11 May 2005

Valley Hispanic boycott called a success

Yesterday was pronounced Day Without Hispanics by Arizona Hispanic leaders to protest recent actions by the state legislature.
Several restaurants, carwashes, construction companies and golf courses reported higher absenteeism. Some, such as Baja Fresh Downtown, closed for the day. Lombardi's Restaurant at Arizona Center limited its menu to salads and pastas because of a reduced kitchen crew.

Some roofing companies were crippled by the boycott. An office worker who answered the phone at Catalina Roofing and Supply in Phoenix said none of the company's 160 roofers showed up for work Tuesday.

At San Tan Roofing and Superstition Carpentry in Gilbert, half of the company's 150 roofers and 400 of its 700 framers didn't show up for work, Chief Financial Officer William McGlothlin said. Ninety percent of the company's workforce is Hispanic.

Some of my thoughts on illegal immigration, no doubt repeated from past missives…

  • I have no sympathy for employers who rely upon illegal aliens for their labor force composition. This is where the problem could be really nipped in the bud, if punitive measures were taken against those who provide the greatest incentive for illegal immigration. Until such actions are taken, no other proposed solution will have any significant effect. The argument that my company must hire illegals because the competition does holds no sway with me, as I believe one must always choose the ethical road.

  • I am opposed to any guest worker proposals, as any such programs will in effect render a whole class of people as sub-humans, not entitled to the same rights as Americans, which is totally un-American in my belief. Sure, it will be dressed up in euphemistic wrappers, but bottom line is it will be the equivalent of legalized indentured servitude, with little recourse for those who are on the receiving end of employer abuse and injustice. Not being accorded official "citizen" status should not translate to victim of abuse, or even preferential worker over American citizen.

  • The notion of a huge economic impact due to the curtailment of illegal immigration is total nonsense. The scare mongering that lettuce will cost $10 a head is ridiculous, and recent labor protests have illustrated this clearly — tomato gatherers for Taco Bell recently received double wages after a successful public relations campaign, yet the contract firm was barely dented in their inbound profit flow. Tennis shoes have a raw production cost of a dollar, but they are sold to Americans for $50 and greater. Labor costs amount to a very small sliver of the pie, in just about all fields of commerce and industry.

  • If there is truly a need to import more workers, then fast track provisions should be implemented to allot more legal immigration resulting in more American citizens. Such arguments should undergo critical scrutiny, as employers will always argue that there is a shortage of workers, when they actually mean there is a "shortage of workers willing to work at the wages they are offering".

  • Nothing happens in a vacuum. Illegal immigration brings undesireable elements that accompany honest, hard working folks. It causes deterioration to neighborhoods and a strain on already impacted community resources. Basically, it's a form of corporate welfare where employer receives benefits of a captive labor force whilst other Arizonans must pay (or suffer) for additional services rendered, be it police, school, hospital, park, city or whatever. The most critical of these unintended consequences, is the lowered security and danger introduced to Arizonans.

  • The buck stops with the Bush administration, and simply, they are reneging on their obligation to secure the borders and have turned a blind eye to the problem. But it probably would be no different under a Gore or Kerry administration either, as both parties refuse to address an issue that many Americans feel should be on top of the priority list.

I rarely agree with conservative columnist Thomas Sowell, but this column by him lays out some truths, even if I disagree with his points about a "living wage". He glosses over the natural phenomenon that wages tend to sink to just above subsistence level, and that for many illegal aliens, subsistence level is a mark well below that of an American worker, as there is acceptance of dormitory living and the meager leftover wages are sent back to Mexico, where the dollar goes a lot further.


i am a 17 year old who goes to Mount Vernon High School. i went to protest on friday with alot of my friends. now since all of us left scool their trying to give up in time out from 2:30 to 6:30. this ain't fair almst none of us agree with the disapline because we have the right to protest it's the first amendment:freedom of speech... also were doing the jobs that americans don't wan to do and that's why they should keep us latinos here. if we don't do theses jobs then their won't be no houses,buildings,and Mc Donalds either. when do you see an american working at Mc Donalds??? never!

You have the right to protest, but you also have the responsibility to attend school and do your work, and along with the right to protest and your responsibility, you also must take the repercussions of leaving school early and "make up" for the time the TAX PAYERS pay for you to attend school.

I do not agree with the amount of my money the government takes in taxes, yet still I pay them, why, because it's the Law. Rules are made for a reason, we may not agree with them, but we all MUST abide by them.

As for the work American's won't do...I guess it depends on where you live, where I live hispanics and other races are all doing the same work. I have seen only one hispanic at Mcdonalds, and there are about 5 Mcdonalds in my area alone, not including the whole city.

I believe, People will do whatever work they have to, IF THEY ARE WILLING to work at all, that goes for white, black, brown, red, yellow, green, or purple.

Remember if we are to be willing to stand for an issue, we have to be willing to accept ANY outcome, good or bad that comes because of our stand.
Vanessa -

Just a little friendly advice, here: Pay a bit more attention in Spelling and Grammar, and a little less attention to your classmates who convince you to ditch school and go protest instead.

17 years old, huh? [head shaking]
Vanessa –
Hey there baby girl. I understand you are frustrated and feel angry. Maybe you even feel unappreciated but I suggest you hold your head up high and you keep yourself in school. If you truly believe in your heart, that what you did was right in terms of the walk out, then be proud of what you did and accept what ever punishment the school gives out.

Personally, I would prefer to see you in school along with all your Latino classmates, because the media is using you guys to portray us in a very negative light and that does not help the cause or the message the adults are trying to send; however, what I would like you to do is protest by hitting the books hard. I would like for you to go to college and I would like for you to graduate with a college degree, for ultimately that will be the only way you can disarm those who want us to fail. Remember that knowledge is power and if you get yourself a college degree, no one can ever take that way from you.

Also don’t lose hope. This country is full of wonderful people. Be proud of your heritage and be proud to live in this wonderful country. If you really want to make a difference among your classmates, grab a whole bunch of voter registration cards from the post office and pass them out in school. I suspect most of you will be turning 18 and that means you guys will be able to vote in the upcoming elections. If you have any questions, I am here to help.

Take it easy baby girl and stay strong.
I found this synopsis from the National Academy of Science, under a book called The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. I believe the authors are: James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston. I am still doing research and I will share details as I find them.

Here you go!

Overall U.S. Economy Gains From Immigration,
But It's Costly to Some States and Localities

WASHINGTON -- Immigration benefits the U.S. economy overall and has little negative effect on the income and job opportunities of most native-born Americans, says a new report* by a panel of the National Research Council. Only in areas with high concentrations of low-skilled, low-paid immigrants are state and local taxpayers paying more on average to support the publicly funded services that these immigrants use.

"Immigrants may be adding as much as $10 billion to the economy each year," said panel chair James P. Smith, senior economist at RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Calif. "It's true that some Americans are now paying more taxes because of immigration, and native-born Americans without high school educations have seen their wages fall slightly because of the competition sparked by lower-skilled, newly arrived immigrants. But the vast majority of Americans are enjoying a healthier economy as the result of the increased supply of labor and lower prices that result from immigration."

The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, a congressionally appointed body, asked the Research Council to examine the effects of immigration on the national economy, on government revenues and spending, and on the future size and makeup of the nation's population. It was not asked to make policy recommendations.

Each year about 800,000 people immigrate legally to the United States. In addition, between 200,000 and 300,000 new illegal immigrants stay in the country each year. In 1990, 43 percent of immigrants came from Latin America and the Caribbean, 26 percent were from Canada and Europe, 25 percent were from Asia, and 6 percent were from other countries.

Immigrant labor allows many goods and services to be produced more cheaply, and provides the work force for some businesses that otherwise could not exist. For example, immigration has helped build and maintain America's textile and agricultural industries. Other businesses that employ many immigrants -- such as restaurants and domestic household services -- would not exist on the same scale without immigrant workers, the panel said.

Most immigrants work in specialized sectors of the economy such as the manufacturing and service industries, and compete primarily for jobs with each other and with Americans who don't hold high school diplomas. Through this competition, in fact, the wages of these native-born Americans may have fallen some 5 percent over the past 15 years. Yet even in local labor markets with high numbers of new immigrants, overall job opportunities and wages for the native-born are not significantly affected by immigration. The effects may be minor because natives who compete directly with immigrants may be moving to other areas, and because immigration brings overall economic benefits to most Americans.

Costs to Taxpayers

The majority of America's immigrants live in six states: California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. Using data from California and New Jersey, the panel estimated how much immigrant households -- those headed by foreign-born people -- cost state and local taxpayers. This was calculated by subtracting the costs of services those households use -- such as public education, police and fire, welfare, and public health -- from the amount of taxes they pay on an annual basis. These estimates were made before new laws eliminated welfare benefits for legal immigrants who are not U.S. citizens.

In California, where many new immigrants live, each native household is paying about $1,178 a year in state and local taxes to cover services used by immigrant households, the panel said. In New Jersey, which has a more established immigrant population, the calculation is about $232 a year. However, annual estimates of immigrants' impact on state and local taxpayers may be inflated and should not be used to predict the long-term costs of admitting new immigrants, the panel said. These calculations do not indicate how much immigrants and their children will pay in taxes or how they will use public services over their lifetimes.

On an annual basis, new immigrant families receive more in publicly funded services than they pay in taxes, the panel said. Most -- especially those from Latin America -- tend to have more school-aged children and require more educational services than other households. Although immigrants use about the same level of government services as native-born residents, most immigrants pay less taxes because they own less property and have lower-paying jobs.

The panel's long-term estimates indicate that on a national level, the majority of new immigrants and their descendants will add more to government coffers than they receive over their lifetimes. The positive fiscal effects of immigration at the federal level are shared equally by all residents across the nation. However, residents of a few states such as California -- with high numbers of new immigrants -- will bear long-term costs that are concentrated at the state and local level of government.

Immigrants and their children will bring long-term benefits for most U.S. taxpayers because -- like most Americans -- immigrants use more publicly funded services in childhood and old age, but they make positive contributions as working adults. In addition, the majority of immigrants pay taxes and add revenue for some services -- such as national defense and interest on the federal debt -- for which they do not impose costs.

The long-term fiscal contributions that immigrants make, however, will vary depending on such factors as education and age of arrival to the United States. Immigrants with higher levels of education will pay more taxes in the long term because they have higher incomes. But immigrants who don't have high school educations and those who are age 50 or older on arrival may receive more benefits than they pay in taxes.

Immigrant Jobs and Wages

The wage gap between new immigrants and native workers has grown rapidly in recent decades, the panel said. In 1990, for example, recently arrived male immigrants were paid 32 percent less than native workers; in 1970, new immigrants' wages were 17 percent less. New female immigrants make 22 percent less than native-born women, a gap that has grown by 10 percent since 1970. This wage gap is growing mainly because more recent immigrants -- many of whom are from poor countries in Latin America -- have much lower education and skill levels than most Americans.

New immigrants are more than twice as likely as Americans not to have a high school degree, the panel said. More than one in three new immigrants have not completed high school. As a result, a disproportionate number of immigrants hold the lowest paying jobs in restaurants for instance, or in domestic positions. In 1990, almost half of all new immigrants earned among the lowest wages in the United States.

Historically, the wages of immigrants who entered the country when they were 25 or younger eventually equaled those of native workers after immigrants had been in the work force for about 20 years. However, because new immigrants are coming to the United States with substantially lower education and skill levels and are starting with lower wages, it be may more difficult for them to close the wage gap. In particular, most Mexican male immigrants, who make among the lowest initial wages, have not seen any increase in wages relative to those of native workers even after 20 years in the U.S. work force.

Population Effects

If immigration continues at its present level, the U.S. population will grow to 387 million people by 2050 -- 124 million more than today, the panel said. Immigration would account for about two-thirds of this growth. Under current immigration policy, 26 percent of Americans will be of Hispanic ancestry, growing from 27 million to 85 million by the year 2050. About 8 percent will be of Asian heritage, increasing from 9 million to 34 million. In addition, the boundaries between distinct ethnic groups will become increasingly blurred through intermarriage.

Regardless of immigration policy, the number of older people in the U.S. population will continue to grow. The population of the United States age 65 or older is expected to double by the year 2050. Immigration will also increase the number of children in the population, the panel said. Under current levels of immigration, the number of children in kindergarten through eighth grade will increase by 17 million -- from 36.8 million to 53.7 million -- by the year 2050. If the number of immigrants entering the United States were increased by half, the school-age population would grow by 7 percent, the U.S. population over age 65 would increase by about 5 percent, and the number of people older than age 85 would be unchanged.

The study was funded by the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, non-profit institution that provides independent advice on science and technology issues under a congressional charter. A committee roster follows.

*Pre-publication copies of The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration are available from the National Academy Press at the mailing address in the letterhead; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. The cost of the report is $55.00 (prepaid) plus shipping charges of $4.00 for the first copy and $.50 for each additional copy. Reporters may obtain pre-publication copies from the Office of News and Public Information at the letterhead address (contacts listed above).
Very good posts Cal, I hope this young lady stays politically active, and always is willing to stand behind her convictions, I commend her actions, even if I do not agree with her in every aspect. I do agree with her on some and I think Americans in general need to try and come together on the things we agree on, and then perhaps it would be easier and less hurtful when we try to resolve the issues we are not in agreement on.
For a 17 year old, Vanessa's writing skills demonstrate that she should stay in school and learn her English and leave the protesting to others

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