And so this morning as the wind whipped, the NY Times posted an article that made a lie of the argument that illegal immigrants do not drive down (or stagnate) wages.
TAR HEEL, N.C. — Last November, immigration officials began a crackdown at Smithfield Foods’s giant slaughterhouse here, eventually arresting 21 illegal immigrants at the plant and rousting others from their trailers in the middle of the night.
Since then, more than 1,100 Hispanic workers have left the 5,200-employee hog-butchering plant, the world’s largest, leaving it struggling to find, train and keep replacements.
Now what was the economic result of the arrest of just 21 illegal immigrants?
Some companies have reluctantly raised wages to attract new workers following raids at their plants.
After several hundred immigrant employees at its plant in Stillmore, Ga., were arrested, Crider Poultry began recruiting Hmong workers from Minnesota, hiring men from a nearby homeless mission and providing free van transportation to many workers.
So far, Smithfield has largely replaced the Hispanics with American workers, who often leave poorly paid jobs for higher wages at the plant here. But the turnover rate for new workers — many find the work grueling and the smell awful — is twice what it was when Hispanics dominated the work force.
Wait a minute!! Are we saying that homeless people got jobs?? You mean companies found means to transport workers to plants? The frickin' sky is falling!!
Oh and what's this? rising wages? Say it ain't so!!!!
Fannie Worley, a longtime resident of Dillon, S.C., a largely African-American town of sagging trailers and ramshackle bungalows, quit her $5.25-an-hour, part-time job making beds at a Days Inn motel four months ago to take a $10.75-an-hour job at Smithfield. But Ms. Worley remains ambivalent.
Hold up!! WHOAAAAAH. You mean that wages rose enough to the point that this particular person (and no doubt others) can now make twice what she was making? Why then were the wages so low in the first place then? I'm not scapegoating illegal immigrants at all. I've been very clear that my problem is with the businessses that bring 'em in in order to avoid dealing with the local market. It's greedy plain and simple. We who have studied American history know full well that slavery was abolished not because of some grand humanitarian streak but because slavery was uneconomical. Having free labour running around depresses wages for everyone else trying to make a living.
Now the rest of the article goes on to discuss the high turnover of local employees and the like. I'm not entirely concerned about that since high turnover happens when people feel they aren't compensated enough for the work they are doing or feel they have better prospects elsewhere or are simply lazy. But as the so called free market people like to say. Let the market work it out. What I didn't see noted in the article though, was that with the wages rising the immigrants who are there legally are likely benefitting economically from the crackdown since it is entirely possible that they are seeing higher wages themselves. But don't expect to see a discussion of that at all.
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