I never understood the apparent contradiction between a country that embraces freedom and free enterprise with one the wants to keep immigrant labor in check. Freedom and free enterprise values the best value for the best work and yet, U.S. citizens bemoan immigrants coming in to provide better work to produce better products for better prices.
During the Cold War and especially under Reaganomics, the U.S. would argue that the Soviet Union was oppressive, and that Communism was an attack against freedom loving people. Ronald Reagan clearly understood the concept of the better value provided through the free enterprise of open borders. Reagan pushed forth the concept of NAFTA and wanted to give immigrants access to the U.S. labor market. Somewhere after the promise of Reaganomics, the U.S. Republican establishment lost its way and got mired in immigrant-hating politics. The U.S., itself, reverted towards the socialist tendency to demand base wages and limit worker hours.
Entrepreneurs reject limiting productivity and impeding innovations through laws. Entrepreneurs work long hours and don’t keep an eye on the clock to see when it’s quitting time. They work hard because they want to generate more revenues by work then by enforced prosperity through government interference. U.S. workers don’t want to work for a living, preferring instead to blame the entrepreneurs for working them hard and keeping all the money. But the little inconvenient truth the workers ignore is the fact that free enterprise guarantees them a place at the revenue table by allowing them to work the hours necessary to achieve their financial goals.
Forcing wage bases and imposing work rules is socialism disguised as worker rights. It’s as if the United States defeated Communism just to revert to Communism.
Immigrants understand that hard work is the ticket to financial success.
This is why immigrant bashing has now dominated the U.S. landscape. U.S. workers fear that free enterprise immigrant workers will force them to work instead of relying on government handouts to keep them lazy.
Don’t believe me?
Let the facts speak for themselves.
American Affairs published an article by Amy L. Wax and Jason Richwine in its winter (Winter 2017/Volume I, Number 4) edition posturing the argument that restricting low-skilled immigration would end discrimination against low-skilled U.S. workers. The basis of the argument is what’s important here.
According to the report, Lawler Foods, a Houston bakery “prefers to hire Hispanics.” This, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the bakery. The American Affairs report details another example of the preference to hire Hispanics. According to EEOC documents, Champion Fiberglass’ workforce was 95% Hispanic. Lawler Foods’ workforce was 80% Hispanic. The EEOC reported that both businesses used the requirement to speak Spanish as the basis to discriminate against Black job applicants.
Richwine and Wax wrote, “the lawsuits in both of these cases are based on what most people in the effected industries have known for years: employers of low-skilled labor prefer Hispanic (and mostly immigrant Hispanic) [emphasis in original] workers, sometimes to the point that they will not even consider hiring U.S.-born non-Hispanics.”
The authors go on to argue that incoming immigrants have forced native-born low-skilled workers out of the job market. The authors then share a 2013 study by John Skrenty, “After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the American Workforce” that made me understand a fundamental reason for the hatred of immigrants, especially Mexican and the Spanish language in the U.S.
According to the authors, the study of detailed interviews of various groups in the workplace demonstrate that “employers of low skilled workers have become increasingly enamored of Latinos…[and] Asian workers.” U.S. workers, on the other hand, “have become ‘the least desirable group’ of workers.”
The authors also pointed out another study supporting the belief that U.S. employers prefer Latino immigrant workers over native born laborers. They pointed out that the book, “When Work Disappears: The World of the Urban Poor”, by William Julius Wilson, points out that the Urban Poverty and Family Life Study (UPFLS) showed that “many” employers interviewed “complained that blacks, as well as other native American workers, had poor work ethic compared to recent immigrants, and especially Hispanics and Asians.”
The authors share various other studies documenting that employers prefer immigrant, especially Hispanic, labor over native-born for entry-level and low-skilled work. The authors also lay out the argument that controlling immigration would bolster the native low-skilled work force.
I’ll leave my rebuttal to their argument for another post. What I’d like to bring to your attention is where “jobs Americans won’t do” emerged from, and more importantly why rural America fell for the job lies uttered by Donald Trump in his runup to the election.
Low-skilled workers have been left out of the job market for various reasons, and immigrants have filled the void. The reasons can be argued but the result is that native-born low-skilled workers are considered lazy and unable to deliver a good day’s work by the U.S.-based and often U.S.-born employers. These are U.S. bosses who find native-born workers lazy.
Hence, the hate and fear of immigrants and Spanish that dominates politics in the U.S. today.