Immigrants And Dirty Jobs

Posted by | November 12, 2011 09:43 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

A fascinating dynamic is unfolding in Alabama where the state enacted the most restrictive immigration legislation in the country.  Employers are furious and it’s approaching an economic crisis.

It’s a common complaint in this part of Alabama. A few miles down the road, Chad Smith and a few other farmers sit on chairs outside J&J Farms, venting about their changed fortunes. Smith, 22, says his 85 acres of tomatoes are only partly picked because 30 of the 35 migrant workers who had been with him for years left when the law went into effect. The state’s efforts to help him and other farmers attract Americans are a joke, as far as he is concerned. “Oh, I tried to hire them,” Smith says. “I put a radio ad out—out of Birmingham. About 15 to 20 people showed up, and most of them quit. They couldn’t work fast enough to make the money they thought they could make, so they just quit.”

The way this is unfolding is a strong counterargument to the canard that immigrants are “stealing American jobs.”  Many of them are taking jobs that Americans don’t want.  This means that the cost of strict immigration standards is business solvency.  Anti-immigration means anti-business and anti-free enterprise.  Republicans will have to choose between two of their constituencies.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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