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  1. #1
    Senior Member americangirl's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Part II - San Diego Union-Tribune 2-part Pro-illegal Article

    Part II (this was a front-page story)

    Undocumented workers carry big stick

    Experts say exodus of illegal immigrants could stagger economy
    By Dean Calbreath
    September 5, 2006

    EDUARDO CONTRERAS / U-T file photo
    A worker prepared raised beds for strawberry planting in Carlsbad.

    The Illegal Work Force

    Part 1: How the workers affect wages

    The border effect

    In his 2004 film “A Day Without a Mexican,” filmmaker Sergio Arau imagines what would happen if all the Latinos in California suddenly disappeared.

    Gone are tens of thousands of cooks, gardeners, nannies, nurses and construction workers. A wealthy matron has to sweep her own floor. A restaurateur washes his own dishes. Shoppers buy groceries on the black market after a farmworker shortage pushes the price of produce sky-high.

    Arau's film took the issue of immigration to comic extremes, but economists say serious disruptions would be likely if the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants were forced to leave the country. Most have come from Mexico and Central America.

    If undocumented workers suddenly left the job market, wages for people on the lower rungs of the employment ladder would quickly rise to reflect the shrinking labor pool, economists say.

    Consumer prices would shoot up to reflect the rising wages. Businesses would struggle to find replacement workers. Retail spending overall would drop, cut off from the current flow of 600,000 to 700,000 new consumers per year.

    While state and local agencies would save billions of dollars that they spend on social services for the immigrants, the federal government would lose billions of dollars that illegal workers pay into Social Security and Medicare but are ineligible to collect.

    “The overall consensus in the economics profession is that immigration – whether legal or illegal – is a net plus for the economy,” said Benjamin Powell, economist with the Independent Institute, a libertarian-oriented research group in Oakland.

    Critics say that even if illegal immigration has benefits for the broad economy, it hurts too many people – particularly low-skilled workers – to be allowed to continue unabated.

    “Letting illegal aliens stay . . . only makes sense if we think the poor in this country are being overpaid,” Steven Camarota, research director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative research group in Washington, D.C., told the House Judiciary Committee last month.

    Wages kept low
    Harvard University economist George Borjas, a legal immigrant from Cuba, estimates that a 10 percent rise in immigration of any kind lowers wages for native-born workers in a 3 percent to 4 percent range.
    Other economists say the impact is much more muted. But they concede that illegal immigrants tend to drive wages down in the industries where they are concentrated.

    In San Diego County, at least one out of five construction workers is an illegal immigrant, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, D.C., funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

    One-fifth of the county's farmworkers, one-sixth of food preparers and servers, one-sixth of home service workers, one-seventh of manufacturing workers and one of 14 transportation workers are undocumented, the Pew study found.

    Influenced partly by the pool of undocumented workers, as well as cross-border commuters from Tijuana, salaries for those jobs in San Diego County can be as much as 6 percent below the national average, even though the cost of living in the county is 41 percent higher than the national average.

    Production workers in San Diego County averaged $28,930 in yearly earnings as of May 2005. That was 3.2 percent below the national average of $29,890, according to data released in June by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    There were similar differences for other jobs:

    Transportation workers' earnings of $27,070 were 6 percent below the national average of $28,820.

    Home health workers earned $19,220, slightly below the national average of $19,420.

    Food preparation workers made $17,210 annually, 4.7 percent below the national average of $18,060.

    “In my view, almost all of that type of wage differential is attributable to immigration,” said Alan Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego. “When you increase the supply of labor, that drives the price of labor downward. It's the law of supply and demand.”

    'There's nobody else'
    If illegal immigrants were squeezed out of the labor force, employers would have to raise wages to attract new workers.
    But in a tight labor market like San Diego County, where the unemployment rate of 4.3 percent is below the 4.8 percent national average, some employers would find it difficult to fill the vacuum left by the illegal immigrants even if wages went up.

    That's particularly true for the tedious, back-straining labor that many workers handle in assembly lines, construction sites and farm fields. The Pew study estimates that more than half of the county's farmworkers are immigrants; 37 percent are legal and 18 percent are illegal.

    If there were a serious crackdown on illegal immigration, most of the undocumented workers would either return to their homelands or be arrested, and many of the legal farmworkers would seek higher-paying jobs elsewhere, said Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

    “Industries like hospitality and construction would be looking for people to replace their own undocumented workers,” Larson said. “And they have more elasticity to pay more money to workers than we do.”

    Only about 1 percent of San Diego County's illegal immigrants work in agriculture. And because there is such little interest in agriculture among native-born workers, Larson and many economists say it would be hard for farms to replace the workers.

    “To suggest that we can do away with immigrant laborers and hire native workers to pick broccoli by paying them more money is based on the childlike view of people who have no idea of how hard it is to pick broccoli,” said Wayne Cornelius, a professor of U.S.-Mexican relations at the University of California San Diego.

    Cesar Aguilera, who heads A&L Tile in San Diego, doubts that the construction industry could easily withstand a tough crackdown on undocumented workers, either.

    “There's nobody else to do the job,” said Aguilera, whose work force is made up completely of legal immigrants. “No Caucasians, no African-Americans, no Filipinos apply to do a job like this. We pay $20 an hour, but most Americans don't want to stay late, work hard and sweat a little bit. They prefer being in an air-conditioned office, even if it pays less.”

    Aguilera suggests that if there is a wage gap between illegal immigrants and other workers, it could be remedied by legalizing the undocumented workers.

    That would “greatly reduce the temptation of employers to not pay fair compensation or overtime,” said Peter Zschiesche, director of the San Diego Employee Rights Center of the AFL-CIO. “As it is now, some employers take advantage of the workers being undocumented.”

    History shows that wages rise after undocumented workers are legalized, as they did after the government offered amnesty to 2.7 million undocumented workers in 1986.

    Within five years, real wages of formerly undocumented workers rose an average of 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Wages for many of the jobs had been declining prior to legalization.
    Wages would also rise for native-born workers or legal immigrants who work in similar jobs. A University of California Los Angeles study five years ago estimated that if undocumented workers were legalized, wages for all workers would rise by about 5 percent in agriculture, 2.75 percent in services and 2.5 percent in manufacturing.

    Legal immigrants or native-born workers who lack the skills or education to qualify for less-strenuous work would be the beneficiaries, economists say.

    “Most immigrants are competing with each other instead of native-born workers, so the people who would benefit most (from a crackdown) would be legal immigrants,” said Jared Bernstein, a wage specialist with the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal policy center in Washington, D.C.

    Services under strain
    The other major impact of illegal immigration is on some social services, notably health care and education.
    The California Hospital Association estimates that the state spends $500 million a year providing emergency medical services to illegal immigrants, who usually lack health insurance. Nationwide, public schools are educating as many as 1.5 million undocumented students, at a cost that could be more than $6 billion.

    “Illegal aliens create a drain on public coffers mainly because they are overwhelmingly unskilled, not because they're illegal,” said Camarota of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies. “Such persons pay relatively little in taxes, regardless of legal status, because they earn so little in the modern American economy.”

    Other economists say the problems are mainly structural.

    “There's no doubt that communities with lots of poor people don't pay enough in taxes to cover the cost of public services,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, a nonpartisan economic research center in Palo Alto. “But that's about poverty, not about immigration status or where you were born. If you want to fix it, you have to look at the wage structure rather than deporting people.”

    Some of the burden on emergency rooms could be alleviated through legalization. Because illegal immigrants do not qualify for MediCal or Medicaid, they rely heavily on emergency health care services, resulting in overcrowded emergency rooms, where hospitals are obliged to treat them even if they cannot pay.

    If the immigrants were legalized and allowed to qualify for federal aid, economists say, they would no longer need to rely on emergency rooms for standard medical care, with funding largely coming from state and regional governmental agencies.

    Boon for Social Security
    Levy and other economists note that one of the main problems in social services is that even when illegal immigrants pay taxes, most of the money goes to the federal government – in the form of Social Security and Medicare assessments – rather than state or local entities that provide the social services.

    One of the biggest beneficiaries of illegal immigration may be the Social Security system. Many immigrants, using false documents, pay into the system. But because of their illegal status, and because a large number return to their homelands before retirement, they do not collect benefits from they system they've helped support.

    The federal government reaps an estimated $1.5 billion per year in Medicare payments and $7 billion in Social Security payments from workers who use incorrect or fake Social Security numbers, according to the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Analysts speculate that a large number of those contributions come from illegal immigrants.

    The continuing contributions of newly legalized immigrants could help bolster the Social Security system at a time when it needs it the most. With baby boomers nearing retirement age, economists predict that the Social Security system will undergo major strains in the next decade or two without an influx of younger workers.

    Nearly 85 percent of illegal immigrants are between the ages of 18 to 44. In comparison, 60 percent of native-born Americans are in that age bracket.

    “The net fiscal balance from undocumented immigrants isn't that bad if you throw in all the Social Security and Medicare payments that they are making but will never get back,” Levy said. “The immigrants offer clear benefits that will only increase going forward, especially as baby boomers hit retirement.”

    Staff writer Diane Lindquist contributed to this report.

    Dean Calbreath: (619) 293-1891;
    Calderon was absolutely right when he said...."Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico".

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    On the border
    This is a bunch of BS, the reason most Americans do not apply for these jobs is due to the fact they do not speak spanish, and are not targeted for employment.
    When I was younger (a long time ago) I worked in a nursery watering and caring for plants, I also took a job working on a horse ranch making fifty cents an hour and you can guess what I was doing.
    Sure Americans want better and these jobs are for younger folks but these jobs help teach the young what it means to have a work ethic, by taking away these jobs from Americans we lose out.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member greyparrot's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    We pay $20 an hour, but most Americans don't want to stay late, work hard and sweat a little bit. They prefer being in an air-conditioned office, even if it pays less.
    I have had it up to here with this "lazy American" BS being used as an excuse to hire illegals! Speaking of BS, are we supposed to believe this guy pays his admittedly illegal crews $20 and hour? Bwaaaaahaaaahaaaa...yeah, sure you are!

    Aguilera suggests that if there is a wage gap between illegal immigrants and other workers, it could be remedied by legalizing the undocumented workers.

    That would “greatly reduce the temptation of employers to not pay fair compensation or overtime,” said Peter Zschiesche, director of the San Diego Employee Rights Center of the AFL-CIO. “As it is now, some employers take advantage of the workers being undocumented.”
    Wrong again. If you legalize these working border jumpers they will either A. Continue to work for low wages because they know they can be easily replaced by the new flood of illegals that will result. B. Demand higher wages only to find themselves joining Americans in the unemployment line, and sucking up every social benefit they will now be legally entitled to.

    As I have said before though, I highly doubt that if an amnesty were granted there would be a mad rush to sign up. I mean come on, many of these people are working under one name and collecting welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, and free health care under another name...without a problem! Does anyone really think that these are the people so eagar to give all that up in order to be a responsible, tax paying legal citizen. I sure don't.

    I have long believed that this huge push for amnesty is more about making it extremely difficult to identify who is illegal and who is not. For instance, now it is a pretty solid indicator that someone is in this country illegally if they can't speak a lick of english. If you legitimize some that don't, our PC society will demand that ALL non english speakers must be considered, by proxy, legitimate. A PC gag order if you will.

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