A Philosopher's Blog

Taking Jobs Back?

Posted in Law, Politics, Race by Michael LaBossiere on July 12, 2010
A United Farm Workers flag containing the Huel...
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It is a unquestioned dogma of the anti-immigrant folks that  migrant workers are stealing jobs from Americans. Unlike some dogmas, this particular article of faith can be subject to empirical testing and, in fact, has. In a clever move, the United Farm Workers have invited Americans to take the jobs that are usually held by migrant workers. As part of this process they have set up a web site www.takeourjobs.org that makes the process of getting a minimum wage (or less)job in agriculture very easy. While a few thousand people have applied, only a very few (dozens as of this writing) have actually gone through the process seriously.

This experiment nicely disproves the claim that migrants are stealing such jobs from Americans. After all, Americans have been offered the jobs on a digital platter, yet there have been extremely few takers. It also shows just how important migrant labor is to the core of American agriculture.

While rational individuals will accept that such a clear empirical test clearly establishes these points, articles of faith are generally immune to disproof. As such, the anti-migrant rhetoric will continue, perhaps with some comments attacking or dismissing the United Farm Workers’  experiment.

It should be noted that these findings do not prove that there is not a need for immigration reform nor do they show that there are not legitimate concerns about immigration. However, the findings do clearly slay the bugbear that migrants have been stealing jobs from Americans.

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21 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Where is it written that jobs in agriculture have to pay minimum wage?

    Econ 101, Mike. If there were not undocumented workers to work at minimum wage, the wage would have to rise to attract more workers. I think this would be a good thing.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      True, they would have to pay more if no one would work so cheaply. Then our prices would increase for food and this would increase prices elsewhere as well. This might be a bad thing. But it might be good: after all, paying such low wages can be seen as unfair and exploitive.

      • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm

        Not that unfairness and exploitation are bad, right? No one ever said life would be fair or that you would not be exploited. Put those “spaghetti arms” to work and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, I sez. If you don’t I’ll send my jobs overseas.*

        *Matter of disclosure: I’m not sure whether I prefer oversprayed California spinach to the green stuff from Iran or China.

  2. magus71 said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:26 am

    10% unemployement and Mike doesn’t think that some one would work a job that is being given to an illegal immigrant. Mike, the whole reason that the “undocumented” person has the job is because the person who ILLEGALLY hires him doesn’t have to give him the LEGALLY perscribed benefits.

    Illegal. Not migrants. Illegal migrants. There were times I applied everywhere I could. I had a college degree and couldn’t get hired by a grocery store or doing construction. There are tons of illegal immigrants in Florida and South Carolina where I applied.
    It’s actually rather insulting to hear that Americans aren’t willing to work for less, at least in the short term. I did and would again if I had to. How many people even know about the above web site? Do illegals pay taxes? No. They get paid under the table and send the money back to Mexico where a dollar buys a lot more.

    From the web site:

    “Three-quarters of all crop workers working in American agriculture were born outside the United States. According to government statistics, since the late 1990s, at least 50% of the crop workers have not been authorized to work legally in the United States.”

    There you go. Illegal.

    Liberal way to solve jobs problem:

    1) Let all immigrants in to do the dirty work.

    2) Pay years of unemployment to people unwilling to do the dirty work.

    Mike thinks that the agriculture industry would go out of business if not for illegal workers. They just wouldn’t have anyone to work for them. Ever hear of raking blueberries? It’s a big industry in Maine during the summer. Lots of people can’t wait for the season to start so they can make extra cash.

    See how the web site sells the job:
    I want to be a farm worker:

    ** Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis.”

    How much does it pay? How many hours per week? Do I get benefits? Is it permanent? The site wants to prove what you and they believe and it’s going to do everything it can to make it so. Gee, that above paragraph doesn’t make it sound like they’re winking while they’re writing it, does it…

    This is a leftist plant. The whole language used on the site is Leninist. The United Farmers Workers are a leftist labor union.


    They don’t want illegals because illegals don’t pay union fees.

    I guarantee that 99% of people without a job have never heard of UFW. Incentive. If people thought they would starve, they would work in the fields. I would. And if farms couldn’t get people because they didn’t pay enough, well guess what? They’d pay more.

    • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:35 am

      “If people thought they would starve, they would work in the fields. I would.”

      That’s the answer! It’s so simple! Starve the people! And all this time Grover Nordquist wanted to starve government to the point it could be dragged to the bathtub and drowned.

      All so unnecessary if you can just starve the people and transport the hordes of starving unemployed and their families to areas where the jobs illegal immigrants are stealing are located.

      Why didn’t I think of that? 😦

      • kernunos said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm

        Sound like what Stalin and Moa did. Except they didn’t give them any food. Are you showing your true colors here Fred’ ?

        • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:13 pm

          It does sound that way doesn’t it–until you realize that the idea was suggested by m* in his 7/12/9:26 am piece? Perhaps I’m drawing out m’s true colors. . .?

      • freddiek said, on July 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

        Parts of this contain echoes of my 7/12 9:35am post. My post came first. . . Check mins 4:30-8:15


    • magus71 said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:46 am

      And Mike, there are many, many jobs other than agriculture that illegal migrants take. Construction pays on average I think about 11–15 an hour. How much do you think they pay illegals? I’d have worked construction in a heart beat. I’m a hard worker, I like physical work, I like the outdoors, and I like getting paid a wage that’s above average, like legal; construction workers do.

      No isurance either and do you know how much contractors have to pay for insurance on their businesses for each worker because the job is high risk? Not so if the person doesn’t officially exist.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm

        I should have been clearer and the last sentence should have been “However, the findings do clearly slay the bugbear that migrants have been stealing such jobs from Americans.”

        As I did note, there are still legitimate concerns. The fact that illegals are taking jobs Americans would take is well worth considering and the government needs to actually do something about that. Of course, the folks who hire illegals at lower pay would prefer to keep the status quo. They are the quiet opponents of enforcing the laws and addressing immigration more seriously.

  3. freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Here’s a job that isn’t being stolen by illegals, yet the wage hasn’t soared above the minimum!


    There are some other interesting jobs on that site.

    What we don’t know is how much “the wage would have to rise to attract more workers”. If only a smattering of people have taken up the United Farm Worker’s offer at the minimum level, how many would do so for a dollar more an hour? Or even two. Just looking at the jobs illustrated in the site above, I’m guessing we’d be in for food significantly higher food prices to support the “new low wages” necessary to get enough ‘normal’ people to sign up for this hot, dirty, intensive physical labor. Remember, magus71 says we’re turning into “spaghetti-armed metro sexuals” Fewer and fewer grape and spinach pickers among us every day. That’s progress. . .

    • magus71 said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

      All of these jobs say that the “bottom 10% earn” which means that in the bottom 10% of all national wage earners in the job, you MAY make less than minimum wage. And don’t forget benefits.

      1) Where I’m from, EMTs do much better that minimum wage. And they get about as much overtime as they want to work.

      2) Car mechanics make more than minimum where I’m from.

      3) A certified nurses assistant does better than the minimum, I believe. And here’s what just one of many CNA jobs on Monster.com gives for benefits: • Medical, dental, and vision insurance;
      • Life insurance for you and your dependents;
      • Long and short-term disability;
      • 401(k);
      • Paid leave and holidays;
      • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts;
      • Employee assistance program;
      • Travel assistance;
      • MetLaw Hyatt legal service and
      • MetLife additional voluntary benefits


      Just commenting on the jobs I know of. I’m sure line cook in minimum and there are pleanty of illegal aliens working in that job.

      • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

        “Where I’m from”

        Let’s not forget that everyone is not from where you’re from. That’s related to that issue I raised in my 12/10/9:35 about getting the job seekers and their families to the places where the jobs are.

        Seeing this problem in a clear light requires that we understand that our country is huge and complex (unlike, say, 220 years ago)and so is this problem. It requires a comprehensive solution, no matter what the politicos say.

        The spaghetti-armed metrosexuals (ya know, dem pussiz dat liv in da citiz) you’ve repeatedly derided play a significant role in many areas that drive our economy. When they’re unemployed, moving the family to farm country for a job isn’t even a sensible option. How far does the ex-auto worker need to move his starving family to find a harvesting job or a construction job (in a period when housing is down)?

        But, again,where has the federal government been under Republican and Democratic administrations, when it comes to enforcing the laws against employers who hire illegals? Big business. Government. A bad mix. Big business without government=much, much worse.

        Q1: If the big growers and contractors were allowed to hire, fire, pay, insure, establish their own safety rules, etc. with no local or state government involvement would we still have a problem with illegal immigration?

        Q2: Question one, to me, sort of answers itself. But someone will have to explain the legal ins-and- outs of the following to me. If the states most concerned with this problem established their own laws, identical to the federal laws, regarding these businesses hiring illegals, could the states enforce those laws? Would the conservative, states rights SC back them up? The answer to this is crucial. If it is yes, clearly, THAT is where states should be going first to deal with their problem. The fed. govt. has some thousands of Guard troops on the border. Wall, troops, whatever–a significant number of aliens will enter anyway. And millions are already here. The easiest point to deal with this is the nexus of grower(hirer) and illegal. If the state can do that, it should be doing it. . .not harassing legal and illegal immigrants in non-business settings (a sure-to-fail effort to solve the problem).

        Get that enforcement in place, ‘then’ figure out what to do with the illegals.

        • kernunos said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm

          “Let’s not forget that everyone is not from where you’re from. That’s related to that issue I raised in my 12/10/9:35 about getting the job seekers and their families to the places where the jobs are.”

          Where he is from is less than the national average I can guarantee.

          • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm

            I intended the word “from” to be taken both figuratively and literally. I.E where does m* come from physically ‘and’ where does he come from mentally/emotionally– (“Ah, now I see where you’re coming from! Etc.)?

            So when you say “Where he is from is less than the national average”, what exactly are you referring to? Ex: Less than the nat’l ave. of a/conservatism? b/Pepsi consumption? c/ spaghetti-armed metrosexuals#? d/ empathy with others? e/ reading and thinking.

            If I were to guess I’d place my money on a,c, and d.

            # I’ve filled my “spaghetti-armed metrosexual quota— quotation quota i.e— for the month of July. God, I love that phrase.

        • kernunos said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm

          “. . .not harassing legal and illegal immigrants in non-business settings (a sure-to-fail effort to solve the problem).”

          I’m so sorry if we harass someone breaking the law. That would be soooo unfortunate. Harass legals, absolutely not, but we have seemed to lose sight of the fact that the illegals are breaking laws that we would be prosecuted for in other countries.

          • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 9:34 pm

            And if legals get tangled in the in the net, so what.

            • magus71 said, on July 13, 2010 at 12:42 am

              Who’s getting tangled? The whole law suit by the Obama administration over the Arizona law is BS, too. How do you think Border Patrol identifies illegal aliens? By buildinga case.

              I worked for the Border Patrol. Let me give you an example narrative of a report I might write were I still working for ICE:

              “On July 5, 2010, I was on duty with Nogales Border Patrol station conducting roving patrols in Bravo Sector. At approx. 1400 hrs. I witnessed a white older model Toyota sedan driving north on Haditha Road in front of the Siesta Saloon restarant. I could see, as it approached me, that the vehicle held 6 individuals even though it was meant to hold no more than five. As the vehicle passed me, the hispanic driver gripped the steering wheel tightly and looked staright ahead even though I slowed down and was in a marked Border Patrol vehicle. All occupants in the vehicle were hispanic males with unkempt hair. All looked straight ahead, seemingly avoiding eye contact with me. As the car passed, I could see that the rear end of the vehicle sagged as if carrying a large cargo load.

              Since i was working within a 25 mile buffer of the uS/Mexico border, I suspected that the white car contained illigal immigrants from South or Central America. I activated my vehicle’s emergency lights and siren and the vehcile pulled to the right and stopped. I approached the vehicle, and asked the driver to produce identification. The driver could not speak English. He handed me a Mexican national identification card. When asked, he stated that he was a citizen of Mexico here in the US illegally. I requested additional BP units and discovered that all vehicle occupants were uillegal immigrants from Mexico who crossed the US/Mexico border into Douglas Az. and then drove to Nogales in search of work.”

              So, it’s political and ideological BD–which this administration is full of, that law enforcement will be like Nazis walkinga round demanding every hispanic dude’s papers. HALF THE FRICKEN LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY IS HISPANIC IN THAT AREA, INCLUDING BORDER PATROL! They know what illegal aliens act like, look like for the most part. And they use their experience to explain in reports what it was that made them suspicious.

              It’s not that “They were Hispanic so I asked them for papers.” Such a lie.

            • freddiek said, on July 13, 2010 at 9:18 am

              “Who’s getting tangled?”

              Just one opposing view from someone in law enforcement with dark skin.

              “One of the first in the growing list of legal challenges to the law was filed in federal court in Tucson last week by a local police officer, Martin Escobar, who said there is no way ‘race neutral’ criteria can be used to determine whether someone is in this country illegally.”
              “Officer Escobar said more than half the residents in the area of Tucson where he polices are Hispanic and potential profiling targets under the new law. So are the more than 24 million Mexican citizens who visit Arizona each year legally.”

  4. magus71 said, on July 14, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Harry Reid is just as out of touch as those that for vote for he andhis party:


    • freddiek said, on July 14, 2010 at 11:14 am

      How would America feel about this?

      * Secure the border as a precondition to other clauses taking effect.
      * A fraud proof social security card for all workers with biometric information.
      * Raise penalties (monetary and legal) for employers who hire unauthorized workers.
      * Require 10 million illegals in the U.S. to register with the government, pay fines and taxes, learn English and go to the end of the line.

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