Below is a question from me to Houston Chronicle columnist Loren Steffy in regards to his May 20 article about our dear friends in Texas: illegal immigrants. (Sarcasm intended.) Loren was gracious enough to answer my question.
Q: Why can’t the job shortages you address in your column today be filled by workers already in the United States who are unemployed?
I am on the same page with you as far as making the process easier for workers from abroad to legally work here, but how do you answer the argument that we could fill those shortages with jobless citizens who live here?
A: Because the numbers don’t work. Right now in Texas unemployment is about 3.8 percent. Most economists believe 4 percent means there essentially is no unemployment. So if there are 1.1 million illegal immigrants here, even though some of them may not be working or may not work regularly, the size of that gap means even if we could train all 450,000 people on the unemployment rolls, we wouldn’t close it.
What are your thoughts?