March 31, 2006


Help Wanted as Immigration Faces Overhaul: Congress Considers New Rules, and Businesses Worry About Finding Workers (S. Mitra Kalita and Krissah Williams, March 27, 2006, Washington Post)

Year after year, Professional Grounds Inc. runs a help-wanted ad to find landscapers and groundskeepers. Starting wage: $7.74 per hour.

In a good year, three people call. Most years, no one does.

So the Springfield company relies on imported labor -- seasonal guest workers allowed to immigrate under the federal guest-worker program -- to keep itself running. For 10 months this year, 23 men from Mexico and Central America will spend their days mulching and mowing, seeding and sodding for Professional Grounds.

You know how the Left and far Right alway cite that number about how only one congressmnan has a child currently fighting in Iraq or wherever? How about asking all these nativist congressmen how many of them have kids who mow lawns or slaughter cattle?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 31, 2006 11:25 AM

Why not raise their wages?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 11:32 AM


What do you think you'd have to pay Pat Buchanan to get him to sew shirts?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:37 AM

The Japanese have well trimmed gardens and eat beef.

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 11:43 AM

Probably a lot since I think he's a millionairre.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 11:45 AM

Raise the wage to $15.74, and you will get enough workers.

Posted by: sam at March 31, 2006 11:51 AM


Yes, they use different illegals that they hate as much as we hate Mexicans:

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:58 AM


You'd go work in a slaughterhouse for $15 an hour?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:02 PM

Only a small number of bloggers bother to look behind the stories that we're offered. For instance, articles like this join a long line of propaganda spread by those who profit off cheap labor. The link leads to quotes from 1916 promoting child labor. That links to a series of articles from farmers and others threatening armageddon is they don't get their illegal labor.

Bloggers should look at what's behind such articles, rather than simply parrot them.

Posted by: TLB at March 31, 2006 12:36 PM


Why do you think we spread them? We profit from the cheap labor too. Want to pay the burger flipper that $15 an hour?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:42 PM

The landscaper who did heavy work on my property remarked that he often only able to compete in the top end of the residential market, because his Guatamaleans (unlike his competitors') were legal. His work was superior, and worth it... but had it cost any more, I would have forgone the job altogether.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 31, 2006 12:54 PM

It appears that immigrants have unusual methods for delivery those burgers.

The body of a missing schoolgirl may have been turned into burgers and
kebabs and served up at a seaside fast food outlet.

Police fear the remains of 14 year old Charlene Downes, who went
missing in November 2003, may also have been ground up into tile grout.

Iyad Albattikhi, 28, who ran the Funny Boyz takeaway in Blackpool, is
charged with her murder.

The co-owner of the business Mohammed Raveshi, a 49 year old former
social services worker and foster father, is charged with assisting in
the disposal of her body.

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 12:55 PM


Excellent! A classic Anti-Semitic trope--we need to get rid of them because they use Christian children in their blood rituals...

It's beyond caricature.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 1:00 PM


Don't worry, his weren't legal either.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 1:01 PM


It was a joke. (however don't forget Jesse Jackson's methods when he worked in a kitchen)

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 1:05 PM

The posts about raising the pay miss the point.

Sure, we could raise wages, but then there'd be fewer jobs to do, as Mike Earl's post illustrates.

The American labor pool is at full employment.
Employment among those aged 25 - 64, of all races, is at 96.5%.
So immigrants, legal or illegal, or guest workers, aren't taking jobs away from Americans.
Any American who wants a job can get one.

Meanwhile, if Mexicans are willing to work for $ 5/hr, and we have jobs that we're willing to have done if they'll work that cheaply, where's the harm in letting them do so ?

It's win/win. They make what they consider to be decent money, and our lives are more luxurious and convenient.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2006 1:11 PM


That still doesn't answer why the vaunted, monoculturally stable Japanese use migrant labor. And do you think the Japanese rigorously screen all those folks?

Posted by: Brad S at March 31, 2006 1:12 PM

What job is worth doing as to which one desiring to hire someone to do it refuses to pay what it will take for someone legally to do it?

Posted by: GER at March 31, 2006 1:15 PM


What's employment like for the 16-25s?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 1:43 PM

The problem with some native landscapers is they charge a percentage of the trees they plant. It seems fairer if they charge per hour or per job. Why should I pay them more just because I want a prettier tree on my lawn? They are digging the same hole, using the same tools, spending the same time, yet they charge more just because I want a better tree. So out they go I pay Mexicans for $15/hr, planting the tree that I chose and bought.

Posted by: ic at March 31, 2006 1:56 PM

Why is it so hard to see that the opposition is not to allow people to come to the US to do low-paying jobs? The opposition is to them coming here illegally. There is nothing that says that we can't change the system to increase the numbers of people we let into the country to match the workforce requirements. No one would oppose that. When they come in legally, they pay taxes, they register for selective services, they pay social security, they become contributing members of the community rather than just underpaid, shadow members of a stealthy and illegal group who actually cost more to maintain with tax dollars than they ever pay into the system.

If we need 2 million foreign workers a year to meet our needs, let's raise/change the quota system and make it happen. We could set up a system that says, "you have 5 years to apply for and pass the steps to become a naturalized citizen and at the end of that period if you have not, you must leave and not come back."

But the illegals have to be stopped. Our borders have to be controlled. Employers who hire illegals must be punished until they stop hiring them.

Posted by: Michael at March 31, 2006 2:25 PM

If you run a small company, put up a sign and run some ads that say "No illegals work here." and see how long before you get sued. Fun fun fun...

Posted by: M. Murcek at March 31, 2006 2:38 PM


You do humanity a terrible dis-service by denagrading hard work like you commonly do.

"Hamburger flippers" have an opportunity to learn how a modern business operates as well as what it means to do a good job and be dependable. In the end it is all about how you do it, not what you do. Your policy on immigration makes anyone a dupe that does any physical labor because it distills their work into nothing but the lowest common denominator. Most jobs can and are much more than that, even hamburger flipping and cutting meat.

Your position on immigration is ludicrous as you don't have one other than an open borders policy. You and the open borders crowd rely on a necessary underclass to do your bidding, again anti-human.

Posted by: Perry at March 31, 2006 3:20 PM


Yes, I agree that immigrants are learning quite a bit that's useful in the jobs we won't do anymore. Makes them even better citizens.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 3:23 PM

Your message dovetails nicely, supports actually, the constant anti-americamism fed to young blacks by our public schools and liberal intelligensia.

It is no wonder values have collapse for a black kid considering he is being told he is no better than a job nobody wants or should do that is american.

Posted by: Perry at March 31, 2006 3:50 PM

The difference being those natives won't do the work. Immigrants will. By any objective measure they're better acculturated.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 3:56 PM

A labor shortage is not a problem. There was a constant labor shortage in the US even the mass immigration of the late 19th century. When labor cost becomes high, the cost of capital becomes low. Innovation increases as businesses look to be more productive with the workers they have.

We can have either a high wage, high tech, high productivity economy, or a third world economy based on low wages.

The idea that if we don't have millions of illegal immigrants to do jobs our economy will collapse is ridiculous. If there are any jobs that MUST be done to stop the end of the world, then they'll be done at higher wages. If there are any jobs that Americans won't do, then they can actually be done in Mexico - giving those people jobs in their home so they don't need to be away from their families.

Instead, we have this ridiculous situation now that ultimately serves no one best.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 31, 2006 4:41 PM


So it's ridiculous to believe that we could screw our economy up as badly as most of the rest of the world's by radically changing it?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 4:45 PM

Orrin, we radically change our economy all the time. And you're in no position to make that argument anyway (well, you wouldn't be if you paid any attention to the things you say): you honestly think we could carry through with your jihad against the automobile without radically changing the economy? And Chris is absolutely right about the adjustments both capital and labor would make. You're better off just calling your opponents on this one racist, it gives them less to laugh at.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 31, 2006 7:36 PM


Yes, my point is trashing the gasoline economy. I hate cars. Theirs is trashing the immigrant economy. They hate Mexicans.

Posted by: oj at April 1, 2006 8:46 AM


Those jobs that are desired, but not necessary.
Suppose that I want my kitchen floor refinished for aesthetic reasons, but that it's still serviceable.
Suppose further that I'm willing to pay $ 500 to have that done, but will not do it if it's more expensive.

If an illegal is the only person interested in doing the job for that rate, they aren't taking the job from someone else, because if they didn't do it, it wouldn't be done.
Further, by doing the job at the low-budget price, the illegal is providing demand for jobs in the adhesive and tile industries.

Ali Choudhury:

In February, among Americans of all races, seasonally adjusted, the employment rate for those aged 16 - 24 was 91%.
For those aged 16 - 19, it was 84.6%.
For those 16 and up, of any age, it was 95.2%.


That is indeed the best solution, but there's no political support for raising the quota for legal immigration for Mexicans to 2,000,000 a year, even though we allow 1,000,000 a year to come illegally - or at least, we aren't willing to do what it would take to stop them from coming.


Why did we need to rely upon thousands of Mexicans to clean up New Orleans, at a time when 8 million Americans willing to work were without jobs, and an additional 77 million Americans of working age, who aren't in the labor force, could potentially have been tempted to take a job ?

Even $ 30,000/yr plus lodging wasn't enough to get Americans to do the clean-up.
In NH, burger-flippers get $ 10/hr - few takers.
In rural Eastern Utah, kids with no work experience can make $ 36,000/yr working in the oil fields - few takers.

Chris Durnell:

We already have, and will increasingly have, a high tech, high wage, high productivity economy.

However, we also have a pool of tens of millions of low- or semi-skilled workers who would very much like to make our lives more comfortable and convenient, for low wages.
Why not let them ?

Jose and Maria aren't going to take away jobs from computer programmers or accountants - although their kids might.

But what's the "high tech" solution to landscaping, construction, or cooking ?

Many people bring home, or have delivered, commercially prepared food for their family dinner on workdays, which can cost $ 20 - $ 40, depending.
Why not let someone clean your house, watch the kids after school, and cook dinner, for $ 50/day ?
(Unless you live on the Left coast or in the Nor'east, of course, where it'll be more expensive).

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 1, 2006 4:16 PM

Michael, Do you have Jose and Maria phone number?

Posted by: erp at April 1, 2006 7:48 PM


If you're willing to drive, you can find them in New Orleans or Phoenix.

Or canvass a migrant labor camp after the harvest - dusting and cooking is easier than picking fruit.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at April 2, 2006 1:29 AM

I don't believe it. To get no phone calls makes no sense.

Posted by: Stephen at April 28, 2006 10:25 PM