Progressives for Immigration Reform

By The Social Contract
Volume 19, Number 4 (Summer 2009)
Issue theme: "Progressives for Immigration Reform"

Progressives for Immigration Reform is a non-profit organization that supports the principles of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring fair wages for America’s workforce. Concerned that the skyrocketing U.S. population has direct implications for a sustainable future, PFIR promotes immigration policies which result in a sustainable population and resource conservation. PFIR advocates for initiatives that provide opportunities for immigrants to improve the economic, health, social and environmental conditions within their own countries. Progressives for Imigration Reform’s leadership team includes: William N. Ryerson, president and chair, who has worked in the field of reproductive health for nearly 40 years; vice president Frank Morris, Ph.D., retired Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Morgan State University and a former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; and Vernon M. Briggs, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Labor Economics at the New York State School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Cornell University and a former chair of the National Council on Employment Policy.

Resources and data available on PFIR’s website* include:

● The results of a national poll of self-identified liberals and progressives which underscores the broad range of political constituencies involved in and the non-ideological concerns about the current levels of immigration into the United
States and the harmful effect that current immigration policies are having on U.S. population growth, the environment, and the availability of jobs. The Pulse Opinion Research survey, conducted in April 2009, revealed:

● 67 percent of liberals and progressives felt the level of population growth caused by immigration negatively impacts the quality of life in the United States.

● 58 percent felt that the current levels of immigration are harmful to the environment.

● 63 percent said that current levels of immigration hurts job prospects for American workers.

● Statistics issued by the Bureau of Labor for January 2009, reveal a national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, with 11.6 million Americans reportedly out of work. In Fiscal Year 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.45 million new immigrants gained legal authorization to work in the United States. In addition to these new, legal foreign workers, The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that during that same year, 7.7 million illegal aliens were employed in the United States. Nationally, some estimates for the number of American workers displaced by immigration each year are as high as two million. The large number of new immigrants added to the workforce through legal and legal immigration has major implications on the availability of jobs for many Americans. Unemployment rates in the U.S. are now the highest in over 16 years.

● Projections issued by the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that over the next 50 years the United States is set to add an additional 167 million more to its population, with 105 million resulting solely due to immigration. This projection is an increase of more than 55 percent of the U.S. population today.  Immigration accounts for 63 percent of our nation’s population growth. For over 30 years, immigration has served as the largest contributor to the increase in U.S. population. As a direct result of its immigration policies, the United States is now the third most populous nation in the entire world and grows at a rate of more than twice that of China. In fact, the United States has the fastest
population growth of any industrialized nation, and is surpassed only by India and Nigeria.

● The World Bank determined that roughly between 25-50 percent of individuals having a college education in developing nations lives abroad. By comparison, developing countries have less than 5 percent of their educated working abroad. ■