Struggling Colorado workers can't afford a flood of illegal immigration

Article author: 
Martha Hurlbert
Article publisher: 
Colorado Business Daily
Article date: 
October 14, 2020
Article category: 
Colorado News
Medium
Article Body: 
When Covid hit Colorado, the unemployment rate soared from a record low 2.5 percent to more than 12 percent. By August, it dropped back to 6.7 percent.
 
That's a significant improvement, of course. But roughly 200,000 Coloradans still lack jobs. Many are struggling to feed their families.
 
The last thing these Coloradans need is more competition from illegal workers. Yet that's precisely what they'll get if Democrats take the White House and Senate this November. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promise to enact the biggest amnesty in U.S. history and hamstring ICE and Border Patrol, effectively inviting millions of foreigners to illegally immigrate here.
 
Roughly 11 million illegal aliens already live in the United States -- and nearly 200,000 have taken up residence here in Colorado. Unscrupulous employers often exploit these workers for cheap labor, thus pushing Americans out of jobs.
 
Such abusive and discriminatory hiring practices occurred even in good times. Consider an Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation last summer -- one of the largest raids ever -- which nabbed hundreds of illegal workers at chicken processing plants in Mississippi. One plant was located in a majority-Black county where the unemployment rate was double the national average, with a 23.8 percent poverty rate.
 
After the raid, the plant scrambled to hire a legal workforce. It held a job fair and received hundreds of applications from local residents -- mostly Black and Hispanic citizens.
 
Now, with the economy still shaky, corporations will feel even more pressure to cut corners. Employers save well over $100 billion annually by hiring illegal aliens, according to Harvard professor George Borjas. That's $100 billion that would have otherwise gone to American citizens and legal immigrants.
 
Illegal aliens also place heavy burdens on public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and law enforcement. Each illegal alien household costs taxpayers almost $5,700, according to one 2016 study.
 
The problem would grow far, far worse if Democrats score a trifecta this fall, winning the White House along with both chambers of Congress. The Biden campaign is already promising an amnesty for all 11 million illegal aliens. It's also pledging to halt deportations and scale back border security measures.
 
In effect, those policies would roll out the welcome mat for future illegal immigrants.
 
Coloradans can't afford that. Governor Polis' latest budget forecasts indicate that Colorado's general fund revenue will fall 11.6 percent in FY 2020-21. An influx of illegal immigrants would further drain the state's coffers -- and taxpayers would be on the hook for the inevitable shortfall.
 
Senator Gardner has long been a proponent of border security and common-sense immigration reforms. Former Governor John Hickenlooper, by contrast, has indicated he will toe the party line on an amnesty deal.
 
Whatever happens in the presidential race, Coloradans deserve a senator who will protect the livelihoods of our local families and workers. So long as the Senate remains in GOP hands, Cory Gardner can help save Colorado from the worst impulses of "open borders" Democrats.