Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Immigration's not-so-hidden costs hurt American workers

Since 1965, the traditional trickle of new immigrants, which averaged a little more than 200,000 a year over the nation's history, surged upward to an estimated 2 million a year, about half of them illegal.That puts pressure on wages, of course, at a time when low-skilled jobs have dried up.

1) Increased immigration was one of five major factors that led to that job decline, as Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson recounts in his 1996 book "When Work Disappears.

"The other four were

2) the nation's shift from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy,
3) the increased outsourcing of low-skilled work to countries where labor is cheaper,
4)advances in technology that have increased demand for high-skilled workers while reducing demand for low-skilled workers and
5) the decline of unions that traditionally drive up wages and benefits.

Yet we continue to hear about how illegals only take the "jobs nobody wants." Ideally, there is almost no job that somebody would not want and make themselves available to do, if you offer them enough money to do it. Whenever I hear someone talk about the "jobs nobody wants" what I really hear is: "jobs that pay less than most Americans need to support their families."

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