The Conundrum of Lesser-Skilled Immigrants and American-Born Workers Competing for Jobs

Law Firm Newswire



Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) Otober 7, 2015 – Immigration reform has many benefits for the country as a whole, including how it would positively affect worker’s wages. However, there is an argument that unskilled immigrants compete with unskilled American workers for jobs.

Either way that argument is worked, the issue remains the same. Without immigration reform and the implementation of significant, substantial changes, no one benefits to any great degree and the country remains at a standstill with millions of undocumented immigrants living in the shadows.

“This is, at best, a murky area as many American born workers do not want to work at seasonal jobs in the agricultural sector,” said respected Houston, Texas, immigration attorney, Annie Banerjee. “Farmers across the U.S. scramble every year to fill their needed quota of workers, but in the ever shifting quicksand of immigration reform, they often fall far short of having enough workers to take off the crops.”

The reality for all Americans is that fewer crops drive up market prices. Fewer workers often mean longer hours and inadequate pay. It is not so much a matter of who is in the worst position with regard to wages, but who actually wants to do this type of work. Reality says immigrants want the work. While immigration reform is still up in the air, finding field workers remains exceedingly difficult — a fact that impacts not just the farmers, but everyone who puts food on the table every day.

The real question may be what impact, if any, is there of unauthorized immigration on unskilled Americans. The question is more complex on examination than it appears to be. The simple answer is that if undocumented, unauthorized and deportable workers are underpaid and live in fear of complaining about wages, U.S. workers possibly competing for similar positions also face depressed wages.

This is not just theory. The Broken Laws Report (2009) revealed that 84 percent of full-time workers did not receive time-and-a-half overtime pay for logging more than 40 hours a week, and 37 percent of unauthorized workers were not paid proper wages according federal law. Due to their unauthorized status, they could not complain or sue for unpaid wages or receive an increase. If migrant workers are being paid low wages and nothing is done about it, Americans who work the fields have no bargaining power to get higher wages.

“The core of this issue is not migrant workers or even American-born workers. It is employers. It is the crushingly poor wage scale and often deplorable working conditions,” said Banerjee.

What could turn the situation around? If Congress actually passes immigration reform allowing all undocumented immigrants to attain citizenship and receive rights, then wage standards, working standards and other workplace issues may stand a chance of being resolved, thanks to a level playing field.

Learn more at Law Offices of Annie Banerjee 131 Brooks Street, Suite #300 Sugar Land, Texas 77478 Phone: (281) 242-9139