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Updated: Study: More Jobs in Texas Went to Immigrants Than Natives

Native-born Texans who were seeking employment likely lost out to competition from immigrants in recent years, according to a conservative think tank that advocates for less migration to the country.

More jobs in Texas...but more people looking too.


Gov. Perry's communications director, Ray Sullivan, emailed the Tribune Friday morning to contest the findings in the CIS’s report. Sullivan suggests the 40 percent figure is wrong and cites the report’s own data to bolster his claim.

Below is the statement from Mr. Sullivan:

America's unsecured border is a huge problem and the states are left with the resulting challenges, especially big states like California, Texas and Florida.  In light of the federal government's failure to secure the border, Governor Perry has championed border security, authorizing $400 million from Texas to fight border crime, and called for penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants and an end to sanctuary city policies.  

However, the numbers contained in and the conclusion of the CIS report are really off base and wrong. A central conclusion of this report is “40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants.

This finding is false.  The numbers don’t add up.

 Since Jan. 2007, Texas has created 384,700 net new jobs.  Source: Texas Jobs Statistics from US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics/Total Nonfarm Seasonally Adjusted Change from Jan. 2007 – Aug. 2011  (Jan. 2007: 10,230,300 to Aug. 2011: 10,615,000)

40% of 384,700 jobs is 153,880 jobs.

 The Department of Homeland Security data cited in the CIS report estimates that 60,000 illegal immigrants have arrived in Texas since 2007.  Source: Department of Homeland Security report, Page 4,

 So if Texas created 384,700 jobs since 2007 and 40% of that is 153,880… and the CIS says 60,000 illegal immigrants arrived in Texas since 2007, then their conclusion must be false and numerically impossible.  

Original story:

Native-born Texans who were seeking employment likely lost out to competition from immigrants in recent years, according to a conservative think tank that advocates for limited migration to the country.

The data, compiled by the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, may provide some low-hanging fruit for Gov. Rick Perry’s Republican opponents. Perry has been attacked from the right on immigration with his field of challengers alleging he’s been too soft on illegal immigrants in Texas. The study estimates that population benefited from Texas’ job growth the last four years more than citizens.

The center found that of the 279,000 jobs created in Texas since the second quarter of 2007, 225,000 — about 80 percent — went to legal and illegal immigrants.  The center says that while “no estimate of illegal immigration is exact,” at least 40 percent of the job recipients were illegal immigrants.

“Of recently arrived working-age immigrants in the state, 113,000 are in the country illegally. The other half of the recently arrived immigrants (112,000) are legally in the country,” the reports says. “This means that in Texas — one of the few states that experienced job growth after 2007 — native-born workers benefited little from this growth.”

The center says the information actually places Texas’ U.S. citizens in the same category as the rest of the country when it comes to job loss.

“The share of working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly, from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011,” the report says. “This decline is very similar to the decline for natives in the United States as a whole and is an indication that the situation for native-born workers in Texas is very similar to the overall situation in the country despite the state’s job growth.”

The study also shows that about 97,000 of the immigrants who benefited from the job growth had at least some college education.

“Thus it would be [be] a mistake to assume that immigrants are only competing for jobs at the bottom end of the labor market,” the report authors said.  

The study, the center suggests, should “raise the question of whether it makes sense to continue the high level of immigration and also whether to tolerate illegal immigration."

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