Willing to do the work

Willing to do the work

You often hear that illegal immigrants do the jobs that Americans won’t do, most usually because they’re low-paying or dirty or demeaning or what have you. But that’s not a good argument because if illegal immigrants weren’t there to do the jobs, then the employers would have to pay better wages under better conditions in order to find people willing to do the work.

No one who’s serious about this debate is saying that immigration is bad. Only an idiot could ignore the fact that immigration is a bonus to the US, especially because so many immigrants come from historically Catholic countries with compatible cultures which could lead to easy assimilation.

The problem is illegal immigration, which creates an easily exploitable underclass. If we really cared about people’s human dignity, we wouldn’t let them become illegals in the first place. We’d either help improve the conditions in their own countries or create encouragements to only go through the legal immigration process. We wouldn’t set them up to be taken advantage of by “coyotes” and slaveowners and crime bosses.

Technorati Tags:

  • To infer that there are supposedly jobs Americans won’t perform is pure arrogance and snobbery, much like the French reasoning for their 16 million Muslims.  These eletists are promoting the creation of a permanent class of underpaid serfs while at the same time pridefully proclaiming their welcoming compassion for these poor downtrodden illegals.

  • But that only looks at one part of the issue and only from the negative viewpoint. I recall Ronald Reagan’s dictum (I believe it was him) that said, A rising tide lifts all boats.

    Sure, you could say Wal Mart might have to raise its prices, although I have my doubts that it would be so much.

    On the other hand, people are going to spending all those new wages. They’ll be buying new homes, new cars, new clothes, enough food for their families to eat, and so on.

    Rising wages creates wealth which is the engine of the economy.

    Apart from all that though, do we really want to argue that we need to keep 11 million people in poverty so we can have cheap t-shirts?

  • DOM:  Rising wages creates creates wealth which is the engine of the economy.


    There has always been a lower class in this country, working to raise themselves up.

    Remember the Irish in the 1850’s-1890’s, followed by floods from other countries, cleaning houses, offices, picking up trash, etc…

    This country runs on these people’s backs, legal and illegal.

    They have become a necessary ingredient in the fight against inflation.  It is true, American born people don’t want those jobs, and the market won’t bear it.  THESE PEOPLE KEEP OUR COSTS DOWN!

    Chuck Colson (not a Catholic, but an insightful Christian) said it best.  We’ve killed 40million people who may have done those jobs over the last 30 years!  The immigration issue is here today BECAUSE of abortion and contraception (remember:  Contraception fuels abortion) 

    Margaret Sanger’s dream is coming true.  We’ve killed of the lower-class (or under-class if you will).  Now if we can just shut down immigration and stop them from moving in, HER joy will be complete… to the detriment of us all.

  • Ferde,

    “It’s unfair to demonize them.  (Not you, Dom, but most on the right.)”

    Kind of like it is unfair of you to demonize most of those on the right, eh?  I work in a factory dominated by union Democrats.  Talk about folks demonizing those who have come to our country illegally!  There are plenty on both the right and the left who oppose illegal entry to the U.S.  Myself, I struggle with the issue and even spoke with a priest friend about it last night after dinner.  If I lived in dire poverty in another country, I would probably consider coming to the U.S., quite possibly illegally, too.  I’m just not sure I’d be out marching in the streets DEMANDING anything.

  • If all of the undocumenteds in this country became documented…they’d all have to be paid at least minimum wage…what would that do to the economy?

    This is a very real part of the immigration issue..but it isn’t one I’ve heard talked about very much.

    Because it is false .. the lies of the liberals are more deceptive than that.

  • They have become a necessary ingredient in the fight against inflation.  It is true, American born people don’t want those jobs, and the market won’t bear it.  THESE PEOPLE KEEP OUR COSTS DOWN!

    They keep no costs down.  They raise local property taxes by flooding schools and living 20 to an apartment.  They bankrupt hospitals by showing up sick and not working jobs that offer health insurance (i.e cash and carry.) They kill, rape and rob Americans in alarming numbers

    Legal immigrants want jobs like landscaping, agriculture, baby sitting.  The illegals are depressing wages below the minimum.

    Now we see the liberal elitists coming out of the woodwork … fearful of losing their cheap landscapers, caddys, waiters, and day laborers. The limosine liberals have spoken.

    It is time for some smackdown by the working class and the struggling middle class.

    The illegals are an invasion force and need to be treated that way.


    This is only a severe problem when wages rise without connection to productivity.  In some cases, inflation is preferable if there are accompanying benefits, like getting tax income from regularized immigrant laborers or their native replacements, or creating safer work environments because there aren’t any illegals to intimidate into silence.

    It’s been my hobby-horse, but I’ll repeat this question:  how is mass immigration compatible with the Catholic ideal of a living wage for working-class families?

  • Perhaps we need to investigate why countries like Mexico are such rotten places to live.

    Where’s the social justice in Mexico?

    I know the Bishops in Central America and the Philippines know a thing or two about this.

  • John –

    Not sure what country you live in but wages are stagnant. They would rise, in theory, but there are a few things that supress them #1) working mommies who already have a hubby working … this is fueled by tax exemptions for day care #2) illegal immigrants who supress normally unionized trades work and who supress manufacturing wages #3)There is low unemployment, yes, but the job creation is in low-skill, low-pay services. Manufacturing is going bye-bye.

    “Given the very limited access to social services available to “illegals””

    Are you joking?  They are in the schools, clinics and hospital emergency wards cannot refuse them, they especially are in jails. Southern California, border state and Florida hospitals are going bankrupt.  Massachusets narrowly avoided giving them in-state tuition for colleges … do you live in Belmont, Wellesley or Beacon Hill? You need to get with reality.

  • TC,

    Please let me in on tax exempt day care.  I am paying through the nose for it with post tax $.

    The facts are pretty clear.  People work because they want to.  You don’t get to historic lows in unemployment by chosing not to work.  We must be at one of the best points in US history for having the market price meet the demand for jobs.

    You can bellow all you like about “illegals” using social services, but you know as well as I that government provided social services turn away “illegals” any chance they get. 

    Sure, “illegals” pay property tax, and state income tax, and sales tax, but if they want to pay in-state tuition, the reactionaries say NO, while at the same time complaining about “illegals” not becoming educated and assimilated into the US. 

    The reality is that our laws are obsolete and a waste of time and money.  We need to look at forming an American Union, offering freedom of movement in much the same way as the European Union, (and hopefully without the crackpot regulation.)


  • A,

    Low inflation, low unemployment, high economic growth, and a ready force of Catholic workers is not an ancedote.  It is God’s providence manifest on earth.  We can choose to accept it, or attack our Catholic brethern to satisfy the panderings of our politicians.


  • A,

    I live in Chicago, and work in Church Restoration.

    God calls on us to obey the law?  Since when does some pinhead in Washington (or Springfield)have divine authority over man?  Your inside-the-beltway God must be very upset with his chosen people for refusing to pay sales tax on out of state purchases, speeding, raising bees with out a license (at least in my town).

    Since you claim the statistics cannot be true about US economic growth, inflation, and unemployment, and rely only on ancedotes of people working two jobs, it would be very hard to convince you of the general good condition of the USA, so I will stick to Catholic Chauvinism.

    We share a common heritage, religion, and vast number of traditions with our neighbors in Mexico and Canada.  We have not a war with either of these countries in over 150 years.  It is time to grow up a bit as a country and accept that commericial and cultural interraction with our neighbors can be a net positive to our country as a whole.


  • When people make foolish laws (our town limits a homeowner to two birdbaths, for example), they are certainly not from God, rather from the vanity of man, seeking to stamp out free-will and the natural-law provided by God.  The attempted imposition of man’s limits on God’s providence results in our current miserable situation with Mexico.

    As for your condemnation of our Latin and Italian Catholic brothers, you are going to run out of people to condemn pretty soon.  How about chastizing the Polish, Irish, French, Slovaks, Belgians, Lithuanians, Filipinos?  They all had the nerve to immigrate here as well, and mess us your “practical and theoritical knowledge of immigration” simply by seeking freedom of religion, a decent government, and the ability to earn a living without being criminalized by those who don’t want them to have that chance.


  • A,

    Read your links.  Cosman, delivers Socialist propoganda justifying the incompetence of the medical industry and blames the lack of professionalism on illegal immigrants.  Bewildering, given that the great majority of “illegal” workers pay medicaid taxes, yet do not get medicaid benefits.

    The Viveras webpage is more thoughtful.  Bizzare border procedures separate families.  It would seem logical to fix the border procedures, allowing (as I have mentioned before) a sort of American Union where Canadian, USA, and Mexican families have the freedom to travel and work as the market demands, and use the border to stop terrorists and criminals.

    As you condemn the Catholicism of some of the most devout Catholics on earth, can you please consider that perhaps your condemnation is what drives Catholics away from the Church and into Pentocostalism.  Perhaps if we would quit demoninzing and patronizing our Catholic brothers and start living with them (and yes, requiring English in our Parish schools), we would have a more harmonius situation.


  • Please, if working hard for a fair wage is exploitation, lets have more expolitation of labor.  There are at least 11 million people wanting to be “exploited”.

    I think they key way to refute my charge of demonization is for you to contemplate the percentages and numbers of devout Latin American’s at Mass on Sunday versus “Americans”, then decide for yourself what race is practicing “cultural” Catholicism.  You can also compare your condemnation of Latino Catholics with the condemnations of the Irish, Italians and Polish in the 19th Century, and see if you can come with any reasoning not sponsored by the Know-Nothing party.


  • If I were making $1.00 per hour in Mexico laying bricks and had a chance to make $9.00 per hour in the USA laying bricks, I would be scratching my head at how I was being exploited. 

    I would certainly not be thanking the fuzzy Socialists who pervade the anti-immigrant movement for keeping me from my work.


  • John,

    And what of those illegal immigrants that are paid cash, off the books?  Below the prevailing wage, because they are too afraid to go to the authorities after being threatened with being turned in as illegals.  Are these not being exploited?  Especially those maybe making just a few dollars in the agriculture industry.

    Personally, I’m a bit conflicted about the whole issue.  If I were making $4-$5/day in Mexico or elsewhere, trying to support a family, I may very well risk coming to the U.S., too.  What I wouldn’t do is march in the street demanding anything.


    The above link is to an interesting article by Phyllis Schlafly, the President and Founder of the Eagle Forum.

  • DB,

    I take Dean Martin’s approach to the civil rights movement, when asked by Sammy Davis Jr. to march in Alabama to support African-American Dean said, “I wouldn’t march in Steubenville to support Italian civil rights, and I won’t march in Selma”.

    Hard to calculate, but I think that by far immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in social costs.  Mostly I am assuming Social Security is a dead-weight loss for “illegals”, taking 16% of wages for those on the books. 

    Nonetheless, willing workers are certainly NOT being exploited.  If it is possible to quit, and they are working at an agreed upon wage, what harm does it do?  I would like to get paid more too, and can quit what I am doing any time I like.  The prevailing wage is Socialist nonsense.  I don’t see tomato pickers making $17/hour anytime soon.


  • Many, many of these people are not willing workers, but are working as slaves to the people who brought them into this country. Catholic World Report did a two-part series of article in February and April that showed how many aliens in the US are either literal or virtual slaves, held in physical bondage or coerced with threats to family or with simple threats to well-being.

  • Yes Dom,

    Slavery is bad.  Like minded people should work against it. 

    Yes Ann,

    There is purchasing parity to dollars earned.  I think our key difference is that you think one of our esteemed politicians should decide the financial fate of our country’s consumers, businesses, and laborers, and I would like to put that decision into the hands of the consumer, laborers, and businesses.  I can see the situation our valiant politicians have us in today, and want no more of it.  I don’t see demonizing

    1)Corporations for making money (How Greedy!)
    2)Consumers for wanting competitively priced goods
    3)Workers who want paid

    as a real solution.


  • John,

    “Hard to calculate, but I think that by far immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in social costs.”

    From the article I linked (did you read it???):

    “On the other hand, the costs taxpayers are forced to pay for social benefits for low-paid workers are astronomical. The National Research Council reports that an immigrant to the United States without a high-school diploma consumes $89,000 more in government services than he pays in taxes during his lifetime.”

    “I don’t see tomato pickers making $17/hour anytime soon.”

    I don’t even see them making minimum wage anytime soon.  But, perhaps you see $3-$4 dollars an hour as a “fair wage.”

    Please go back and re-read the article.  There generally are two sides to any story.  The mainstream media has been giving one side.  Good to look at the other side, as well.

  • A,

    Maybe this conversation would be more productive if you had some knowledge of Catholic Scholastic teachings of free will and free-markets and quit worshipping the government.


    Yes, pretty much any wage is fair if both parties enter into it voluntarily.  You may think that Socialists should decide what workers get paid. I prefer that workers and the people they work for decide what workers get paid.

    Schafly’s statistics seem peculiar.  In Illinois it is nearly impossible to get by without paying property taxes (schools here are funded by property tax).  You would have to live in public housing (available to people making $85,000 a year in Highland Park, I may add) to get out of paying them.  Yet, she claims immigrants “cash in on all sorts of benefits paid by other taxpayers, such as schooling for their children”.  Well, no, that is not the case.

    Schafly claims that immigrants get housing subsidies, like what?  I would guess US Citizens are using housing subsidies 1000:1 over illegal immigrants.  Emergency healthcare? Hmm..illegals get to pay for Medicaid, they just can’t use it.  Then our slick medical system presses them into emergency care and claims that they using precious healthcare resources. 

    My Irish grandmother used to bring up the story of how her family was chastized in Ireland for being illiterate by the same people that burned down the Parish School.  I think we are seeing the same villains on this immigration debate, only this time we have a good number of Catholics doing the demonification against their Catholic brothers and sisters.


  • John,

    You need to learn to read closer what is presented to you.  The statistics in Schafly’s article aren’t hers.  They are from the National Research Council.  It is part of the National Academies, whose web-site describes itself thusly:

    “They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of further knowledge and advising the federal government.”

    Under congressional charter sounds like an organization recognized by the federal government.  Of course, you are free to reject their findings.

    Of your claims of illegals paying for property taxes/Medicaid, well, that depends.  For those who are being paid on the books, they may pay a small amount into Medicaid.  I say small, because assuming you are being paid on the books, the taxes will be pretty small for an agricultural worker being paid less than minimum wage for their hard labor.  I guess one could argue that the illegals voluntarily agreed to work for peanuts.  Do you acknowledge that there are those who work for substandard wages not by choice but by being threatened.  Who are illegals going to turn to?  The police???  As to property taxes, I assume it varies by location, but where I live, property taxes are paid to support the public schools by home owners.  Renters don’t pay property taxes.  Now, I’ll concede that some or all of the property tax may be built into one’s monthly rent.  However, perhaps that tax bite is lessened for illegals (if it applies) when one considers that 10-20 people might live in one dwelling.

    As to this comment, “You may think that Socialists should decide what workers get paid.”  Well, not really.  I, too, prefer that employees and employers work out the wages paid.  However, I think it is only just, from a Catholic standpoint, that one party isn’t unjustly pressured into accepting an unfair wage agreement.  Being able to freely enter into employment is better than “accepting” a substandard wage out of fear.

    Finally, please don’t villify me or accuse me of demonizing anyone.  As I stated earlier, I’m a bit conflicted on this issue, and can see valid arguments from both sides.  Contrary to what some may think, I don’t think there is a clear-cut solution to the issue.  Of course, I’ve tried to keep an open mind on this situation.

  • John,

    More interesting links, especially with regards to your claim that illegals get no benefit from Medicaid.




    Now, the views of these sites don’t necessarily reflect my views.  They are just a sampling, surely some possibly more subjective than others, of what I found doing a Google search.  The CIS link seems more non-partisan/objective, for instance, compared to the latter two.  Just my observation, of course.

  • DB, Ann,

    So, I suggest finding some real demons to battle, which I think you and Ann have identified.  Is there slavery in the US?  Sure there is.  How about fixing that rather than deporting people doing honest work for honest wages and building $11 Billion fences to keep perhaps our friendliest neighbors on the run?

    Immigration law is not respected because it is not respectable.  Before we even consider smashing the economy, we shoud surely fix the truly demonic problems of slavery, broken families, 8 year waiting periods to get a response etc….and let me project: fix the problems and we no longer have an immigration crisis.


  • DB,

    Take a deep breath and get a grip.  Have I advocated deporting anyone or suggested building a fence?  As to the issue of slavery, it seems that it is you that is defending employers that only pay $3-$4 per hour for illegals to work.  After all, you have brought up that those here illegally “voluntarily” agree to work for that amount, so it must be a “fair” wage.  OTOH, I’ve consistently said that is not a fair wage, and is tantamount to slavery.

  • DB,

    Mixing you and St. Ann (the Fence Builder) of Washington DC again.

    Yes, in my opinion, I champion paying 3-4$ per hour, if people voluntarily want to work for that wage.  I also champion paying 30-40$ per hour, if that is agreed upon by the employer and employees.  A low wage may be against the Socialistic principles of government, but it is by no means slavery or unfair. 

    A “fair wage” is tantamount to Socialism, not slavery.  Surely a worker knows better than a Senator as to what his wage should be. Again, I think your time would be better spent fighting slavery rather than the market.


  • Dear St. Ann the Hysteric,

    At the moment, I have no employees, though I would glady hire anyone who is willing to work at a wage offered, if I was hiring.  I have hired French and Swedish citizens in the past, and done the necessary paperwork to make their labor legal.

    I can assure you that Chicago has a great number of immigrants.  I can also assure you our economy is booming. 

    (sarc) When you host your novena to Politicians in Washington DC, be sure to invoke and invite Congressman King.  He may be able deliver Washington’s Providence to get you a grant to build your cherished Shrine of The Holy Border Barrier.

    Please, just don’t mix worship of the state with Catholicism.


  • John,

    “Yes, in my opinion, I champion paying 3-4$ per hour, if people voluntarily want to work for that wage.”

    Perhaps, where we disagree is the “voluntarily” part of the equation.  Are illegals voluntarily and willingly accepting $3-$4/hr, or are they being told to take it or be turned over to the INS?  If the latter, then exploitation is happening.  Or, maybe you wish you could hire employees at $3-$4/hr.

  • DB,

    Yes, we disagree.  The threat to go to the INS is the problem not the wage.  Yes, I wish I could find hardworking, motivated employees at $3 an hour.  The last time I had an operating business (2003), it was never the case that below market wages were acceptable to people entering into voluntary employment.  They wanted a market rate, rather than a rate I would dictate.  It was a voluntary decision to pay the market rate, and we both accepted it (I was one of the owners).

    I checked with a friend of mine in construction.  He is paying new immigrants approximately $22 per hour for construction labor, plus providing them insurance, and paying a the typical boatload of taxes for the priveledge of being an employer in this great country, though his employees may not ever legally get that priveledge to become employers if Congress has its way. 


  • John,

    “He is paying new immigrants approximately $22 per hour for construction labor,…”

    And are these “new immigrants” legal or illegal?

  • DB,

    I did not ask him as it is none of my business.

    He told me he could pay a bit less, but have more turnover.  He has a steady crew at this rate.


  • John,

    Well, I can accept your view of it being none of your business, and he sounds like he is paying a fair wage for construction work.  However, I think their legal status is pertinent to to discussion.  If your friend is hiring illegals and paying such an hourly rate, I’d guess he is the rare employer to do so.  My guess, and that’s all it can be, is that he is hiring legal immigrants.