They Should call it the Dollarman Project
According to the U.S.DOL nearly 1 million people make up the full time farm workforce in the U.S., of these 60% are foreign born. If their average wage is $6/hour what would it take to replace these workers with native born American's? A $12 an hour rate would double the labor costs and labor accounts for about 20% of food prices. You can do your own math (or guess) on how many billions we would pay for running immigrants out of just 1 sector of the economy. The garment industry is another that has relied almost exclusively on immigrant labor since the 1880's. Starting with Jewish immigrants, the industry then employed Italians at the start of the 20th century (my grandmother worked in a NYC "sweatshop" for decades). As unskilled European immigration dried up Puerto Rican's and blacks took these jobs followed by Asian’s. These days’ new arrivals from Latin America now handle this awful work. This is replacement not displacement.
The anti-immigration argument seems to be geared towards Mexicans/Latin Americans. LB and I have another agreement here, the U.S. is a great place to live, and that’s why the U.S. also imports higher skilled labor from India and the E.U. You would think the anti-immigration lobby would be railing against skilled immigrants taking high tech jobs not the low skilled farm and garment industry. Taking the EU as a whole they supply 150-200 thousand immigrants a year, mostly educated entrepreneurs. A significant part of the U.S. high tech industry has come from brain draining European countries.
I decided to look into what some anti-immigration groups had to say and found the following at FAIR’s website. Currently there are an estimated 9 to 11 million illegals in the U.S., double the 1994 level. FAIR research suggests that "between 40 and 50 percent of wage-loss among low-skilled Americans is due to the immigration of low-skilled workers. An estimated 1,880,000 American workers are displaced from their jobs every year by immigration; the cost for providing welfare and assistance to these Americans is over $15 billion a year." Illegal aliens have cost billions of taxpayer-funded dollars for medical services. Dozens of hospitals in Texas, New Mexico Arizona, and California, have been forced to close or face bankruptcy because of federally-mandated programs requiring free emergency room services to illegal aliens. Taxpayers pay half-a-billion dollars per year incarcerating illegal alien criminals. The National Academy of Sciences found that the net fiscal drain on American taxpayers is between $166 and $226 a year per native household. Even studies claiming some modest overall gain for the economy from immigration ($1 to $10 billion a year) have found that it is outweighed by the fiscal cost ($15 to $20 billion a year) to native taxpayers."
I am one who believes in the economic benefits of cheap labor to the overall economy but would accept a "slowdown", maybe a 5+ year moratorium on immigration of unskilled labor in order to help assimilate the ones we have now and allow time for the U.S. decide its future policy. The labor shortage will raise their wages and increase costs for the rest of us, I realize this and am willing to pay. The opponents of immigration need to make their arguments for the public to accept higher prices for goods and services.