Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has consistently proposed policies that contradict his other policies. The latest example was covered by my former employer, The Washington Examiner.
Sanders has demanded for years that the minimum wage be increased to $15 an hour, yet as the Examiner reported, this proposal would end up hurting the very working-class immigrants Sanders claims to champion.
“The facts are clear: Low-skilled immigrants would be disproportionately affected by a major upward shift in the federal wage floor. The 4.1 million immigrants lacking a high school degree made up 59% of that demographic in 2018, and their median annual wages were $27,820, well below the annual earnings of a $15-an-hour worker working 40 hours per week,” the outlet reported. “Democrats believe, of course, that minimum wage laws raise pay without costing jobs. But such a high wage floor imposed across the whole country would have significant adverse effects on low-wage workers’ opportunities. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office’s median estimate was 1.3 million net lost jobs if a $15 minimum wage was implemented through 2025.”
The Examiner went on to report that low-skilled immigrants are choosing states with lower minimum wages – like Texas and Virginia – over states that have increased their minimum wage, like California and New York. The reason is that it is easier for them to get a job at a lower wage (and, hopefully, move up the ladder to the American dream) than to get a job with a higher wage.
The higher entry wage cuts out low-skilled workers, such as some immigrants and teenage Americans. The higher wage ends up either costing companies jobs, which then creates a demand for more skilled workers to take the available jobs, or reduces hours of employees who see the increase, meaning they either get a tiny boost to their income or see no increase.
As the Examiner reported, a higher federal minimum wage would result in fewer low-skilled workers moving to the United States.
“True, firms may adjust in the short-term by restricting other work-related benefits, cutting hours, or reorienting production, allowing them to maintain jobs. But future job growth in these industries will be lower, particularly in industries with a high proportion of minimum wage workers: food and drink establishments, accommodation, personal care, and private household work. Such sectors have historically been the first step on the jobs’ ladder for new, unskilled immigrants,” the outlet reported.
Further, Sanders’ proposed “federal jobs guarantee” would likely receive little support from the American public. “U.S. taxpayers will never support giving low-skilled immigrants public-funded jobs solely because they can’t get a job anywhere else,” the Examiner explained.
Sanders isn’t the only one with a plan that would hurt low-skilled immigrants, though he doesn’t market his plan as such. The Trump administration recently implemented a “public charge” rule that would “refuse legal status to unskilled immigrants whom the government predicts will make less than 250% of the poverty line: $31,900 annually for an individual,” the Examiner reported.
Many immigrants who came to America did not make much, but worked hard to achieve the American dream.