Commentary: Big Business and Nashville Chamber of Commerce Choose Illegal Immigrants Over Tennessee’s ‘Disconnected Youth’

A report authored by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and New American Economy (formerly named Partnership for a New American Economy) claims that, “[f]orty-three percent of unauthorized immigrants who earned their degrees abroad were either working in low-skilled jobs or unemployed,” a number almost twice as many as immigrants who naturalize and become U.S. citizens. They call this “brain waste.”

The NAE was launched in 2010 by corporatists that includes former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, media magnate Rubert Murdoch, Bill Marriott and Disney’s Dan Eiger, to push the idea that comprehensive immigration reform would “help grow the economy and create new American jobs.”

The MPI receives funding from many sources including George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Both the MPI and NAE use economic arguments to blur the line between legal and illegal immigrants. Both organizations supported the DREAM Act which amnestied certain individuals who had entered the U.S. illegally before age sixteen. In 2012, the NAE partnered with another Soros funded organization, the Center for American Progress (CAP), to push for passage of the DREAM Act.

The MPI and NAE also pushed the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill which would have amnestied illegal immigrants and their employers.

In Tennessee, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce collaborates with NAE.

But which group of Tennesseans is getting left behind in favor of illegal immigrant workers? According to Measure of America’s 2015 report, it is the “disconnected youth” – those between the ages of 16 – 24 who are not in school, are unemployed, and have no career path.

The report puts Tennessee as having the ninth highest percentage of disconnected youth at 16.6% nationally only slightly less than Louisiana’s 19.8% which placed it as the top state percentage-wise of disconnected youth. The Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin corridor is estimated to have approximately 29,283 disconnected youth, of whom 17.6% are black and 10.4% are white, a “continuing trend” unrelated to the 2007 recession. Data from the Alignment Nashville initiative estimated about 10,000 disconnected youth in 2010.

Tennessee Hardeman (40.3%) and Lake (56.1%) counties were among the seventy reported as having the highest county rates of disconnected youth. Almost half of the voters in Hardeman County voted for Clinton.

The highest percentages of disconnected youth listed by Tennessee Congressional districts were 22.9% in the 9th district (Cohen), 19.3% in the 3rd district (Fleischmann), 18.2% in the 8th district (Fincher), 18.1% in the 1st district (Roe), and 17.6% in the 6th district (Black).The available data about the disconnected youth population in Tennessee should be taken seriously. Imagine the possible outcomes if well-funded organizations like the NAE and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce put even half their energies and resources into doing for the disconnected youth what they are willing and eager to do for the illegal immigrants.

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