As a Black man, I am offended with what has or hasn't been done about this problem that has existed for more than 25 years. Now, after 25 years of neglect, we are suggesting solutions that are going to do nothing but socially, economically, and politically injure every other ethnic group except Latinos.
Illegal immigration, in large part, is why our schools and hospitals stay overcrowded and poorly serve our community; it's the reason why blue collar wages stay flat, and the reason why many African Americans can no longer find employment in the many areas of construction and other trades.
My grandmother worked as a housekeeper for the Century Plaza Hotel for 28 years before she retired in 1988. Because illegal immigrants now hold these positions, the wages haven't kept up with inflation. If my grandmother were of working age today, she would've have never been able to afford to work there. My grandfather used to pick Bing cherries back in the 40's and 50's. Do you think he would be able to support a family with what they pay those workers today? Although these are extreme cases, many African American men and women now face this dilemma.
Young men who learned carpentry, framing, and roofing are now replaced by illegal immigrant day workers. Electricians and contractors, who used to win bids on certain jobs, now lose business because they are underbid (if that's a word) by contractors who hire illegal immigrants and keep their costs low.
I remember hearing a report that Vicente Fox said that illegal immigrants have a strong work ethic and did work that "even Blacks wouldn't do". While many of our Black leaders expressed outrage, they did so for the wrong reasons. Today, 30% of all construction man hours are performed by illegal immigrants. The fastest growing occupation among illegal immigrants is plumbing. Workers for electrician contractors are growingly becoming occupied by illegal immigrants. Landscapers and tree trimmers are also a favorite among illegal immigrants.
I could remember, as recently as 10 years ago, how we used to claim that there was good money in becoming a plumber, electrician, construction worker, and landscaper. However, these jobs are increasingly becoming a non-option for us.
I remember reading how newly free slaves enjoyed a period of making great livings from the trades they used to perform while they were slaves. They did such great work as slaves, that many business owners continued using them because they did great work at a great price. The Davis-Bacon Act required a certain prevailing wage for certain occupations. As a result, those Black workers were displaced and we never really fully recovered, economically, from that piece of legislation.
A few generations later, many of us are being displaced again, this time by the same types of white men that displaced us in the past. The new law they are enacting this time (immigration reform) will have the same, damaging result.