Which One of These Jobs Would You Take From An “Undocumented Worker”?


Work performed by illegal immigrants varies among states, according to the Pew Research Center, but in 39 states and the District, the largest number work in service jobs.

In 34 states, they hold the largest share of all farming, fishing and forestry jobs.

Nationwide, unauthorized workers are clustered in a few occupations, notably farming, fishing and forestry (26%), building and grounds (17%), and construction and mining (14%). They comprise 24-percent of all groundskeepers, 23-percent of domestic workers and 20-percent in clothing manufacturing. They also carve out niches in certain relatively well-paid construction trades, 34-percent with jobs in drywall installation, 27-percent in roofing and 24-percent in painting. Many illegal immigrants who overstay temporary visas have higher education levels that enable them to work in office or technical jobs.

Remaining majorly clustered in low-level low-paying benefitless jobs, undocumented immigrants now hold more white-collar jobs today than they did before the national recession of 2007-2009. The PEW report, based on a five-year study from 2007 to 2012, found that the size of the illegal immigrant workforce has remained at 5.1 percent of all workers, even though the total number of illegal immigrants has fallen from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007 to about 11.2 million in 2012.

By comparison, the Brookings Institute study has shown that half of Black Americans who are born poor stay poor in spite of strides made in upward mobility over the past 50 years. The bleak fact is that 51% of the black Americans born into the lowest fifth of the earnings distribution remained there by age 40.

Many Black middle-class children are downwardly mobile. Middle to bottom is more likely and common among Black Americans than middle upward. Seven out of 10 Black Americans born into the middle class will likely fall down the economic ladder, and even more pitiably, there is barely any such thing as “Black wealth.”

Race gaps in wealth, too wide as it is, widened further during the Great Recession of the Reagan and Bush years, with only some slight improvement during the Clinton years and a lot of stagnation during the Obama years.

Though we won’t know Trump’s real impact on the American economic landscape until January 2018, the median wealth of white households is now 13 times greater than for black households. Black wealth, per PEW, almost halved during the recession, falling from $19,200 in 2007 to $11,000 in 2013.

Right now, the word out is that most Black families are headed by a single parent, but we need not get in a tizzy about it because circumstances sometimes dictate that many single parent homes are more well-off than some two-parent homes.

We’ve witnessed Black children from two-parent homes lose their chance at success through making the wrong decisions as adults.

Unfortunately, Black students typically attend worse schools in a nation that remains mostly segregated by race and economic status. There are race gaps in far too many social and economic dimensions, including incarceration, early learning, parenting, schooling, attitudinal racism, employment – and the list goes on.


Building an opportunity society for Black America is not about taking jobs from undocumented immigrants, and as much as we would like to make those slave jobs in prisons systems into real jobs out here in the free world, the real issues with high Black unemployment and low wages is that we do not control the opportunities that come to us, nor do we think and act and move innovatively in our own communities in order to provide good jobs to our own people.


I doubt most Black people in America would want to do what illegal immigrants do for a living … our ancestors did that farming, animal husbandry and sharecropping thing before and none of them seemed too anxious to get back to it just because we no longer had to do it for free.

White America doesn’t create jobs for Black people, it gives us what is left over after their own kith and kind have had their pick of the best work available with the best advantages for future growth and even more opportunities.

If white people don’t want it, doors open to SOME or most Blacks, then to documented immigrants, then to undocumented immigrants probably because white Americans who do the hiring aren’t going to take the time out to learn to speak a second or third language (Spanish and French).

I remember when I first moved to Atlanta, I was standing in line at a certain Post Office in Marietta when an older white guy sauntered up to me spouting off about how all of those “Mexicans” come in here taking all the jobs, and at the time I was working for MetLife making more money then than the minimum wage is now. There were less than three Hispanics {‘Mexicans’} working there at the time, and they were the ones who had been born and raised here.

I can only guess that he was expecting me to take the stance that he was certainly right, but all I could get a visual on was how many times he must have said that same thing to other whites about Black people when we weren’t in the room to hear it.

I simply shrugged it off and said “I haven’t met many Mexicans who are qualified to do my job,” and left it at that.

I then swiftly moved the heck away from him and pretended to be busy with something on my package, seeing nothing more than my imagination from the back of my head that he must have been pissed about my not being in one accord with his need to be a white bigot on my watch.

I’ll be honest – I wouldn’t care to do not one single job that any undocumented immigrants do. Period.

If you don’t want them here, stop eating their food, wearing their clothes, and living free and clear off their contributory tax money. That’s right, they pay taxes here and get nearly next to squat in return for them, and your social security and free college grants and welfare check/food stamps is likely made up of a BIG CHUNK of their hard-earned labor to the tune of a few BILLION.

Hell …

I’se too lazy to work that hard for damned near free with next to no possibility of ever getting out of it without a genius stroke of some kind of unexpected luck.



PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.

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