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The Refugee, Illegal Aliens, and the Workforce

Updated on August 22, 2013

Many industries face a dilemma. Some industry, like fast food, meatpacking, farming, are more inclined to hire low wage earners like refugees or undocumented workers illegally in the U.S. Those working in the meatpacking business, herd up cattle and lead them up the :stairway to heaven" a curved ramp. The cow is met with another person in the "knock box". The worker pacifies the poor cow of 1700 lbs. and with nonchalance, uses a pressurized gun that shoots a metal rod into the cow's skull, as blood gushes out onto the floor creating a "river of blood" across the kill floor. The cow's body is quickly moved by chain through various stages of gutting and dismemberment. Legs there, head there, brains cut out and so on.

All of this work will eventually yield a tasty London Broil or Sirloin Steak for you, the human, to enjoy, Of course, the fate of chickens is no less horrific. But, as humans, should we care? Does a Great White shark that devours a surfer care?

To the workers in this industry, nearly all are non-American, either Hispanic or others from across the globe. These guys work eight hour shifts earning between $11-13 hr. Back in the 1980's, the pay was $19 and hour. That is when those jobs were mostly manned by Americans and unions were involved. Even the Hispanics in many places are feeling the pinch from refugees and they have the upper hand. You see, unlike an illegal alien or undocumented worker, who cannot legally work in the USA, any refugee can. They can work legally here even though they are not US citizens.

For employers needing workers, they are now preferring refugees to hire because when ICE raids a business with illegal aliens working for it, they can be heavily fined thousands of dollars for each worker. That adds up fast. As for those unemployment Americans, while the refugees consider $11-12 per hour a good wage, to most Americans, it is the lowest they may have ever worked for. This attitude becomes even more apparent the wage is $9 hr. Few Americans would be happy earning this and employers know it and to avoid turnover, they hire refugees and undocumented workers. Training for meat packing jobs cost at least $12,000, and when you have 30-40% turnover rates, it becomes very costly.

Some large plants actually hire recruiters to find refugees, offer them work, and deliver them to the plant for processing. This is done using referral incentives. They don't want undocumented workers.

More and more, employers want refugees instead of undocumented workers or those legally here. The last on the list is the American. That is, unless they are willing to work for less.


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