Kelly Osbourne, daughter of 1970s hippie musician Ozzie Osbourne, whom I never saw or heard perform and who is a reality TV progeny recently observed on “The View:”
“If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”
Some find this observation offensive, objectionable on ethnic grounds because while many illegal aliens are Latino, the vast majority of Latinos are American citizens. Some find it a brilliant macro-economic view.
Even President Obama has expounded that illegal aliens “mow our lawns, make our beds, clean out bedpans.”
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa argued that (though he is not an illegal alien), “We clean your toilets. We clean your hotels. We build your houses.”
Alex Sink (D) who lost a special election to Congress in Florida, posited that the nation needs illegal aliens. Why? Because “where are you going to get people to work to clean out hotel rooms or do our landscaping?”
Many, many people have made similar observations over the long struggle to solve the illegal alien problem which has grown since Ronald Reagan’s total amnesty legalized over 3 million people.
Now enters the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) with observations that there are plenty of Americans willing to do entry-level lowly jobs like dishwashing, busing tables, picking strawberries or avocados, cleaning toilets and making hotel beds.
It says the truth is there is no such thing as a job Americans won’t do. Most Americans mow their own lawns and most Americans clean their own toilets. Census Bureau data shows that of all civilian jobs in our economy, only six small occupational categories are majority immigrant (legal and illegal), and it turns out that even in these occupations, native-born Americans still make up 46 percent of the workers.”
“For example, of maids and housekeepers, 51 percent are native-born. Of butchers and meat processors, 63 percent are native-born. Of construction laborers, 66 percent are native-born. Of janitors, 73 percent native born. There is more detail in our “Are There Really Jobs Americans Won’t Do?” report.”
Is Reality TV character Osbourne correct in her limited view and definition that implies all “Latinos” are illegal? Or is the CIS correct that Americans will do any job, no matter low pay, dirty working conditions, 12 hour days seven days a week on their knees picking strawberries or cleaning toilets and the President’s “bed pans?”
The truth lies in the aforementioned CIS observations such as “51 percent (of maids and housekeepers) are “native born.” That means that 49 percent are foreign born. That really means there aren’t enough Americans willing to do those jobs, despite over 90-million unemployed or partially employed American workers.
Despite vegetarians and vegans in our cities and communes, the CIS reports that 63 percent of “butchers and meat processors” are Americans. Well, that’s not enough. Their own numbers show that 37 percent of meat workers are foreign born. There aren’t enough Americans to process the meat and poultry Americans demand.
Construction workers – 66 percent are native born but that leaves a shortage of 34 percent that is filled by foreign born. Among janitors, 73 percent are native born and 27 percent are foreign born.The CIS torpedoes its own arguments with these figures.
Certainly, there are many Americans who will work at any job. But there are many areas, such as those noted here, where there aren’t enough Americans to fill the demand for workers.
California reports that 850,000 farmworkers toil in California agriculture. 90 percent, nine in ten of them, are from Mexico and over half (550,000) are illegally present in the country. Obviously not many Americans want to work in the fields.
A better observation came from a study by the University of Arizona during the peak of the Arizona construction boom. It concluded that 75 percent of the residential construction force was native born Americans and/or legal residents. The remaining 25 percent were illegal aliens. There weren’t enough Americans willing to work in daily 100-plus degree days to build the houses demanded by Americans.
The study made these observations: Without the 25 percent illegal alien work force supplement, houses would have taken 13 weeks longer to complete and cost people $50,000 more to buy.
Intelligent people can come to these conclusions: No matter how many Americans are out of work, there aren’t enough Americans to fill critical jobs; as long as there is not a viable work permit system for foreign workers, there are serious economic consequences (such as higher-priced houses in Arizona) or higher food prices for all.
GOP presidential candidates Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb Bush have expressed support for a viable work permit program that could solve the problem of illegal aliens. One of these men might very well be the GOP nominee.Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley disagree; so does Donald Trump.
Contreras formerly wrote for Creators Syndicate and the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate; he picked avocados and plums in his teenage years.