Essay on The Immigration and Job Loss Debate

Essay on The Immigration and Job Loss Debate

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The Immigration and Job Loss Debate


A debate that always seems to raise its ugly head when the issue of "foreign labor" is discussed concerns the types of jobs that immigrants take and whether they are actually taking these jobs away from American workers. I look at it as jobs they are "left with", not ones they are taking. The debate always shows an American family that has been displaced or lost their livelihood because they can no longer compete with cheaper labor. In reality the jobs that the immigrants get are the most undesirable, strenuous and dangerous ones. The only American workers that they compete with are the unskilled ones. I intend to explore if immigrants "taking" American jobs, if they are only taking the jobs that Americans don’t want or are they being forced to take certain jobs in specific industries.

As seen in Cooper’s article; The Heartland’s Raw Deal: How Meatpacking is Creating a New Immigrant Underclass, we see how companies have taken advantage and exploited the workers willing to work for less. These companies have tapped into the supply of labor that is willing to work for less than union wages. As a result of the de-unionization of the meat-packing industry, companies that were paying union wages as high as $30,000 a year were able to turn right around and hire all new workers for as little as $6. per hour. This is a big difference in pay for the same exact work. Sure, many American workers were willing to do the work, just not for the minimal wages. The meatpacking industry was able to increase profits at the expense of the American workers. The debate about whether the immigrants "took" those jobs from the American workers needs to be re-addressed to the companies that took advantage of the ...


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...rs as immigrants and minorities.

As the debate continues on whether or not immigrants and "foreigners" are crippling the American workforce, we must look at who is employing them and if American workers would actually work for the substandard wages. Does the success of corporate America depend on cheap labor to offer affordable products and services? Do we need the cheap labor to maintain our standard of living? Do we depend on it to get the jobs done that we won’t do ourselves? What would happen to the economy if the dirty jobs were paid at wages that only unions would accept? I do not think that immigrants have made American workers unemployed. I think their exploitation by corporations has pushed the American worker out of the market. Immigrants are taking the jobs that American workers don’t want at wages that no "self-respecting" American worker would take.

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