Diary

Illegal immigration skews the supply and demand for labor and wages

I found this story thanks to a tweet from The Washington Post’s most honest reporter, Heather Long:

This points out the biggest problem with enforcing illegal immigration laws: the illegals come here and are willing to take jobs that not very many Americans want:

Citizens line up for Mississippi jobs but fear the impact of ICE raids

Plant openings offer steady income in area where ‘jobs come and they go’

By Jonnelle Marte | August 13, 2019 | 2:19 PM

FOREST, Miss. — More than 100 workers attended a job fair Monday morning in this rural Mississippi town to apply for positions made available, in part, by the largest workplace immigration raid to hit a single state in U.S. history.

In a state where the poultry industry is one of the biggest drivers of the economy, some of the job applicants said they hoped the opportunities at Koch Foods, one of the meatpacking plants targeted by the raids, would improve their finances in both substantial and incremental ways.

They arrived seeking a steadier paycheck. A slightly higher wage. A more accommodating schedule.

“It’s hard to move up around Forest,” said Octavius Noblin, who gets by working odd jobs in construction or hauling parts at a junkyard, often toiling outdoors in the sweltering Mississippi heat. “Jobs come and they go around here.”

I certainly can’t quote the entire article, but, suffice it to say that it documents some sympathy from local citizens for the plight of the illegal immigrants, and details the very unpleasant working conditions in a chicken processing plant. But there are a few points which have to be made:

On a muggy August morning, black, white and Latino job applicants filed in and out of the Win job center, a nondescript office building where workers can apply for jobs and unemployment benefits. Some people had never worked at a chicken plant, and others were looking to return to the industry, drawn by hourly wages ranging from $9.20 to $12, well above the minimum wage of $7.25.

The immigrants expanded the available labor pool, affecting the supply of workers vis a vis the demand for them. Since their immigration status made applying for other jobs problematic, once they got on at Koch Foods they had a greater incentive to stay. Their inelasticity of movement further altered the supply/demand ratio, and that meant that wages were lower than they would have been had all of the workers been legal. Koch Foods was able to pay lower wages and still retain workers because so many of them couldn’t leave.

Koch Foods will have two options:

  1. Koch can offer higher wages to attract an all-legal workforce; or
  2. Koch Foods will be unable to hire enough workers to keep their business running, and will have to cut back or even go out of business.

While I hate to see anyone lose his job, I must admit that I will feel no sorrow if Koch Foods goes out of business due to this. The company gambled, and lost.

Koch Foods said it has been using E-Verify, a federal database, to confirm workers’ identities for more than a decade. “Koch hires its workers using strict hiring policies and procedures and trains its people regularly on such policies and procedures,” the statement said.

Is there anyone reading this who believes Koch’s statement? A few illegals slipping past E-Verify wouldn’t be much of a much, since no program is perfect. But 680 of them, at one company? That isn’t an accident. Either someone in the company’s human resources department was wholly inept, or there was a company policy to fraudulently skirt the rules. Someone, somewhere, deliberately broke the law!

The company noted that management was unsure how many workers were lost, because ICE officials seized their labor records. That’s a good thing: the documents which could send a lot of managers to jail are now in ICE’s hands.

Immigrants come here illegally because it has been to their advantage to do so: they can sneak into the United States due to our lax border security, and they can then find jobs on which to survive. While rounding up those here illegally helps, the only thing that will really work is holding accountable, through felony convictions and long prison terms, those good American citizens who enable this by hiring illegal immigrants.

The managers, the HR people, all the way up to the Chief Executive Officer, need to be put on trial for their actions. If convicted, they need to be thrown in prison for the maximum sentence allowable under the law; with consecutive sentencing, that could be for the rest of their miserable lives. That’s the kind of deterrent we need.

Then the government needs to come up with an amnesty program: any manager at any facility who has allowed these kinds of immigration violations to occur should have a specific time period, perhaps thirty days to come forward, and tell ICE what has been done, and then he gets off with a felony conviction, a fine but a suspended sentence. After that amnesty period is up, that’s it, no more Mr Nice Guy, you get caught aiding and abetting illegal immigration and you go to jail, for the maximum allowable sentence.

Put the fear of God into these people!
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