Monday, February 2, 2009

Does An Illegal Immigrant Have Your Job?

In this economy, every job counts. Do you feel illegal aliens are hurting your prospects for finding a job? If so, you’re not alone.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a watchdog group advocating tougher immigration reform, there are 6 or 7 million illegal aliens in the American workforce, concentrated in farm work, construction, hotels, and restaurants; and their presence was not, and is not, economically necessary.

Many people feel that “[the] illegal aliens…flood of low-skilled undocumented workers is depressing wages and causing greater unemployment for U.S. citizens” (Steve King, Republican Congressman, And, that employers in these industries use these workers to boost profit and skirt labor laws—they also do not pass these savings on to the consumer.

There are also questions of quality of work. My antidotal account on the matter is in my observation of construction, particularly of homes. I remember when I bought my first house, a trim carpenter took nearly a week to build all the cabinets, base boards, chair rails, etc. Seemed like a true craftsman. Today however, all that is gone. Even in the best of houses here in Atlanta, you find pre-fabricated materials being stuck up by undocumented workers—and you can readily see the mistakes.

Yet, others take a different view.

Immigration proponents argue that illegal workers are a necessary and beneficial component of the American economy. According to these supporters, illegal workers fill a void by taking on low-paying, often unpleasant, and physically demanding jobs, including many in the agricultural, construction and service industries that Americans are seemingly less willing to do. Some economists predict that, without the illegal-immigrant workforce, the American labor force would shrink by as much as 3 or 4 percent and that the overall economic growth rate would likewise suffer. (Hoover Institution, February 2, 2008)

Some argue that illegal’s fill skill sets that many Americans no longer have or fill jobs many Americans do not want.

So how do you feel? In these hard times, do you actually think there is a job out there someone would NOT do? Do you feel these workers have skills that the average American laborer does not have. How about the quality of their work: does it differ from that of a legal citizen?


Anonymous said...

Man, that is a hard question. I know some of my Latino brothers and sisters get at me for this, but I think that yes, illegal immigrants take jobs, even if in a roundabout way (my job isn't really in the running so I'm directly not effected).

Preface; our immigration laws are horrible and I don't blame illegal immigrants, there are jobs so they come. I am mad at organizations that hire illegal immigrants.

Hiring illegal immigrants means that organizations can provide jobs that pay little money and thus not attract American workers. Apart from money, illegal immigrants will take jobs that don't have the benefits and protections that they should. By having a stock of illegal immigrant to hire, companies don't find the need to right their wrongs. I don't care what anyone says about responsibility, almost no American will work a job where there are being taken advantage of. The only reason illegal immigrants do is because it is there best and only option, and they can't report anyone unless they risk being deported.

Illegal immigration hurts everyone - including illegal immigrants - because most of the drawing factors are tied into cheap labor.

Iam Robert said...

blackwasp: I agree, illegals do take jobs. I guess my question is whether they take jobs Americans or legal immigrants would take if all things were equal.

I also agree that our immigration laws need a lot of work. But how do we change them? For instance, do you favor citizenship or work visas for immigrants currently in the US? How about opening or closing the boarders? You know, many feel Mexico is taking advantage of this situation--do you? Do you think if the illegal immigrant pool were not available many of these jobs would have protections (I.e. Minimum wage, safe workplace, etc)? And here’s a bombshell: how do you think these same illegal immigrants will affect the stimulus jobs Obama proposes?