Ilana Mercer, November 7, 2003

It’s both libel and lie, but it’s repeated again and again by immigration lobbyists. Be they liberals, libertarians or plain la Raza racists, they all say the same: illegal aliens only take the jobs Americans refuse to do.


The nation’s elites are forever singing hymns to illegal aliens for allegedly rescuing Americans from sloth. Terry Anderson does not. His testimony in 1999 to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims ought to have made Congress sing a different tune. Sadly, it didn’t.


Anderson, an auto mechanic turned radio talk-show host and activist, lives in South Central Los Angeles. He speaks for “those … at the bottom who have no power” – blacks like himself who were once gainfully employed as auto mechanics, body and fender repairmen, roofers, framers, drywallers, gardeners, and truck drivers.


“We, black Americans are being displaced in Los Angeles,” Anderson told an indifferent Congress. “We are being systematically and economically replaced. And the next time somebody tells you that the illegals only take jobs that blacks won’t do, just remember that we were doing those jobs before the illegals got here.”


As hard as it is for open-border internationalists to believe, once there indeed were plenty of black janitors in Los Angeles. In the early 1970s, before the trickle of cheap foreign labor turned into a torrent, these Americans (yes, gasp, Americans!) even did construction and house painting.


Try telling the young woman who cuts my hair that her husband is too lazy to do hard manual labor. The young man is a construction worker and – forgive the necessary bluntness – a white boy. Fortunately for this young couple, they don’t live in California, Texas or Arizona. If they did, one breadwinner would doubtless be unemployed.


As Anderson notes, in places in the country where there is not yet a problem with illegals, you can still get your grass cut, your dinner served, your dishes bussed and your hotel room cleaned by local Americans who presumably need these jobs else they would not be performing them.


But, the “pincers,” as Peter Brimelow puts it, are closing in fast on these low-wage young Americans.


“The immigration situation is really hard on our young people,” seconds Anderson in a follow-up editorial for the Houston Chronicle. His neighborhood, now 60 percent Hispanic, was once a “respectable, blue-collar area of hard-working black folks.” But now, he relates, “A 17-year-old kid on my street couldn’t get a job at McDonald’s because he didn’t speak Spanish.” The employer viewed the presence of this black American lad among his illegal Mexican kitchen staff as a cultural “disruption.”


There is a diverse and varied labor force in the United States. While many Americans are highly educated or skilled – and hence employed in high-earning occupations – others are uneducated and in desperate need of low-skill, entry-level work. The fabrications of the free-immigration crowd notwithstanding, bussing tables, washing dishes, flipping burgers and mowing the neighborhood lawns were once vital jobs for young, poor Americans, white and black.


The vicious slander of America‘s poor by the open-border devotees is rendered more disingenuous considering the minimum-wage laws. How on earth can anyone say with certainty that Americans are not willing to work for lower wages if the law bars employers from hiring them at a market price?


By fixing the price of labor above the market rate or the employee’s productivity, minimum-wage laws always increase unemployment among the poor and the unskilled. The jobs exist, but, government forbids employers from hiring American workers below an artificially set wage.


At the same time, law makers and enforcers turn blind when the employer enters labor agreements with illegal aliens, who also happen to be heavily subsidized by the American worker. Congress thus implicitly endorses the hiring of non-nationals.


In conjunction with the cheap, de facto legalized labor of aliens, minimum-wa
ge laws compound the dire situation among America‘s needy. Their effect is to legislate these jobs out of the reach of America‘s poor.


If Terry Anderson thinks his community is decimated now, wait until Californians pass yet another of their barmy minimum-wage ballots. (San Francisco has in the works an initiative that’ll raise the minimum wage from $6.75 to $8.50.)


Solutions? First, drop minimum-wage laws. Americans will then be legally free to take up low-paying work. Then enforce the borders. Preventing a foreign invasion is perfectly within the purview of the “night-watchman state of classical-liberal theory,” in the words of the late philosopher, Robert Nozick.


Supply and demand should be allowed to determine the price of labor. Once the borders are shut to the deluge of illegal laborers, the supply of cheap labor (as well as the steady “supply” of crime and welfarism) will no longer be limitless. With a smaller pool of workers, wages for “menial work” will soon rise – all the more so as employers, no longer seduced by the interminable flood of cheap, illegal labor, begin to bid for the most productive workers. The resulting higher wages, in turn, will induce more Americans to do such work.


It’s all very well to disenfranchise meek, guilt-ridden WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). But by encouraging the displacement of black Americans, promoters of unfettered immigration – black leaders included – may have slipped up strategically. Given their history, blacks are less inclined to fade into the night. They’ve already been sold down the river before.



November 7, 2003

CATEGORIES: Classical liberalism, Economy, Free Markets, Immigration, Labor, Racial issues

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