Advancing a Free Society

Who Did the Jobs?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It is repeatedly said by politicians, members of the business community, pro-immigration groups, and think tank thinkers that illegal immigrants (undocumented aliens, unauthorized aliens, unauthorized workers) contribute to the United States because they do the jobs Americans don’t want to do. The current high unemployment and underemployment have not changed their public statements. Doing jobs Americans won’t do is the argument for comprehensive immigration reform, which includes amnesty and a path toward citizenship for the estimated 12 million or so illegal immigrants, disproportionately from Mexico, currently in the United States.

The Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey 2005, reported that 31% of unauthorized workers were employed in service occupations, compared with 16% of native workers. Specific fields were construction and extractive occupations (19%), production, installation, and repair (15%), farming (24%), cleaning (17%), and food preparation (12%), and were a more significant presence within these categories (e.g., butchers, insulation workers, roofers). They are disproportionally present in leisure and hospitality.

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