2003 August 02 Saturday
Foreign Workers Increasingly Brought In To Replace American Workers

The Mercedes plant in Vance Alabama is using imported Polish workers working on B1 visas as a cheaper source of labor to install painting equipment.

Eisenmann has done work for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., but used local labor. The difference this time: The company says new technology requires specialized workers from Transsystem and Gregorec, which helped develop the process for assembling the paint system.

The Polish men themselves and union leaders like Donaldson and Karczynski, who have seen their work, say it is not specialized and could be done by Americans.

"I paint, I cut," a Polish worker said. "I do everything an assembler has to do."

An industry insider also said installing paint shops is not complicated.

The employers of Nantucket Massachusetts use H2B visas to bring workers up from the Caribbean to do work that formerly provided jobs for college students.

The face of Nantucket's summer workforce gradually shifted starting in the late 1980s. No more do Ivy League college students bus tables or check in guests at the downtown inns. Middle-aged immigrants, imported from Jamaica and El Salvador, have stepped into those jobs - their complexions highlighting the disparity between the island's haves and have-nots.

The employers offer the standard argument that American workers just don't have the work ethic and how the foreigners work harder. But it is all about cost. Foreign workers from poor countries will work for less. There are now also 200 year-around workers in Nantucket from El Salvador.

L1 visas are also being used to replace American workers with cheaper foreign workers.

Whereas H1-B visas allow US companies to hire foreign workers specifically for job openings, L-1 visas are meant for intra-company transfers and are valid for a maximum of seven years.

Although there are legitimate reasons behind a company transferring a foreign employee to the US, critics say the programme is being abused as a cheap way to replace American workers.

A company sets up shop in the US and in another country such as India, hires a bunch of programmers in India, and then ships them to the US on H1B visas. Then it contracts out the programmers to US companies at lower hourly rates than American citizens can earn.

Being born an American citizen to American citizen parents means less and less.

Update: US House Representative Tom Tancredo (R CO) says the US has a cheap labor policy.

Insight: The U.S. economy is in a slump and Americans by the millions are out of work, yet the wholesale replacement of our workers by immigrants is under way. What gives?

Rep. Thomas Tancredo: We have a cheap-labor policy. This government has determined that part of its economic policy is to undermine the value of American jobs. We have record-high unemployment rates. We have a stagnating economy. Yet this administration refuses to take any action to reduce the number of immigrants who are coming into the country [illegally], removing Americans from their jobs and replacing them with cheap labor.

Perhaps it should be codified. Any area of the country that has its poverty level drop below some legislated level should have its employers become eligible for a large allotment of low skilled immigrant worker permits. The number of permits should be increased until the poverty rate is raised up at least to the legislated level.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 02 02:48 PM  Immigration Border Control

Morine Shaw said at January 19, 2004 1:32 PM:

I am from Jamaica,How can I be a part of this h2b workforce?

Adam Styers said at May 11, 2004 7:34 PM:

American jobs are for the American people.

Chris said at January 28, 2005 12:44 PM:

Immigration in desperate times, fine, but work forces should not be brought over for cheaper labor.

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