Article Ignores Illegal Immigration As a Cause of Poverty

Title: Poverty Rate among Hispanics in Nebraska Soars. Article: “Poverty experts and advocates for the Hispanic community offer a variety of reasons for the trend: the Great recession and its aftermath; falling wages in the state’s meat packing industry and in other low-wage jobs; changes in the family structure of Hispanic households, including more single-parent homes: and the legal and social marginalization of Hispanics who migrated here illegally. – Omaha Herald, 1/4/15.

Fact Check: This article strives to manipulate sympathy for poor Hispanics, many of them illegal aliens, while artfully dodging the connection between their problems and unchecked illegal immigration. The article displays a picture of a cute child who lives in poverty and describes a poor family barely making ends meet. It notes that poverty among Hispanic households in the Omaha metro area increased from 16.9 percent in 2000 to 27.6 percent in the latest census statistics.

Lack of jobs doesn’t appear to be significant cause. Nebraska’s unemployment rate, at 3.1 percent, is far lower than the national average of 5.8 percent. But as the article notes many jobs, including those in the meat packing industry, pay low wages. The article offers no explanation as to why. Significantly, as recently as the 1980s, meat-packing commonly provided its workers middle-class incomes. The workers were native-born citizens, many of them were union members.

What happened? Basically, the meat packing companies discovered illegal immigration as a means of obtaining a cheap labor workforce. By the economic law of supply and demand, more available workers mean lower wages. The unions lost their bargaining power, and working conditions declined along with the salaries. Thanks to illegal immigration, American workers lost the opportunity for decent employment in the meat packing industry.

But the downward spiral didn’t stop there. The unending flow of illegal immigration keeps pushing down wages for illegal immigrants themselves. The article does cite Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation who points out the relationship between illegal immigration and the poverty of illegal immigrants. But if he said anything about the source of poverty being wage suppression, the article didn’t report it.

Instead it focused on other supposed causes of poverty, one being the claim that deportations of illegal aliens left their families without breadwinners. But this hardly can account for poverty substantially rising since 2000. Half of that time, under the Obama Administration, deportations have sharply declined (here and here). For a long time the administration tried to hide this reality by claiming “record deportations,” but it did so by padding deportation figures with numbers of illegal aliens apprehended and expelled at the border. In any case, deportations—to the extent they happen—help maintain wage levels. And wage levels are the heart of the issue.
Illegal immigration is basically a process of impoverishing workers in order to enrich the wealthy who profit from cheap labor.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here