In past years, when debates about illegal immigration arose, many proponents of amnesty legislation argued that Americans were simply not prepared to work the jobs traditionally held by migrant workers. Jobs like dishwashers, cooks, lawn mowing and construction often require hard work and provide little pay with no benefits. The argument has been that Americans who grew up around video games, internet coffee shops and those that acquired Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in college were simply not interested in menial labor paying minimum wage.
As the economic crisis has deepened, however, with official unemployment / underemployment hovering around 17% and in excess of 43 million individuals in the US on government food assistance, the job paradigm we’ve become so accustomed to over the last several decades is rapidly shifting.
When the Pei Wei chain of restaurants in Arizona was recently raided by immigration officials, the company was forced to shut down several locations because they didn’t have enough legally employed staff members to operate. In turn, the company quickly posted advertisements and held a job fair to fill the positions left empty by illegal immigrants.
What happened next is real world evidence for those arguing that no one in America would work the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs in our society.
One job seeker and Pei Wei applicant, a former business owner with a master’s degree, shows us just how desperate of a situation those without jobs are in, and how far they are willing to go to put food on the table:
I feel bad for those people losing their jobs, but if it means I get one then I am really happy that Sheriff Joe did what he did and I’ll send him a thank you letter.
I’ve got a family to feed.
It [8 dollars an hour] is better than zero dollars an hour.
If I weren’t so old, I’d consider doing yards for people.
Easy money, credit and the perception of boom times are giving way to reality.
People have no choice but to take whatever they can get. Americans in large and ever growing numbers are willing to work long hours in physically demanding jobs for very little pay.
Hat tip Market Ticker