Where will we be without hard working laborers?

I read an article a few weeks ago about the agriculture industry in Britain.  I am still thinking about it.  Farmers used to drive to certain locations to pick up some day laborers to help work the land be it picking or planting the crops.  With Brexit, it appears that those laborers have disappeared.  Instead of seeing a group waiting to be picked up for a paid day of work, nobody shows up.  Those farmers are losing money by the minute without the day laborers to help them.

There is a slew of jobs in this country filled by hard working day laborers.  Many of those workers are people who have come from other countries to better their lives for themselves and their families.  Those jobs are anything from cleaning people to farm laborers to taxi drivers to moving people.  Their services are invaluable.

The US is a country of immigrants.  What happens when the immigrants who have been around for 200 plus years decide immigrants are no longer allowed here even though they are an immigrant themselves.  Hundreds of years of a reputation as a place where people can go and succeed if they work hard with an ability to better themselves and their families changes over the course of one administration.  Is that possible?

Then what happens if people across the globe decide to not come here anymore?  Who fills all those jobs? Maybe some of them will be filled with by robots but many of them won’t be.  Those jobs will sit vacant and create havoc on the economy as these workers always spend money and pay taxes.  To all of those who are for this type of policy, be careful what you wish for.  Look and see what is happening in Britain and it isn’t pretty.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    As somehow who grew up with a a grandfather who worked as a factory worker with pride his whole life, i get this.We are best when diverse in every variation of the world.Thanks for pounding this drum with such purpose and passion.You are right. This is important. And it made me think of my Pop on this freezing, snowing NY morning.http://arnoldwaldstein.com/

  2. pointsnfigures

    The immigration system in America is pretty broken. It’s how we go about fixing it. Blockchain could be the solution. http://pointsandfigures.com… Another side note, in America we have government programs that pay people NOT to work. I hate to sound like Mr. Potter in A Wonderful Life, but perhaps those programs should be amended and people incentivized to move to where the jobs are. (My grandparents were not educated and moved across the country for work in the 30s and 40s).

  3. Polyana

    i don’t comment much on here, but as a female entrepreneur (who also enjoys cooking and love your recipes!), i respect your words and work so much! this post especially moved me because i WAS an immigrant myself. my parents moved to the united states when i was 2 years old. my father’s worked in any hard labor job you can think of, and my mother works in cleaning – having some of the same clients for over 20 years now. but by the time i graduated from college (i had the rare opportunity to be undocumented and gotten a full ride to a private college), my father’s long awaited green card still hadn’t been approved, and i was no longer qualified to be a part of his process, and there was nothing for dreamers at the time (2007). so i left.i moved back to my home country, in Brazil – and 10 years later, i’m now here building a business and creating jobs in my own country. as much as i’d love to have pursued a career in the US, and i’d hate to say this, because it is a country that has given my family so much opportunity, i’d like more “me’s” to happen, more laborers AND educated people to leave and start businesses in their own countries, so that maybe policy makers and those opposed to immigration can see for themselves, what they’re missing! that being said, my statement is also utopic in a sense – in many cases, i know many wouldn’t have the same option i do – i’m blessed to have been born in a country that as bad as it is sometimes, is still relatively safe, with business opportunities, and not somewhere war torn or experiencing extreme poverty.anyway, apologies for the rant – just wanted to say i appreciated this post, especially since i’d already respected you and your work so much 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      Let’s hope move people who do return to their home countries are making a difference like you.Comment more!!

      1. JLM

        .Kind of interesting to see how far your blog impacts people. Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  4. Anne Libby

    Universities in the US are already starting to see the effects of people not wanting to come here.And, government officials telling people to have more babies is a bit chilling: http://www.newsweek.com/pau

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is scary.

    2. JLM

      .Contrary to what the recent NYT article suggests, total college enrollment between 2010 and 2015 has been trending downward for students of all genders, ethnicities, and countries of origin.Think about it for a second — we had a Hell of a recession, right? No surprise there, right?The National Center for Education Statistics projects that trend reverses itself in 2018 and trends upward at the same rate as before the recession. No surprise there, right? Recession over, ship rights itself.https://nces.ed.gov/program…The NYT seems to not understand that applications for admission in 2017 were presented in Sep-Oct 2016 before President Trump was elected. At that time, it was a given that Hillary R Clinton would be President.President Trump’s rhetoric and policies may have some impact in classes which matriculate in September of 2018.Sidepoint: There were about 17,000 student visas from the seven countries impacted by the temporary travel ban. Student visas, as a class of visas, are not the target of the travel ban. The largest number, by far, of student visas impacted was from Iran. Iran and the US had already been at odds long before Pres Trump became President.Not a single existing student visa has been impacted by the travel ban. It is on new visas only.Foreign students — classified as “out of state” by big state institutions — historically apply earlier than any other segment of applicants. I was on the board of a university and the foreign student apps were in on the first week of open application. Why? Because a foreign student has to have a student visa (F/J-1) to be admitted. That process takes a long time.The rate of applications at the best schools in America are trending higher and have been even through the recession. The acceptance rates of the best schools in America still reflect a harsh reality — the schools take a very small fraction of their applicants. The demand far outstrips the supply.One other impact is that community colleges in the US are on a roll. Places like Austin Community College enroll 60,00 + students. This is important because two years at ACC is directly transferable to other schools in the state. In ATX, we have the Univ of TX (51,000), TX State (39,000), St Ed’s (5,000), Concordia Lutheran, Baylor extension, TX A & M extension, and on it goes.There are a lot of schools which are in a state of flux. If a smallish private school offers a course of study which is adopted or increased at a big — read “cheaper” – state school, the money/tuition is going to drive the student body in that direction.Foreign students are more likely to be paying full tuition, sometimes 2X. They are price sensitive. You see this at schools like the University of Texas which is still a comparative bargain for out-of-state tuition compared to private schools like Baylor or Rice.I doubt anything will decrease the desire to obtain a US based education.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. JLM

    .The US has two excellent programs whereby business can avail themselves legally of short term workers.H2-A is for temporary agricultural workers who may stay for up to 12 months on a specific job.H2-B is for temporary non-agricultural workers under identical conditions.In places like the Rio Grande Valley, these programs are entrenched and have been working for years. An employer has to advertise for American workers with a specific methodology and can fill any unfilled positions with H2-A workers.Practically, there are agencies which handle the recruitment, transport in Mexico. You call an agent and say, “I need 100 men/women to pick oranges for 90 days.” The agent takes care of everything else. He charges the employers and the Mexicans a fee for the jobs.When these workers arrive, they are paid just like any American.There has been a battle going for years in which organizations like the American Farm Workers have been trying to get money as “union dues” from these workers. They, of course, provide no services to the workers.As one would expect, many of the guest workers overstay their authorization and wander the country.The Dems have been trying to obtain green card status and a path to citizenship for these temporary workers. The H2-A/B programs are not immigration programs, but guest worker programs, which is a huge distinction.A new bill introduced by a Republican will extend the time period from 12 to 18 months. It will pass. There are two other bills which will impact this.The H2-B workers are primarily hospitality workers and you will bump into them at ski resorts and coastal resorts. These workers come from all over the world.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  6. JLM

    .The US has a fairly broken legal immigration program which is likely to get some attention this year. Long overdue.Legal immigration has some horrific abuses such as “chain migration” whereby a legal immigrant can “sponsor” a network of real or imagined relatives to come to the US. It has always escaped me why the US would want to admit somebody’s cousin, but that is where we are currently.Illegal immigration is a crime. If you doubt this, try to immigrate illegally into, say, Mexico. You will spend 5 years in jail if you are apprehended inside Mexico without papers.Day labor hiring points are primarily illegal immigrants, but there are some legals amongst them. In places like Austin, Texas, there are well known locations. I used to own a property in which the City of Austin gave me permission to provide shelter, bathrooms, hot water showers to a labor point run by the Catholic Church. After it was operating for years, the city closed it down with no reason.Contractors drive by in a pickup and hire day labor. I started a little construction company to undertake tenant improvements in my buildings when I was a developer. I was having a hard time getting fair pricing for my tenants. The GM used to hire day laborers for demolition and clean up. It was all legal with the laborer filling out the DOL paperwork and the company withholding taxes. Of course, the laborers often had a pocket full of social security cards.Unscrupulous contractors pay in cash and bargain with the workers. They try to pay substandard wages. This is illegal for all involved, but it goes on all the time.When I was helping a guy with a project, I went over and hired a couple of rock masons. You look for guys who have tools, dusty jeans, scuffed up boots, hard hands, measuring tapes, and know the ratio of sand to lime to cement to make mortar. Our stone is limestone, so you need “soft” mortar, thus the lime.At the time, a rock mason was making $20/hr and I insisted the guy pay them the same. He paid in cash and used them for about a month. Worked out fine. From that job, these two guys must have gotten ten other jobs in the neighborhood building rock walls. They did incredible work. Art, really.Most day laborers don’t have transportation. The second they can buy a truck, they can go find work by themselves.Nobody in Texas begrudges these men making a living thusly, but Texas has had its own peace with illegal workers for a century. In Texas, it is the drugs, crime, gangs, violence which raise the hackles about illegal immigration.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…