Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 10:32 pm | Fair 62º


Maria Fotopoulos: Immigrant Workers Stream to U.S. While Many Vets Remain Unemployed

Lack of job prospects only adds insult to injury for returning service members

Despite across-the-board high U.S. unemployment and the platitudes of government officials, Congress and President Barack Obama still hew to policies that allow almost a million new legal immigrant workers to enter the country annually.

The unemployment picture for returning veterans is particularly grim. One in three young vets is unemployed. Recently returning veterans ages 18 to 24 are being disproportionately affected.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, young male veterans had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent, nearly double the rate of their nonveteran counterparts. And, unemployment for black male vets tops 40 percent.

Young Americans have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as served in other places both around the world and at home. Many from already-depressed areas of the country joined the military for lack of other opportunities. So to serve the country and return home still without job prospects, and now too often with physical and or mental health problems as a result of service, has got to be the definition of “adding insult to injury” for these servicemen and servicewomen.

There are no rational or logical underpinnings to policies that undermine putting American citizens first. And while reducing legal immigration and its handmaiden, illegal immigration, will not solve the crisis in the U.S. job situation, doing these two things will help. It’s an increasingly common belief among citizens that the government does not serve them. Limiting legal immigration and eliminating illegal immigration will not only get Americans back to work, it will help restore the much-eroded credibility of the U.S. government.

In the next five years, the number of veterans returning home seeking work nationwide is projected to significantly increase. More than 1 million will be looking to join the civilian workplace in this timeframe.

In California, where there is 11 percent unemployment, more veterans choose to settle than any other state in the country. Currently, California is home to 2 million vets. It also is the state with the highest number of legal immigrants, and it’s a lure for millions of illegal ones, too.

For all the youth who suited up for America, subscribing to the belief that they were putting their time and energy to a purpose with merit, we should support policies that contribute to hiring them before foreign workers.

— Maria Fotopoulos is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization, syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter: @TurboDog50. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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