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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Economic Reality

NPR posted an article on the "Economic Reality of Tough Immigration Laws", discussing the Alabama Anti-Immigration Laws. Tagged on this article was a radio story, from which I took notes.

Justice. Rights. Protection of borders.

Who has the right to be in this country?

Focus question: Can the US economy really function without undocumented workers?

In order to make a profit, businesses focus on working, employment rates and consistency in the work force.  With respect to undocumented workers, employers can pay less and hire more which helps the business in terms of productivity.

The Alabama state reform has made it harder for an employer to hire undocumented workers and the Federal government is raising the legal atmosphere at the border and work sites.

NPR made an interesting point, conservatives wish for a "smaller government" yet by controlling the illegal immigration situation in the states, there is a larger government - tightly controlled borders.

This program was discussing a tomato farm that employs illegal immigrants.  Would legal citizens work on farms and do heavy labor that undocumented workers would do?

Traditionally, illegal Mexicans bring a very high work ethic and culture. They are in shape and are accustomed to heavy labor.  This can't be said about a traditional legal citizen... Usually, not willing to participate in extreme labor.  The story mentioned that this tomato farm employed some legal citizens.  They were going to hire a set amount, but only 1 or 2 of the applicants showed up.  The productivity decreased as a result of documented workers participating in the labor.

Some may say that illegal immigrants bring "unskilled labor", but in reality it is specialized labor.

If employers were to employe legal citizens, these documented workers would expect a higher pay.  If an employer pays more for labor, the consumers pay more for tomatoes.  This small change in cost will affect the productivity and profit all the way down the chain of operations.

NPR also noted that illegal immigration employment acceptance depends on the economic status and recovery: If the demand for labor is higher, politicians get softer on illegal employment.

I think NPR and the tomato workers of Alabama bring up valid points in this radio story. There would be drastic economic affects if undocumented workers were completely taken out of the picture. Productivity would decrease, prices would go up, grocery stores would have to charge more. The immigrants choice to come to the US and work is usually for bettering their family.  Undocumented workers tend to not be as picky as US workers because they know what the American "Rock Bottom" is, and they've seen worse conditions.  If they can  have a consistent source of income, provide for their family, and work, they aren't picky. 

I would like to research what the effects are of undocumented workers not paying taxes or receiving any of benefits to protect them if they were to get harmed on the job. There is a large number of illegal immigrants working; if they were all to pay income taxes, what would happen with our economy? 

To Read More: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/08/141183030/can-the-u-s-economy-really-function-without-undocumented-workers

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