General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

Would Americans do the jobs that undocumented workers do now?

Asked by YARNLADY (45876points) January 23rd, 2021

I’ve known college students, under educated people (high school drop-out) and teens who did that kind of work but were displaced by undocumented. I see many people begging for odd jobs

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12 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Possibly in urban areas, but in agricultural areas – many place in the Midwest, as well as California, Alabama, Georgia – Americans have not opted to fill the jobs usually done by undocumented workers.

Apple pickers, cotton processors – almost anything that requires physical labor and a lot of bending – are simply not appealing to students and lower income people. The other thing about agricultural workers is that they will work in one place and then move as a group north or south to the next place where picking is done. They often live in their cars, or in group lodgings for the short time they are there.

The bottom line is that the undocumented do play a role in the US economy and our food supply.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I live in an agricultural area, crops have been left in the fields because of Trump’s action against “Brown Skinned” people Even legal people didn’t want to be hassled by ICE.

JLoon's avatar


Surveys continue to show most Americans reject job opportunities in the hard, dirty, and often dangerous work categories that immigrants are hired to perform at or below minimum wage :

kritiper's avatar

No. Americans have become so lazy as not to take good paying jobs when those jobs were available, even when Americans needed jobs.
For example: There were apples in Washington state that needed picking and the grower was paying $10.00 per hour. But there were no American takers.

YARNLADY's avatar

@elbanditoroso good answer, the mobility factor is often overlooked.

cookieman's avatar

Not in my experience.

I worked at a farm for four years as their marketing and web design guy. Every day, a couple of vans pulled up at 4AM full of Hispanic, undocumented workers (men and women) who busted their ass in the fields, in all sorts of weather, 10-hours/day, six days a week.

Meanwhile, local high school students worked in the farm stand, as cashiers and baggers.

During the busy season, those students were offered the opportunity to make extra money working the fields. None of them would ever say ‘yes’.

Get up at 4AM? Work outdoors? Get wet and dirty? Fuck no. Don’t you see we’re white?!

mazingerz88's avatar

My friend had a white guy as an 8 hour caregiver. Only lasted a month. His initially warm behaviour towards my friend turned mean.

Probably couldn’t deal with being asked to do lots of things that were daily routine like wiping fecal matter and cleaning bed pans etc. The pay was 15 an hour.

hello321's avatar

The problem with a question like this is that it’s difficult to remove the compensation variable from the mix. We phrase the questions as though we’re just evaluating the work itself, and come to the conclusion that only undocumented workers would to the work, therefore “Americans” are lazy, etc.

The problem is, these jobs that are filled by undocumented workers are essential and underpaid precisely because the there is a segment of the population that has been intentionally criminalized. Their hyper-exploitation is critical.

So, yes – you can look at a single mom of 3 who was born in the US and is desperate for work who would turn down such an opportunity. Why? Because she can’t afford to do it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

OF COURSE they would do the jobs. If undocumented workers disappeared, would there be no more farms? Would the hotels, motels do without maids? Would the restaurants all close down? No dishes washed in diners? Don’t be silly. Who did those jobs BEFORE the deluge of undocumented? And what policies of ours may be responsible for forcing these people to leave their own lands?

cookieman's avatar

@stanleybmanly: Yes, “If undocumented workers disappeared” is they key scenario though, which is not reality. Even then, I’m pretty sure it would not be a seamless transition, without much gnashing of teeth. And, you can bet the wages would be higher and the working conditions would be better if Americans were forced to do these jobs.

LostInParadise's avatar

There is a price for everything. If offered enough money, there will be people willing to do the work. It is just a matter of whether the higher salary demands would make the cost of the items or services uncompetitive with foreign imports.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@cookieman exactly right. That’s the whole point. Poor people compelled to compete with poorer people for scraps. And that is the REAL reason why the undocumented are going to be with us a looong time. Anything guaranteed to depress wages is impossible to resist.

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