Whether it’s farm labor or motel maids or fry cooks or construction workers or whatever, depending upon an illegal labor force, that is undocumented workers, is a bad practice.
It deprives United States citizens of jobs, keeps wages down, and probably encourages a large portion of our own population to be idle and yet we end up paying for the social services of both the undocumented workers and our own non-workers.
And the old adage or truism (that is not really true) that our own citizens will not do manual labor is nonsense. When the handouts end or are sharply reduced people get more eager to work, although they may still demand a higher standard of working conditions than may be the norm.
This came to my mind after reading a story about mixed reviews on tougher immigration standards in places such as Alabama and Arizona.
I think it said that in Alabama unemployment rates had come down, but it may have been because there is a smaller workforce now that many of the illegals have fled.
This is a subject of which I have blogged about many times previous — probably not too many people interested, but it really gets me that the powers that be seem to tacitly accept the fact of the illegal workforce, even when they pander to racial prejudice and say kick out all the illegals.
Also it really gets me that everyone says most citizens won’t or cannot do manual labor, such as work in the fields or cleaning restrooms or whatever.
Now it is true that the people, no matter who they are — brown, black, white, yellow — who are stuck in these low-level jobs form an underclass in society. Others occasionally have ventured into their world but escaped and others began in that world and escaped.
The solution is to raise the standards of pay and working conditions in that world, partly by governmental regulations on health and safety (and this has been done over the years, thankfully), and partly by the free marketplace of labor itself. Of course those who hire illegals — and they know they are doing it; they can’t truthfully, except in some limited cases, claim, gee, we didn’t know — would say that is what they are doing, taking advantage of the marketplace of labor. But it is an artificial one. People who come into the United States illegally have to take what they can get and are not in a position to go to the authorities if regulations are broken. Meanwhile because they may earn only low wages, they must depend upon various forms of government support, which they get no matter their immigration status (new state laws notwithstanding).
If there were no illegals to hire, employers would have to do what they can to attract the existing citizen work force.
I have also written this before. In much of the farm harvest labor if employers had to pay hire wages and improve working conditions (and I am not saying necessarily the pay and the working conditions are all bad; it’s a matter of perspective or comparison) to attract our native population, they might find it a bit costly. But what has happened in the past is that mechanization has taken over. And mark my words, it would again. There are few things that cannot be mechanized (although there are some). In some cases, I suppose, some crops would not be raised if the labor force was not available.
I’d rather see it where no one has to resign him or herself to being in the underclass, so it would suit me find if a lot of those jobs disappeared or became so well paying that those who did them were no longer in the underclass. I mean in some places garbage men (and no offense to garbage men) are quite well paid.
I don’t think government controls on wages are a good idea, though. Health and safety, yes.
The market place of labor could solve the problem, but having the artificial element of an illegal workforce subsidized by our government (read taxpayers) and intimidated by its own immigration status, is not a natural labor market.
In a story I read an Alabama farmer was concerned that he could not get his crops in without illegals. He apparently sees no personal responsibility towards his own society.