ABOUT THOSE JOBS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS…. USA Today had a report earlier this week, citing “experts” who said illegal immigrants “might” get as many as 300,000 construction jobs as a result of the stimulus package. A day later, CNN’s Jack Cafferty railed against the “aliens” getting stimulus jobs. “So much for putting Americans first,” Cafferty said.

He went on to pose this question to his audience: “What does it mean if up to 300,000 illegal aliens get jobs created by the economic stimulus package?” Remarkably, Cafferty’s viewers weren’t pleased by the prospect. Imagine that.

So, is there anything to this? Not really. The USA Today article that got this started got the 300,000 number from the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative group that produces anti-immigration materials. The group came up with the figure by estimating that the stimulus package will create 2 million construction jobs, and about 15% of all current construction jobs go to workers who entered the country illegally.

But as Greg Sargent explained with some helpful fact-checking, this doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny.

The study says that its estimate of how many construction jobs the stim will create is based on a Federal formula that measures the rate that Federal spending creates “construction related jobs.” Dems point out that such jobs are often higher skilled ones that illegal aliens wouldn’t qualify for anyway. So applying this figure to the current debate makes no sense.

What’s more, the study itself says that the 15% rate is based on data whose last year was 2005 — way before the economic crisis caused massive construction job losses. Dems argue persuasively that this, too, renders the 300,000 stat bogus.

Something to keep in mind as the new conservative talking point makes the rounds.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.