Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pitting Worker Against Worker

Once we admit there is a problem, must we back draconian, Arizona-like measures against illegal immigrants? On the contrary. If illegal immigrants did not need to fear discovery, the small grocers would not be able to pay them illegally low wages.

By Moshe Adler,Truthdig
April 30, 2010

All that is wrong with our immigration and labor policies—for the two cannot be separated—is on full display in New York City, where it plays out every day in the city’s small grocery stores. Virtually all of the workers in these stores are undocumented Latin American immigrants. Yet in the adjacent supermarkets, the same jobs are held by American-born workers of all colors. The usual excuse that these are jobs that “Americans won’t do” obviously doesn’t apply. What is the explanation then?

In 2002, then-New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer discovered the answer: The small grocery stores pay their workers about half the minimum wage. [...]

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