When another speaker at Centennial's immigration debate on Jan. 12 asked rhetorically who should win and lose in the job market, Rosemary Jenks of Numbers USA burst out, "Americans should win, every time!" It was one of the most dramatic moments of the event, soon to be available in full on video at this website. Meanwhile, here is the text of Jenks's opening statement:
JENKS: All sovereign nations have the right and the duty to protect their borders. While
nations do not have the right to keep people within their borders, they do have the right
to keep noncitizens out.
In other words, noncitizens do NOT have a right to immigrate; rather, immigration is a
privilege granted by a nation to those individuals it chooses.
So, how should nations choose to whom they grant that privilege?
In America, the U.S. Constitution specifically empowers Congress to set immigration
policy, and the preamble of the Constitution provides the framework in which that
should be done.
The preamble reads, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more
perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common
defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of
So, under the Constitution, we the people empower our elected officials to establish
policies that serve the interests of Americans.
Today in the United States, 22 million Americans want, but cannot find, full-time jobs.
Among Americans with only a high school education, one in five (20%) cannot find fulltime
Among Hispanic Americans with only a high school education, 36 percent cannot find
Among Black Americans with only a high school education, 40 percent cannot find fulltime
Among American teens—16 and 17 year olds—40 percent cannot find full-time jobs.
And yet, today in the United States, because our government has abdicated its duty to
enforce immigration laws, an estimated seven million non-agricultural jobs are held by
illegal aliens. The vast majority of these illegal aliens have no more than a high school
In addition, our government currently grants permanent work permits to an average of
75,000 working-age legal immigrants every single month, under the most generous
legal immigration policy in the world. About half of these immigrants have no more
than a high school education.
How is it morally or civically acceptable for the U.S. government to not just ignore the
plight of 22 million Americans who desperately need jobs, but to actively pursue a
policy that actually imports more workers to compete with them for scarce jobs, and
that drives down wages?
How is it morally or civically just to import large numbers of foreign workers at the
expense of native-born minorities?
How is it morally or civically right to import foreign labor and thereby deny our own
young people the entry-level jobs they need to develop a work ethic and begin to climb
the economic ladder?
Individually, we have a moral and civic obligation to help all people to the best of our
ability. The moral and civic obligation of the United States government, however, must
be first and foremost to serve the interests of the American people.
It simply is not moral or civically responsible to offer the American Dream to mass
numbers of foreigners at the cost of denying it to the most vulnerable of our fellow