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Obama's Immigration Plans and Your Job Security in the Recession

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    Obama's Immigration Plans and Your Job Security in the Recession






    Obama's Immigration Plans and Your Job Security in the Recession - ABC News


    Will an Overhaul of Immigration Policy Help or Hurt Your Job Prospects?

    By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
    ABC NEWS Business Unit
    April 13, 2009—


    Danny Fowler used to run a small construction company in California.

    Unlike most of his competition, Fowler refused to hire illegal immigrants. But time after time, other contractors got the job because they had cheaper labor.

    "When half your crew is illegal, you can underbid by 10 percent anytime," Fowler, 50, said.

    On his visits to construction sites, he said, he saw illegal workers everywhere.

    "They're there by the hundreds, not the tens," said Fowler, who's from Modesto. "It's pathetic. They're out in the open and nobody's doing anything about it. I don't blame [the illegal workers]. Everybody's trying to just get by."

    So last year -- partially because of the economy and partially because of the competition -- Fowler closed his business and enrolled in a local junior college to become a family counselor.


    "I would like to say, 'Yeah let's just lock up the borders, let's send everybody back and let's just take care of our own because that would be the easy solution," he said. "But I don't know we've already gone too far to ever come back to what we were as a nation. It's like the Pledge of Allegiance is gone, this is gone, that's gone. It's a different world. I've got kids coming up in this world, and I'm not too thrilled with it."

    The immigration debate is once again surfacing in Washington, with President Obama saying he will soon make a big push for a plan. A major speech on the topic is expected in May, with working groups meeting this summer and legislation maybe by fall.

    Among the options: creating some kind of amnesty program for illegal workers already in the country and allowing those workers to start down the path to citizenship.

    But with many Americans worried about the security of their own jobs, Obama is going to face an intense debate on the issue, especially if the economy sours further.

    Immigration Fears

    And it's not just fear of illegal immigrants that needs to be overcome.

    Marie works in the financial sector in the Northeast and worries about the Asian and Indian workers her company brings legally to the United States to work.

    "I don't understand why we are hiring so many noncitizens when there are unemployed Americans of all ethnic backgrounds in abundance," said Marie, who, fearing reprisals from her boss, asked for anonymity. "When I've been on hiring teams, we do not receive resumes from HR for non-Asian candidates."

    Marie has applied for several new jobs at her company, only to lose out to people from other countries.

    "At least 15 to 20 of them have been brought in over the last year to jobs that would be considered a promotion for me," she said. "It changes the culture of the workplace. I respect diversity and working with different cultures but, basically, the American culture is being replaced with that of a foreign country."

    But supporters of changing immigration law say that Americans have nothing to fear. They say that bringing everybody into legal work would raise wages and working conditions for all Americans.

    "In this economy, it's really important that we do something to help and protect workers and improve workers' rights, and you can't do that as long as you have some 12 million people flying below the radar screen," said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based American Immigration Law Foundation, an educational-charitable nonprofit dedicated to increasing public understanding of immigration law.

    Keeping Jobs

    Johnson understands that many people believe a change in immigration law might push legal citizens out of their jobs, which he said isn't true. He said the illegal immigrants already have jobs.

    "They're working shoulder to shoulder and living next door to U.S. citizens," he said. "When they lose their houses, that affects the houses of their neighbors. If they don't have rights to push back against employers who are looking to take advantage of them in these difficult times, then that affects the workers that are standing right next to them on the assembly line or in the construction industry."

    Johnson said that legal workers pay more taxes, open bank accounts instead of keeping cash under their mattress and apply for credit to make big purchases like cars. All of that would benefit the economy, he said.

    "These folks wield an enormous amount of purchasing power," he said.

    Any debate about immigration is also likely to center on race, and bring up some long-running tensions.

    "There are certainly folks whose opportunities and rights have been ignored long enough that they are assuming that their success depends on somebody else's failure," Johnson said. "But most people in the African-American community, certainly most leaders in the African-American community, know the answers to those problems are not to ask for people to fight for scraps falling off the table. It's to give African-Americans the job opportunities, the job training and the incentives they need to succeed."

    Annette Bernhardt, policy co-director of the New York-based National Employment Law Project, said there are "a lot of ways that our dysfunctional immigration policy hurts people.

    "But one of the most pernicious is how lack of status plays out in the workplace," she said. "It really disempowers workers in their ability to claim their rights because of the fear of the employee retaliation and reporting them to immigration."

    The Path to Citizenship

    Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, a Washington, D.C.-based progressive think-tank and advocacy group that is pushing for change in immigration law, also agreed. He said that letting illegal immigrants move down the path to legal work and citizenship will help all workers.

    "If anything, it will help low-end workers across the country because it would remove the trapdoor under the minimum wage," he said. Right now, these workers are "driving down wages for you. They are creating unfair competition."

    Rosenberg said immigration reform is not going to cause an influx of new immigrants into the country.

    "You against an illegal worker, you lose that fight every time," he said. "The worst possible thing for American workers is to have a vast pool of undocumented immigrants in the United States."

    There are some business owners who say immigration changes would only increase the cost of doing business and drive up prices for all.

    Rosenberg says to them: "I think the idea that we are accepting illegal exploitation of workers to prop up businesses, there's a question as to whether those businesses should be in business in the first place.

    Ultimately, Rosenberg believes that change in immigration law reform would be good for the country, economically and socially.

    "It will take the air out of the balloon of some of the most virulent racism that we've seen in America in generations," he said. "There is publicly sanctioned racism against Hispanic-Americans in this country today in a way that is very unhealthy and morally unacceptable in the age of a bi-racial president."

    Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

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    They need to do something, I have couple of friends who lost their jobs one was affected directly by ownership using illegals another because his job is now overseas.

    Your going to see a little more resentment towards these illegals and it really isn't their fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    Your going to see a little more resentment towards these illegals and it really isn't their fault.
    Yep, Such misdirected anger just leads to more social unrest.

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    They are subject to hate crimes but the people who really should get the blame are the hippocrites who employ them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    They are subject to hate crimes but the people who really should get the blame are the hippocrites who employ them.


    It is not a case of 'immigrants are taking our jobs' it is a case of 'immigrants are being given our jobs by fellow citizens'.

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    I think the illegal immigration problem proves that the trickle-down theory is bunk. In my opinion the cheap labor helped spur the real estate boom, especially in the southwest and now we're in a deep recession after that bubble busted. Artificially low interest rates and screwed up public policy that gave broke people loans are also to blame but the illegal immigration situation didn't help.

    I wouldn't care if illegal immigrants came here and worked for cheap as long as everyone else's job is secure - everyone was an immigrant at one time but you have to look out for citizens before anything. When you have a large influx of immigrants who are accustomed to a lower standard of living (10 people riding in a car, 10 people living in an apartment) they can get by on low wages but if those immigrants are getting jobs, the increased labor supply lowers the demand for higher wages. I have no problem competing with an immigrant as far as work ethic or skills but my standard of living shouldn't have to be lowered from that increase in cheap labor supply. That's how I look at it. Wage inequality and upward mobility is already at an all time high. The last thing we need is a large group of people coming here working for barely anything then sending the money to another country where its invested there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flashinglights View Post

    I wouldn't care if illegal immigrants came here and worked for cheap as long as everyone else's job is secure - everyone was an immigrant at one time but you have to look out for citizens before anything.
    Sounds like nativism to me. Not saying illegals aren't a problem, but if you look at our admittance process to become a U.S. Citizen, it's barely pheasable. Take a look at the test..I don't even know half these questions and I'm an American Citizen.

    Citizen Test Questions

    Some of these are painfully obvious, but some of these..can you really expect anyone to know?
    "I lift because I can.
    I can because I want to.
    I want to because you said I couldn't."

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    I know I set myself up for a few "dumb kid" flames, but if you can honsetly say that you know EVERY question on that list, then not only are you a liar you're just being spiteful.
    "I lift because I can.
    I can because I want to.
    I want to because you said I couldn't."

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    Quote Originally Posted by OuiSwim View Post
    I know I set myself up for a few "dumb kid" flames, but if you can honsetly say that you know EVERY question on that list, then not only are you a liar you're just being spiteful.
    That test is good if you know your history, it's not a physiological test to see if your mentally fit to live here.....besides we are talking about illegals.

    what's your point?

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    I can honestly say it is a huge relief to finally not give a shit about immigration anymore.

    My only issue is they need to bring more of those thick booty Mexican women with them.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    I can honestly say it is a huge relief to finally not give a shit about immigration anymore.

    My only issue is they need to bring more of those thick booty Mexican women with them.
    Why not anymore?

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    Why not anymore?

    Because I work my ass off to try and have something. Those guys are doing the exact same thing, only they are working a lot harder for less money.

    I won't hate someone for doing what is only natural. If there was a country that offered a better financial future than here, I would be on a plane tomorrow. Knowing that about myself changes my opinion of them.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    they need to bring more of those thick booty Mexican women with them.
    Ahha..now I know what kind of man you are, you pervert.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference
    you have never spent the night with a mosquito."
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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    Because I work my ass off to try and have something. Those guys are doing the exact same thing, only they are working a lot harder for less money.

    I won't hate someone for doing what is only natural. If there was a country that offered a better financial future than here, I would be on a plane tomorrow. Knowing that about myself changes my opinion of them.
    So you would enter a country illegally and take away someone else's job at a lesser pay rate which means you also will live in below your standards?

    Call me when they replace you with 3 illegals or ship your job overseas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    So you would enter a country illegally and take away someone else's job at a lesser pay rate which means you also will live in below your standards?

    Call me when they replace you with 3 illegals or ship your job overseas.


    Lol, they can have my shitty job, as a matter of fact, they can have both of my shitty jobs.

    Nobody is fucking me but the politicians and the business owners. It isn't the illegals that are fucking me on a daily basis.

    If you were poor, and willing to work, I know for a fact you would cross the border to work illegally.

    I'm not saying its right either. I'm just saying that my hatred is directed towards my so called elected leaders, not Felipe doing concrete work at a construction site.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Your right. I really didn't mean to put the blame on the illegals.

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