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16 Jul, 2010 22:29

Are illegal immigrants really taking American jobs

Under the hot Southern California sun immigrant workers are picking the foods consumed by millions of Americans and people around the world.

It's a back breaking job not everyone's fit to do.

Most of these immigrant workers arrived in the United States illegally, some as far as Central America.

And many are oblivious to the political firestorm centered around them.

This is about lawful citizens versus illegal invaders,” said conservative radio host Tony Katz. “If you want to build a 50 foot fence, I’m in favor of the 50 foot fence.”

There’s 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, those can be American jobs, those could be taxpaying jobs,” said Erik Spence, the founder of WeSupportArizona.com.

But some industries, especially California’s agriculture businesses, don’t want Americans working for them.

“Se solicitan trabajadores,” which translates to workers needed; this Spanish language sign is purposely aimed at immigrant workers – a foreign born workforce making sure these strawberries make it to your table.

There's no need for interviews or long applications.Undocumented immigrants simply show up at a field and they’re hired.

Many people, including former US President George W. Bush, admit immigrant workers do the jobs Americans refuse to do.

At a farm in Oxnard, a city just north of Los Angeles, laborers aren't convinced the average American could step in their shoes – not even for a day.

It’s too hard right now for a white person it’s too hard,” said Ricardo Romero.

No e visto a ninguno aqui trabajando en el fil. (I haven’t seen any Americans here, working in the field),” said Sergio Guerrero.

Sergio Guerrero came into this country illegally through the Southern California desert. He makes a $1.90 for every box of strawberries he fills.

And now in an effort to employ out-of-work Americans and obviously to prove a point, the United Farm Workers Union is inviting American citizens to take the jobs of these farm workers.

I wouldn’t be surprised if after a day or two, they may find themselves appreciating the people who are taking their jobs,” said Roman Pinal, a United Farm Workers Organizer.

When asked whether or not they would take a farm working jobs, many at the unemployment office said no.

No because I don’t even do gardening at my own house,” said Wendy Mendoza, an unemployed American.

If I had a job that got me some exercise with no heavy lifting and would pay more than 11 dollars an hour I would take it, but I doubt it, it usually involves a lot of heavy lifting and doesn’t pay much,” said Lynn Boom.

They’re farmers and they’re willing to pay slave labor of course they have an advantage,” said Katz.

Katz is among the growing number of supporters for an immigration crackdown.

He thinks the threat to the US isn’t just financial.

This is about people coming over with diseases that we’ve already eradicated, bringing them back into the US,” said Katz.

America has paid a significant price because of illegal immigration,” said Spence

Spence thinks Americans will take the job of a farm worker, because an American will do what it takes to feed their family.

However, according to the United Farm Workers, so far only three people have taken up their offer to take immigrant jobs.

Despite sharp opposition to the Arizona Immigration Law here in Los Angeles, activist Erik Spence hopes to buy a huge billboard ad right here in the heart of L.A. that says we support Arizona.

A huge sign that this tension is far from over.

John Romano, a conservative political writer, argued that the jobs have already been taken. Debates over farm workers and wages are merely a small aspect of the overall picture because there is evidence of wage deflation due to illegal immigrant workers taking jobs in the construction and trades industries, he added.

Immigration and civil rights activist Rev. Graylan Hagler argued that immigrants have become a scapegoat for those worried about unemployment.

The reason folks are unemployed is because of the way the economic system was structured, wasn’t regulated, fell apart, fell apart in the US, falling apart in Europe,” said Hagler.

Hagler blames capitalism, corporations, and free trade agreements like NAFTA for the loss of jobs and blames racism for America’s anti-immigrant sentiment over the years.