Too often is it stated, as if it is common knowledge, that Americans aren’t willing to work the same jobs that immigrants work, especially jobs that illegal immigrants work. The public is supposed to believe that without this constant inflow of low skill, low wage labor, the economy and overall labor force would collapse. A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies corrects this proposition once and for all. Americans are in fact willing to work, and do work, any and every job.
The CIS correctly stipulates that, “If immigrants ‘do jobs that Americans won’t do’, we should be able to identify occupations in which the workers are nearly all foreign-born.” However, a look into the, “474 separate occupations defined by the Department of Commerce, we find only a handful of majority-immigrant occupations, and none completely dominated by immigrants (legal or illegal). Furthermore, in none of the 474 occupations do illegal immigrants constitute a majority of workers.”
In all, there are only 6 of the 474 occupations that employ a slim majority of immigrants over native born Americans. Despite the substantial incentives that employers have had for decades to hire immigrants over Americans, “native-born Americans still comprise 46 percent of workers in these (six) occupations.” These are the handful of hundreds of occupations where immigrants are vastly over-represented. It is difficult to believe that these occupations would remain majority immigrant if employer incentives were stripped from questionable Americans-last hiring practices.
Overall, “these six occupations account for 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce.” A closer look at stereotypical immigrant and illegal immigrant occupations further enlightens how Americans are in fact willing to roll up their sleeves no matter the job.
Maids and housekeepers: 51 percent native-born
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 54 percent native-born
Grounds maintenance workers: 66 percent native-born
Construction laborers: 65 percent native-born
Janitors: 73 percent native-born
Anyone who thinks Americans hold their chin too high for a hard day’s labor needs to take a closer look at the numbers. Americans work every occupation with the same grit that built this country in the first place. It is unfortunate, but yet expected, that those very Americans that fill these ranks of the labor force are often the ones that suffer due to their widespread neglect.
Through greed of employers, special interest groups, lobbyists, and congressmen that toe the line, the working class American has largely been pushed aside for the sake of deeper pockets up the ranks. “Natives tend to have high unemployment in high-immigrant occupations, averaging 9.8 percent during the 2012-2016 period, compared to 5.6 percent in the rest of the labor force. There were a total of 1.8 million unemployed native-born Americans in high-immigrant occupations.”
The size of this group of Americans is substantial, and not just older laborers from a previous era that are soon to leave the industry. “The stereotype that native-born workers in high-immigrant occupations are mostly older, with few young natives willing to do such work, is largely inaccurate. In fact, 34 percent of natives in high-immigrant occupations are age 30 or younger, compared to 29 percent of natives in the rest of labor force.”
America once was nothing but a hope and a dream. It was built from scratch by the sweat of the American brow. This American grit still exists in large quantities, as unpopular of an idea this is in the political sphere. Perhaps this truth will once again be realized and cherished by the very representatives that are supposed to cater towards the interests of these long forgotten citizens. However, it remains perhaps just as likely that this truth will continue to be shoved back into the shelves of history where it is preferred.