Creative Destruction

December 20, 2006

Applicants “Out The Door” In Wake of INS Raid

Filed under: Immigration — Robert @ 5:20 pm

Presented without comment.

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35 Comments »

  1. You don’t need to comment. The implied comment is that these “undocumented workers” are taking jobs that could otherwise be filled by honest, hard-working, apple-pie-eating Americans.

    The unstated assumption is that there is a fixed supply of jobs to be filled either by American citizens or by illegal immigrants.

    I don’t have a strong view on the matter, but I think hidden assumptions ought to be exposed.

    Comment by Daran — December 21, 2006 @ 11:43 am | Reply

  2. Actually, Daran…

    Yeah. That’s just about it.

    Comment by Off Colfax — December 21, 2006 @ 10:25 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t know whether they’re honest, hard-working, or apple pie-eating. I do know that they are Americans, and when some non-Americans were turned out, they came in.

    Comment by Robert — December 21, 2006 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

  4. lets check back in a month. ive worked with people in that industry, and the truth is documented and undocumented alike most people leave meatpacking as soon as possible because of the exceptionally low pay and high risk of injury and death, of not because of actual injury.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 22, 2006 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  5. I don’t know whether they’re honest, hard-working, or apple pie-eating. I do know that they are Americans, and when some non-Americans were turned out, they came in.

    Evasion noted.

    Comment by Daran — December 22, 2006 @ 2:21 am | Reply

  6. What did I evade?

    Your unstated assumption is economically stupid. I’m not economically stupid, I know that’s crap. Since I don’t hold the opinion you ascribe to me, I don’t feel a need to defend it.

    Comment by Robert — December 22, 2006 @ 2:23 am | Reply

  7. Your unstated assumption is economically stupid. I’m not economically stupid, I know that’s crap. Since I don’t hold the opinion you ascribe to me, I don’t feel a need to defend it.

    That’s one of the advantages of having unstated assumptions: They don’t have to make any sense. Nevertheless, once you dispense with that assumption, the stated argument: “when some non-Americans were turned out, they came in.” loses its force.

    Comment by Daran — December 22, 2006 @ 6:49 am | Reply

  8. Another important fact in this story, left out of both your post and the article you link to is that the deported workers were union members and the “replacement workers” are not. Hopefully they will join up, but things like this are designed to make creating good jobs harder.

    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12297

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 22, 2006 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  9. the stated argument: “when some non-Americans were turned out, they came in.” loses its force.

    No, it doesn’t.

    Comment by Robert — December 22, 2006 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  10. Here‘s another one out of Georgia along the same lines as the Rocky story.

    [Turn Signal: McGehee]

    Comment by Off Colfax — December 22, 2006 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  11. Bravo, ICE, bravo….

    Comment by ebbtide — December 22, 2006 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  12. The unstated assumption is that there is a fixed supply of jobs to be filled either by American citizens or by illegal immigrants.

    No, the point I thought he was making was simply that there were Americans willing to do these jobs, contradicitng the claim that these are jobs that “Americans won’t do,” and thus illegal (or greatly increased legal) immigration is a necessity.

    Comment by Glaivester — December 27, 2006 @ 12:32 am | Reply

  13. Correct.

    Comment by Robert — December 27, 2006 @ 2:38 am | Reply

  14. Except that it doesn’t show that Americans will do these jobs, only that Americans will apply for these jobs.

    Comment by Daran — December 27, 2006 @ 4:10 am | Reply

  15. A distinction without much difference, Daran.

    Comment by Robert — December 27, 2006 @ 5:33 am | Reply

  16. It’s a huge difference. If every American recruit packs it in within the week, then there’s no indication that Americans are willing to do the job.

    Comment by Daran — December 27, 2006 @ 6:23 am | Reply

  17. Yes, well, let me know if that happens.

    I don’t know what it’s like over there in Dolesville, but here in the States people work. When someone applies for a job, it generally means they want that job.

    (Ugh! We Americans! Superior to Europeans! Make better fire!)

    Comment by Robert — December 27, 2006 @ 6:26 am | Reply

  18. I don’t know what it’s like over there in Dolesville, but here in the States people work. When someone applies for a job, it generally means they want that job.

    It’s the same over here, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily want the job two weeks later.

    Look it’s a simple point. Whether illegal immigration is good, bad, or indifferent to the job prospects of citizens is an essentially empirical claim. Arguing about it on purely theological grounds isn’t going to persuade anyone to change their minds. You need to make an in-depth, empirically based argument.

    Here’s a link I just stumbled across recently which looks relevent. This isn’t a topic which really interests me, so I’ve given it only the most cursory examination. It does, however, appear to contradict your position. Why don’t you take a look at it with a view to explaining (a) why it’s wrong, or (b) why it’s conclusions don’t apply to the US?

    Comment by Daran — January 6, 2007 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  19. It doesn’t apply to the US for reasons that the speech authors themselves note: your country isn’t growing internally, while ours is:

    “According to official estimates published by the Office for National Statistics, the UK
    population grew by just 8.2% between 1971 and 2006, from 55.9 million to 60.5 million.
    In contrast, the United States population grew by 44.6% over the same period…”

    Comment by Robert — January 6, 2007 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  20. Why is that a problem? Are you running out of space over there?

    Comment by Daran — January 6, 2007 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  21. No. We’re running out of challenging and viable jobs for the members of our society who are less educable than average.

    We have oodles of jobs for software engineers and doctors – send all of those you can spare. But the software engineers and doctors only have so much time in the day to eat at Taco Bell and only so many lawns that need landscaping and only so many pools to maintain. Service workers, we have enough of; keep those, please.

    Comment by Robert — January 6, 2007 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  22. I know what you believe, Robert. Post some empirical evidence that your beliefs are true.

    Comment by Daran — January 6, 2007 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

  23. curiousgyrl,

    Another important fact in this story, left out of both your post and the article you link to is that the deported workers were union members and the “replacement workers” are not.

    Good linked article there. The original article is essentially a fairytale version presumably propaganda aimed at the Republican base. So despite obviously targeting the unions too this seems an in-house Republican battle between the outright racist xenophobes and the big business bunch, as to what to do about immigrants.

    Neat solution. Bush magnifies the fairytale of comming down hard on immigrants and pushes the ludicrous idea that immigrants are behind identity theft. He uses selective mass arrests to punish unions and employers who don’t sign up for his immigrant “reforms”. He gets to look tough on immigration when he obviously can’t afford to be because all his “have mores” won’t hear of it.

    If Republicans believed the crap they say are their key principles they would look at this story and see that American famillies are being broken up. American children separated from their non-US parents and put into government care. Instead they talk about jobs. Unions are being busted and the people who love to screw the worker (Republicans) are pretending to be concerned because of jobs!!! Of course the real job issue with immigrants is that if you have a pool of labour that have reduced human rights that in effect brings everone down to their level by competition. If Republicans were really bothered they would demand that the bosses of these companies get imprisoned or that immigrants get more rights to the point where an employer wouldn’t benefit from employing an illegal because the illegal would have to be paid the same as an American and have the same rights.

    I find it amazing that Americans are so unaware of how few worker rights they have. Essentially as one of the founding fathers said, America is run by those who own it. The rest of you aren’t so much citizens as serfs.

    Comment by DavidByron — January 7, 2007 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  24. Daran:
    Post some empirical evidence that your beliefs are true.

    My “beliefs” are values, Daran. We don’t usually have empirical evidence that our values are true. I believe that it’s better for the working poor to get a higher wage than a lower one, all else being equal. I can’t prove it.

    If you want me to prove that reducing the population of low-skill workers will, generally, exert a positive wage pressure on low skill jobs, I’ll refer you to Econ 101.

    David:
    I find it amazing that Americans are so unaware of how few worker rights they have.

    I think most of us are pretty well aware of the ground rules our economy works under, David. Those of us with a little bit of economic sophistication are aware that “worker rights” translate into unrecoverable costs to employers, making everyone less employable. We’ll take our entrepreneurial and dynamic economy over the European model of worker’s paradise (for those folks who actually can find a job) most any day.

    There is, in fact, a conflict within the Republican party between corporate interests, who like having low-skill wages at an artificially depressed level, and cultural traditionalists like myself who are content with America’s status quo demographic balance and don’t see a pressing need to change it – certainly not for a “benefit” as transient and as mixed as having low-wage folks available for employment.

    Comment by Robert — January 7, 2007 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  25. I’m glad this thread is still going a little–DB, your points are well taken.

    Daran–the problem I have with the “these are jobs Americans dont want” argument is that it makes American workers sound fat, happy and lazy, when in reality, these are jobs that nobody wants, but some are forced to take by the severity of their circumstance. These jobs pay 5-8$/hr, involve repetitive serious physical strain, excedeingly high risk of death or maiming, and usually assaults on basic dignity. (Some meatpackers I once knew had as their primary complaint–despite forced overtime, majory limbs being chopped off, etc,–that they were not allowed to go to the bathroom during thier shift, occasionally resulting in workers who had soiled themselves being forced to continue working or face firing/deportation.)

    Americans and immigrants all want jobs, but fair, decent jobs.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — January 7, 2007 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  26. Those of us with a little bit of economic sophistication

    A very little bit, if by “us” you mean conservatives. 😛

    … are aware that “worker rights” translate into unrecoverable costs to employers, making everyone less employable. We’ll take our entrepreneurial and dynamic economy over the European model of worker’s paradise (for those folks who actually can find a job) most any day.

    Unemployment rates for 2005:

    Netherlands 4.7%
    U.K. 4.8%
    Denmark 4.8%
    USA 5.1%

    Some are higher, of course – Spain is around 9%, Germany around 8%, iirc. Nonetheless, it’s clearly not the case that strong worker’s rights must come with high unemployment rates.

    Not everything in the world fits onto the simplistic supply/demand charts covered in Econ 101. Labor economics, in particular, is much more complex than most conservatives tend to acknowledge.

    Comment by Ampersand — January 9, 2007 @ 6:36 am | Reply

  27. Don’t the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and so on have substantial social programs for nonworking people that cause those folks to not be considered “unemployed”?

    In other words, I’m not sure that you’re comparing like to like.

    But I’ll concede that labor economics are complex, and sometimes simple principles don’t show up in the data. Doesn’t always mean the simple principles are wrong, of course.

    Comment by Robert — January 9, 2007 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  28. I think I am comparing like to like; the problem is, “unemployment” doesn’t mean what you think it should mean. The unemployment rate is the percentage of a country’s labor force that has no job but is looking for work.

    What you’re saying is that people who stay out of the workforce longer than they otherwise would because of social programs, should be counted as if they were in the workforce and working.

    But that’s an arbitrary standard; why should “social program workforce leavers” be counted as if they were part of the workforce, but other folks not in the workforce — folks who would make the US’s measured unemployment rate appear higher — not be counted?

    For instance, the USA has a significantly larger percentage of its population in prison than any other wealthy nation — and it’s safe to guess that the prison population, were it not in prison, would be a population with far above average unemployment. Shouldn’t they count against the US’s total?

    Next, in the US you’re counted as employed even if you’re looking for work and the only work you found in the last month week was two hours doing yardwork for ten bucks. Other countries would count that sort of worker as unemployed.

    Also, the US doesn’t count “discouraged workers” — workers who would like to work, but who have given up on looking for work because they don’t believe they can find a job — as part of the workforce. Many other countries count their discouraged workers.

    Plus, we’d have to adjust for age differences (retired people aren’t part of the workforce, so even if we counted folks being supported by social transfer programs as part of the workforce, retired folks on social transfer programs shouldn’t be counted). Etc, etc..

    On the whole, I think it makes sense to just compare unemployment rate to unemployment rate, and keep in mind that these are rough measures. I think it’s safe to say it’s approximately as easy to find a job in Denmark as it is to find a job in the USA. Exactly what causes these conditions is more complex to say.

    Comment by Ampersand — January 10, 2007 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  29. I could be incorrect in this assumption, but I believe US unemployment statistics are that percentage of people who are in the active process of drawing unemployment insurance, rather than all those who are looking for work.

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 10, 2007 @ 2:01 am | Reply

  30. Off Colfax;

    I could be wrong too, but I think unemployment insurance has nothing to do wiht it. You are unemployed if you are actively looking, and there might be some kind of time limit, but I’m not sure. AmP?

    Comment by curiousgyrl — January 10, 2007 @ 2:33 am | Reply

  31. With all due respect, you’re mistaken, Off Colfax. Unemployment Insurance has nothing to do with calculating the unemployment rate. And Curiousgyrl, there is no time limit; as long as you’ve actively looked for work sometime in the past four weeks (not one week, as I said in my previous comment), you count as unemployed.

    From the Bureau of Labor Statistics website:

    Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Actively looking for work may consist of any of the following activities:

    * Contacting:
    An employer directly or having a job interview;
    A public or private employment agency;
    Friends or relatives;
    A school or university employment center;
    * Sending out resumes or filling out applications;
    * Placing or answering advertisements;
    * Checking union or professional registers; or
    * Some other means of active job search.

    Passive methods of jobsearch do not result in jobseekers actually contacting potential employers, and therefore are not acceptable for classifying persons as unemployed. These would include such things as attending a job training program or course or merely reading the want ads.

    You can follow the link for more details about definition and data-gathering (for instance, people on sick leave or vacation from a job are not counted as unemployed). But it really does all nutshell down to this: An unemployed person is someone who has no paying job but is actively looking for work.

    Comment by Ampersand — January 10, 2007 @ 3:46 am | Reply

  32. So in other words, from reading through that page, the unemployment statistic is about as useful and comprehensive of an economic indicator as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 10, 2007 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  33. Hey, now. The DJIA is extremely useful. It tells you what the stupid investors are going to do tomorrow.

    Comment by Robert — January 10, 2007 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  34. The Department of Labor in the same survey as the unemployment survey (which has a sample size to die for), also separately collects data about discouraged workers, which consists of people who aren’t employed, but aren’t counted as unemployed because they have determined that it would be hopeless to try to find a job at the moment.

    Unemployment insurance data is pretty worthless, because many people who are unemployed (including anyone who receives a severance package of any consequence) don’t seek unemployment benefits.

    The other useful figure to enhance unemployment data is data collected by the Department of Labor from firms on the total number of people employed in the country, which can be compared to population data to get an employment percentage. This is more easily directly comparable to foreign statistics, because it is a much less subtle concept than unemployment.

    The downside of employment percentages as opposed to unemployment percentages is that unemployment is unequivocally bad, while employment percentages could be good (more jobs) or bad (people working when they should be able to retire or stay home with children or pursue further education).

    Comment by ohwilleke — January 10, 2007 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  35. You’re quite right about the data, ohwilleke. In domestic politics, it’s useful because we can compare similar kinds of garbage; the errors more or less cancel themselves out, because the same problems exist in both data sets. Less useful for international.

    To test what I’ve asserted – that “worker rights” translate into unrecoverable costs and reduce employment – I would opine that the ideal piece of information to have would be the time it takes to find a job for a new graduate of a particular employer-accessible educational level, work history, and intellectual attainment.

    Comment by Robert — January 10, 2007 @ 7:21 pm | Reply


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