NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 10, 2006

Critics of a fence along our southern border with Mexico claim that it will not deter illegal workers, who are drawn here by the powerful magnetic pull of economic opportunity and plentiful jobs.  The truth is, we don't know, because we have never tried to build an effective barrier across the border that is difficult to tunnel under or scale, says Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa)

The way the system works now, various federal agencies must sort the needles called terrorists and violent criminals from the massive haystack of illegal humanity.  The system doesn't work.  The fact remains that four million people a year illegally cross our southern border, says King.

The United States has no shortage of labor and would not have one if all illegals went home, says King:

  • Department of Labor statistics show that there are 69 million Americans between the ages of 16-74, who are simply not in the workforce.
  • They represent 10 Americans for each illegal worker.

According to a research report compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center last March:

  • The illegal workforce numbers 6.9 million.
  • Illegals, then, represent 4.9 percent of our workforce of 141 million people, according to Labor.
  • Because of lack of education and low skills, only 2.2 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) is produced by illegal labor.

Source: Steve King, "Letter to the Editor: Build a Wall Big Enough to Keep the Illegals Out," Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2006.

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