Skip to comments.CA: Cost of illegal-immigrant labor exceeds benefits
Posted on 09/03/2004 8:39:45 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles recently announced that they would hire 3,000 new dockworkers for temporary jobs. Despite the common knowledge that the work is hard, there were more than a quarter of a million applicants. Indeed, so many people applied that those being hired were selected by a lottery system.
So what is the attraction? Simple: the pay and benefits. Initially, these jobs pay from $20.66 to $28 per hour and, better yet, those who are employed will have the opportunity to move on to permanent work and a possible six-figure income.
Suppose, for a moment, that these jobs didn't lead to annual pay of over $100,000, but instead only $60,000. It is still a good bet that people would be lining up around the block to apply. Even at $40,000 or less, there are many who would gladly take this work, considering that the average entry-level wage in Los Angeles County is $8.38.
There are many hard jobs, we are told, that Americans will not accept. This is raised as a justification for the hiring of illegal immigrants or in support of a "guest worker" program. For jobs washing dishes, or cars, or gardening or picking produce, often the pay is minimum wage or less. It is hard to determine what the typical pay is for some jobs because they are part of the underground economy where workers are paid in cash.
We are told by the same apologists for a system that encourages the employment of undocumented workers that the low wages help to keep prices down for consumers. But there is a hidden cost to taxpayers that they are hesitant to discuss.
No matter how one feels about minimum-wage laws or the underground economy, there is little disagreement that illegal immigrants, who make much less than Wal-Mart employees, are overwhelming public services in places like Los Angeles County. Property owners in the county are now paying an additional tax specifically to prop up the trauma care system, nearly half of whose clients are undocumented aliens.
Public services throughout the state are under pressure because low-paid illegal immigrants rely on these services -- including education -- in numbers proportionally greater than the general population. In short, it is the taxpayers who end up paying to subsidize the low-wage jobs of the undocumented.
Some suggested that without illegal immigrants, the nation would face a recession. But would we?
No one is suggesting that government mandate a six-figure income for dishwashers. But if we stopped importing an underclass willing to take starvation wages for hard or unpleasant work, market forces would force the pay rate up to a level American workers would accept. These wages would be declared for tax purposes and these wages would be spent here in the U.S. instead of being sent home, as is often the case with undocumented workers. The result would be more jobs and income for Americans while this "above- the-table" economic activity would produce additional revenue for government. Pressure on social services would decline.
Yes, without an illegal-immigrant labor force the price of a hamburger might go up a dime, but it is just as likely that the reduction in the tax burden would more than compensate for any increase in consumer prices.
Illegal immigrants may be devestating for taxpayers and for American workers, but by serving to depress wages, they are great for American employers. And that's the real reason that the government is encouraging illegal immigration. ;-)
Beautiful! But part of the reason is that dishwashing is beneath most Americans these days. That doesn't lessen your argument though.
Not only that but technology will be invented that will help decrease the need for the labor the invaders now perform, just like in Australia.
Better late than never, but probably too late to positively effect the situation.
when our economy crashes hard due to a burgeoning socialist system and failure to maintain a cultural stability, nothing will be "beneath" americans. I don't believe any job is now, either.
They are essential for a growing economy. Without immigrant labor (Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Polish, Indian, Mexican, German, Italian, etc...) our economy would have stagnated long ago. Legal or illegal, there's no difference. They come because we need them.
Don't be an economic girlie man.
Irish, Italians, Russian Jews and Chinese did it. Legal Mexican immigrants in the Southwest from Texas to So. Cal. Oh, and Blacks. But too many people now would rather be on welfare than work "menial" jobs for little more than they get on welfare, if not actually less.
bump the illegals out
Masive proper legal immigration and teenagers..... that right teenagers.... get those punks off the streets and in washing dishes.... (Boy I feel better after that!)
BINGO! Without illegals picking the lettuce, we always hear the threat of prices like $10-a-head, as if we HAD to buy it. The first time lettuce got too expensive, it would rot in the fields. The farmers would scream bloody murder. The following year some smart guys at an agricultural college would invent a lettuce-picking machine and the prices would go back to normal.
A side effect of slavery, whether in ancient times or in the pre-1861 U.S., was its smothering effect on innovation and invention. If you can always have cheap/slave labor, why invent labor-saving machinery?
I don't think that I offered any opinion on whether the interests of American employers (who benefit from hiring illegal aliens) deserve or do not deserve priority over the interests of American workers and American taxpayers (who pay the costs). ;-)
You have correctly identified the exploitation of illegals as slavery. All too many of the open borders crowd fail to see the immorality of the situation, not to mention the cultural and economic costs which are hidden from us.
Perhaps that lettuce will cost slighly more. Other costs which are lower will compensate. I trust the free market to handle it.
they should have just taxed tacos, instead
It is also telling that the illegals have excess income to send home, but they don't have money to pay their medical bills. We're getting shaken down by the illegals and their representatives in the California legislature.
>>>" They are essential for a growing economy."
as Milton Friedman said... you can't have massive, illegal immigration when you also hand out welfare.
Take a tour of the emergency rooms at the downtown hospitals of all large cities. You'll find the illegals gathered there for normal medical care. You'll also find a bankrupt hospital and taxpayers saddled with the result of your open immigration, libertarian economics.