Illegal immigrants in this country are threatening a massive boycott on May 1, purportedly to demonstrate they are so essential that the U.S. economy would shut down without their labor. On the contrary, such a boycott will expose the lie expressed by President George W. Bush in Cancun, Mexico, that they are "doing work that Americans will not do."
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, illegal immigrants make up less than 5 percent of the U.S. labor force. If every one of the 20 million illegal aliens in our country plays hooky from his job on May 1, the overwhelming majority of those same types of jobs will be worked by millions of U.S. citizens.
All over America, U.S. citizens will flip hamburgers in fast-food shops, wash dishes in restaurants, change sheets in hotels, mow lawns, trim shrubs, pick produce, drive taxis, replace roofs on houses, and do all kinds of construction work. Americans are quite willing to work unpleasant, menial, tiresome and risky jobs, but not for Third World wages.
An employment service in Mobile, Ala., recently received an "urgent request" to fill 270 job openings from contractors who were hired to rebuild and clear areas of Alabama devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The agency immediately sent 70 laborers and construction workers to three job sites.
After two weeks on the job, the men were fired by employers who told them "the Mexicans had arrived" and were willing to work for lower wages. The U.S. citizens had been promised $10 an hour, but the employers preferred Mexicans who would work for less. Employment agency manager Linda Swope told The Washington Times: "When they told the guys they would not be needed, they actually cried ... and we cried with them. This is a shame."
Swope said that employment agencies throughout Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi all face similar problems because an estimated 30,000 men from Mexico and Central and South America, many in crowded buses and trucks, came into those three states after Hurricane Katrina, willing to work for less than whatever was paid to U.S. citizens.
Meanwhile, President Bush signed the Katrina Emergency Assistance Act extending for 13 weeks the unemployment benefits to U.S. citizens displaced by Katrina. Thus employers get the benefit of cheap foreign labor while you and I provide taxpayer handouts to workers whom the government allowed to be displaced from the jobs they were eager to take.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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