That's why it's so important to send Sen. John Cornyn back to Washington. Texas could determine which party controls the Senate.
By Steve Mason
AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — This fall, Texans received some unexpectedly good economic news; unemployment rates have dropped to their lowest levels since the coronavirus shutdowns. Still, millions of Texans remain out of work, and the economy is far from pre-pandemic boom times.
This fragile recovery is under threat -- not just from a resurgence of the virus, but from a shift of power in Washington. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has pledged to push for a major amnesty bill that'd grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants -- and if the Democrats capture the Senate, nothing could prevent that from happening.
That's why it's so important to send Sen. John Cornyn back to Washington. Texas could determine which party controls the Senate. And if Biden takes the White House, only a Republican Senate could stop the Democrats' immigration agenda.
Texas is second only to California in its illegal alien population. An estimated 1.6 million reside here, with Mexico the leading country of origin. Over half lack a high school degree, and they largely wind up in low-skilled sectors of the economy -- agriculture, food service, and construction -- where they compete with working-class Americans.
Pro-immigration activists argue employers are forced to turn to immigrants for jobs Americans supposedly won't do. Yet there is no evidence of a vast labor shortage in the United States -- in fact, the unemployment rate is highest for unskilled workers, at roughly 20 percent.
Illegal immigrants, however, are willing to work for below-market wages -- allowing them to displace more expensive, native-born workers. Here in Texas, a 2013 report found that half of all construction workers were here illegally. Most accepted wages well below what an American-born worker would make -- taking tens of thousands of jobs that could go to native Texans.
Those low-skilled Americans who keep their jobs still find their earnings depressed. Harvard economists George Borjas and Lawrence Katz estimate that U.S. high school dropouts would earn up to 8 percent more if it weren't for competition from low-skilled immigrants.
Illegal immigration also harms taxpayers. A recent study found that 69 percent of non-citizen households in Texas use at least one welfare program, compared with 35 percent of native-born households.
One immigration watchdog pegged the total fiscal burden of illegal immigration in Texas at $11 billion annually. Illegal aliens also pay far less in taxes than they receive in health, education, and other public services.
In addition to amnestying 11 million illegal aliens, Biden plans defund the border wall, hamstring enforcement of immigration laws, and expand other visa programs. These policies would hurt millions of American workers across the country by lowering wages and job opportunities while straining state and federal budgets.
Senator Cornyn's opponent, M. J. Hegar, is campaigning as a moderate, but her positions on immigration are anything but centrist. Like Joe Biden, she opposes strong borders and supports legalization for unauthorized immigrants.
Reelecting John Cornyn will help keep the Senate in GOP hands and prevent a disastrous amnesty that hurts American workers.
Steve Mason lives in the Austin metro area.