Hurricane Harvey’s vicious winds and historic floods had barely begun to abate before the cry went up: “Who will rebuild Houston?”
Calling illegal aliens “key” to Texas’s recovery, the Washington Post and other open-borders opportunists repeated the mantra that foreign imports are needed to do the work that needs to be done.
Be careful what you wish for.
The post-hurricane clamor for unskilled and semi-skilled laborers from south of the border is an eerie refrain. It’s an extension of the ongoing replacement of native workers, including subsequent generations of legal immigrants, with newly arrived illegal aliens.
Long before Harvey hit, two large Houston area businesses were charged by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with discriminatory hiring practices that favored illegal aliens. In both instances, the companies gave preference to Spanish speakers, even though the job duties did not require Spanish. A bakery settled its EEOC case for $1 million; charges against a local manufacturer are pending.
Now the construction trades in Texas, flanked by craven politicians, say imported workers (with papers or not) must be enlisted to do the heavy lifting after Harvey.
Growing dependence on illegal workers – typically cheap, marginally skilled and highly transient – has been destabilizing the lower rungs of the labor ladder for some time. Native workforce participation in that category is at low ebb precisely because the ranks of low-wage immigrants are at record highs.
Dependence on even more illegal labor comes with dangerous socio-economic costs. “This system threatens to create a politically and economically untenable cycle for lower-wage workers,” concludes a new report, “Low-Skill Immigration: A Case for Restriction.”
Policymakers in Washington, D.C., must shift course, too. Enforcing border security and shutting down the flow of low-skill immigration are essential to getting displaced Americans back to work.
Instead of pounding this country’s most vulnerable workers with still more illegal labor, reconstruction contractors in Houston must hire U.S. citizens, and pay them accordingly.
Otherwise, what’s really being built here?