Roy Beck's picture


  by  Roy Beck

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that hundreds of Black Americans at Chicago's Cloverhill Bakery are employed today because the federal government drove illegal aliens from the jobs.

But wait, that story can't be true because that would be evidence that foreign workers take jobs from Americans. And most of the journalists, think tankers and professors with economics degrees that are quoted in the media say immigrants don't take jobs from -- or lower the wages of -- Americans.

Most speak and write with the absolute certainty of the Washington Post's Heather Long this week when she ridiculed Sen. Tom Cotton for suggesting that lowering immigration levels would help American workers. She wrote:

"Typically, people who favor restricting immigration look to the past and present, arguing that immigrants have taken the jobs of low-skill Americans or depressed their wages. There is almost no evidence to support such a claim."

Almost no evidence. Since Long is a Rhodes Scholar with an economics degree from Oxford, she must be right; all those Americans who are working at the Chicago bakery can't possibly be more real that whatever economic theory Long and her ilk cling to.

Yet, under Pres. Bush, Pres. Obama and Pres. Trump, when ICE has put the squeeze on companies employing illegal aliens, American workers line up to take the suddenly open jobs. This looks like flesh and blood "evidence" to me that those foreign workers have in fact been "taking jobs" from American workers.

Here's what the Sun-Times reported this week:

A major bakery on the Northwest Side once known for making Little Debbie snack cakes was sold earlier this month after an immigration audit cost the company about a third of its workers.

About 800 employees of the main Cloverhill Bakery on the Northwest Side and the company's bakeries in Cicero and Romeoville lost their jobs when the audit found many were hired after presenting fake or stolen IDs.

For years, the company had used a temp hiring agency which provided many illegal workers from Mexico.

During the Obama Administration, ICE audited the company, leading the Trump Administration last year to send letters to about 800 employees telling them they lacked the right to work in the U.S.

Those Hispanic employees didn't return to work, leaving the bakery desperate to fill their jobs.

So the company turned to another placement agency, Metro Staff Inc., and it provided Cloverhill with workers screened through the government's "E-Verification" program.

Most of those new employees are African American.

Some community organizers have tried to turn this story into one in which ICE is pitting African-Americans against Hispanics. But the issue has been one of illegal foreign workers vs. legal American workers. Race and ethnicity should have nothing to do with this, although one suspects that the employers were engaged in the common preference of employers across America for foreign-born workers of any race over recruiting and hiring Black American workers.

The Sun-Times reports that Black American workers are the ones who called a government hotline to instigate the audit that led to the foreign workers leaving their jobs. Black American workers had complained that it was difficult working at the bakery when even their supervisors were not conversant in English.

The Chicago bakery example is just one of many that shows that workplace immigration enforcement and lower immigration levels would be a huge benefit to Black Americans, the segment of the population with the lowest workforce participation rate.

Outlaw businesses across America that have been discriminating against Americans of all races would probably have to pay higher wages once they no longer had such a huge supply of foreign workers.

According to a former consultant to the bakery, MSI paid the black workers $14 an hour, versus the $10 an hour the Mexican workers were making through Labor Network.

I believe the most important task for the more than 8 million members of the NumbersUSA network in the next few weeks is to pound home the message to Members of Congress that the top goal of any immigration legislation must be the reduction in the number of foreign workers being added to the labor force each year.

There are huge communities of Americans across the country who are not participating in and benefiting from the wage-earning economy. The Chicago bakery story shows us how quickly American lives can be turned around when the number of foreign workers competing for jobs is reduced.

Let's not let go of the fact that EVIDENCE is on our side of the debate.

-- ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

Updated: Mon, Mar 12th 2018 @ 10:40am EDT

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