View From Lodi, CA:  Illegals Only Take Jobs That Unemployed Americans Used to Have

A former student, who I`ll call Miguel, stopped by
last week to share some good news.

He told me he had just gotten a job on a construction
crew earning $22 an hour. Miguel receives full benefits,
too.

Miguel was one of the best students I ever had. He
came to class every night and studied hard. Although it
was a struggle for him, Miguel always made an effort to

speak English.
And his hard work paid off. Today,
Miguel`s English is pretty good.

After he first arrived in the United States, Miguel
worked in the

fields.
Then he was hired at the

cannery
and worked the swing and graveyard shifts.
But Miguel always wanted more and now he`s found it.

If it weren`t for the fact that Miguel entered the
U.S. illegally, I wouldn`t have one bad thing to say
about him.

Now that an amnesty for illegal aliens is back on
Bush administration`s front burner, you`ll be reading
story after story about how illegal immigrants only

take jobs Americans don`t want.
This falsehood has
been written so often that it goes unchallenged.

But with the country knee deep in pink slips, no one
can convince me that Miguel`s job isn`t coveted.
Thousands of the 800,000 Americans who lost
their jobs in the last two months would be happy to earn
$22 an hour.

What makes Miguel`s story so timely is the AFL-CIO

vote
to support President Bush`s amnesty plan. For
the first time in its 46-year history, the federation
adopted amnesty as its official policy.

Even the Teamsters union, which

opposes Mexican truckers
delivering goods in the
U.S. because it knows American drivers will lose jobs,
backed amnesty.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeny

said
, “We are now a beacon of hope to millions of
workers who`ve come to our country seeking a better
life.”

But AFL-CIO spokeswoman Kathy Roeder revealed the
sub-rosa reason for the endorsement. Said Ms. Roeder,
“We`re always looking for opportunities for people to
join unions. That`s our number one reason for working
with immigrants.”

Union membership has been steadily declining over the
last decade. The union share of the American work force
fell to 13.5% last year, the lowest in more than a
quarter of a century.

The unions need members to survive. What better pool
of prospective new members than the

millions of illegal aliens
who have come to the U.S.
during the last decade?

But when Ms. Roeder claims that there is no evidence
that “immigrants take away American jobs,” she is
spouting the company line.

All across America, illegal immigrants are doing jobs
once held by Americans.

My student, Miguel, has a job once done by an
American. For decades, hotel, restaurant and janitorial
jobs were entry-level jobs held by black Americans.

And while some might discount the significance of a
janitorial job, such positions were eagerly pursued as
recently as the early 1980s. In his book,

The Case Against Immigration,”
Roy Beck wrote that
in the period from 1945 to 1980, janitors earned
excellent wages because of their strong union. But in
the early 1980s, when an abundant supply of immigrant
workers became available, non-union firms hired them at
half the going wage. Now, you rarely see a black hotel
or restaurant worker.

Meatpacking is another job that Americans supposedly
“won`t do.” But author Eric Schlosser, whose recent

“Fast Food Nation”
had a long run on the

New York Times
best seller list, wrote that 20
years ago jobs in

packing plants
were among the most well paid and
highest skilled in America.

What happened? In an

interview
with “The Atlantic” Schlosser provided the
answer:

Until the late 1970s, meatpacking was one of the
highest paid industrial jobs in the United States. And
then the Reagan and Bush administrations stood aside
and allowed the meatpacking industry to bust unions,
to hire strike breakers and scabs, to not only hire
illegal immigrants but to transport them here from
Mexico in company buses.

The result said Schlosser is that meatpacking is now
one of the country`s lowest paying and most dangerous
jobs. [VDARE.COM NOTE: The
Centers for Disease Control has been forced to provide
Spanish

translations
of all its worker safety posters, since
there is no longer a reasonable expectation that workers
can read and write English.]

And, more ominously, Schlosser claims that while
we`ve had a migrant agricultural workforce for over a
century, we are now developing a migrant industrial
workforce.

For the AFL-CIO to embrace amnesty can only mean
disaster for America`s

blue-collar wage earners.
As we saw in the late
1980s,

amnesty begets more immigration
. And new waves of
immigrants will always be willing to work for less
money.

As long as the job market has an inexhaustible supply
of cheap labor, wages will remain stagnant. And the
low-skilled native workers who are replaced by
immigrants with equally limited skills have few places
to turn.

As Bush`s amnesty plan moves relentlessly forward,
newspaper stories will be chock full of sentences like
this one:

An unprecedented coalition of labor and business
has joined the rising chorus of voices across America
who want to regularize millions of undocumented
workers. These workers, who do jobs Americans refuse
to do, are a vital cog in our economic machine.

Read as follows:

Labor, desperate for new members, has added
itself to a growing list of institutions across
America that support amnesty to illegal aliens for its
own narrow interests. The list includes but is not
limited to craven politicians, greedy businesses big
and small, universities and the mainstream media. Such
an amnesty would insure the never-ending flow of
low-skilled, poorly educated workers. Through the laws
of supply and demand, these new workers will continue
to replace American workers.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.