2004 January 05 Monday
African Immigrants Paid $2 Per Hour To Deliver Groceries

Increase supply and prices will fall.

Over the past three years, five contractors in Florida have been convicted of enslaving farm workers.

Phillip Martin, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California at Davis, said using contractors gives employers the ability to deny knowledge that people working for them were illegal immigrants or were not paid overtime. "Increasingly the purpose of contractors is to be risk absorbers," he said.

A contractor working for a Manhattan grocery chain was accused of using this rationale to try to justify paying just $2 an hour to African immigrants who delivered groceries. The federal minimum is $5.15.

If US borders were open to all immigrants then supply of labor would drive the price down so far that the federal minimum wage would be too high and the result would be massive unemployment. Increase the supply of something and its price will drop. Labor is not immune to this effect. The African immigrants were still making far more than most Africans can make in Africa and so their willingness to work for such a low wage should not be too surprising.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 January 05 10:44 AM  Immigration Border Control

AMac said at January 5, 2004 11:32 AM:

The basics of what this post discusses isn't Politics, and it isn't even Economics. It's Arithmetic.

As has been written elsewhere, the depressing thing isn't so much what you say, as that it has to be said at all, rather than taken as a too-obvious starting point.

The painful implications are ably laid out by Victor Davis Hanson in his new book Mexifornia; chapters are available online. This combination of immigrant-need and illegal-employer-greed is bad for the direction it takes American society, as well as bad for the illegal aliens themselves.

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