We are told, again and again, that the U.S. needs illegal aliens to work in jobs that Americans refuse.
As an example, MSNBC’s correspondent Marian Atencio maintains that only Latinos can do chicken-processing jobs because it is “pretty grueling work,” which is why “poultry is an industry that has become — as many of these industries that rely on low skilled workers — dependent on Latin American immigration.”
That’s a lie.
Jeff Amy reports for the AP (via ABC News) that on August 7, 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 243 Latino workers suspected of working without legal authorization at two Koch Foods’ chicken processing plants in Mississippi. The Koch Foods arrests were part of a massive ICE workplace sting of 680 Latino workers at seven Mississippi chicken processing plants.
Five days after the ICE arrests, on August 12, some 150 locals (U.S. citizens) were at a job fair at the same Koch Foods plants in hopes of filling some of those now-empty positions. The company is also trying to hire workers with online ads.
The AP reports (via ABCNews):
By 10 a.m., a crowd of dozens was on hand, and steady stream of people came and went. Most were black and spoke with accents from the American South. A few appeared white or Hispanic.
Many of the applicants, including 25-year-old Eddie Nicholson Jr. of Louisville, were chicken plant veterans. They understand the arduous and sometimes dangerous work of slaughtering, butchering and packaging chicken, from hanging up live chickens, to pulling off skin, to cutting with super-sharp knives, to boxing up chicken, much of it done in near-freezing temperatures. That draining work, at relatively low wages, leads many people to quit, so chicken plants are always hiring..
Angela Stuesse, an anthropology professor at the University of North Carolina who spent years among labor organizers in Morton and nearby towns, said the desire for cheap, docile labor led poultry firms to begin recruiting Spanish-speakers in the late 1990s. At first, they were people who could legally work. But they were eventually replaced by Mexicans, Guatemalans and others who often lacked legal working papers. Later, came a wave from Argentina, Uruguay and Peru.
Mississippi’s unemployment is high, and the wages are low:
- According to a recent Center for Immigration Studies report, The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the First Quarter of 2019, the 2000-2009 labor-force participation rate in Mississippi dropped by 9%, from 78% to 69%, which left 494,000 U.S.-born adults out of the workforce in 2019.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of the meat cutters in the state were being paid less than $12.23 per hour.
But Breitbart‘s Neil Munro points out that wages have spiked upwards for Americans when employers were forced to give up their illegal workers:
- Enforcement actions aided African-American bakers in Chicago and Somali refugees in Iowa and throughout the Midwest after the 2006 enforcement at the Swift & Co. meatpacking company.
- As a result of the improved economy under President Trump, chicken processing firms are under pressure to raise wages. As an example, Sanderson Farms, which employ about 15,000 workers in Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas, raised their hourly wages to $15/hour after June 2. (AP)
Munro also points out the negative consequences of the U.S. government’s immigration policy that floods the country with cheap, foreign, white-collar college graduates and blue-collar labor:
- Each year, about 4 million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university. This total includes roughly 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software or statistics.
- But each year, the federal government imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants, on top of the existing population of 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — and 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.
- The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about 8 million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.
- This policy of inflating the labor supply with cheap, foreign, white- and blue-collar workers:
- Boosts economic growth for investors because it transfers wages to investors and ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
- Shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.
- Discourages Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.
- Moves business investment and wealth from blue-states heartland to red-states coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.
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