand to make out nicely, seeing a big jump in their wages under President Obama’s policy, announced Thursday, granting millions of them temporary amnesty and the chance to work legally, but analysts say American workers in some jobs are likely to feel a pinch from new competitors.

While most of the illegal immigrants to whom Mr. Obama granted tentative legal status were already under little fear of deportation, they were usually working in the shadows, either off-the-books or using a bogus Social Security number that trapped them in low-skilled jobs and left them vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous employers.

But Mr. Obama said millions of them will now be granted legal work permits along with their official stays of deportation, giving them a chance to seek better-paying jobs, demand a minimum wage and report workplace safety violations without fear of retribution.

Those new protections could produce an average wage jump of 12 percent, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate attached to last year’s Senate immigration bill.

Native-born workers, however, will see a more mixed picture — and those in some low-skilled jobs, particularly ones that require a background check, such as drivers, school janitors or hired security guards, are likely to face new competition, said Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

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