Illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans

  • Corine Flores


I am a native-born New Mexico Hispanic. I often write letters to newspapers on a subject which those without an Hispanic last name dare not write: the urgent need for immigration reform.

This nation's immigration policy, begun in 1965, is a disaster. It hurts minorities, the poor, the environment - as we see dramatically here in the West on an almost daily basis - and immigrants themselves.

Because of my last name, I can call for immigration reform, although I, too, have been labeled a racist - a hurtful claim that is impossible to disprove. As Ventura, Calif., Navy Dispatch editor Samuel Francis wrote in a recent editorial, - 'Hate' now includes all opposition to immigration." Yet, immigration affects us all, and we should be able to talk about it without fear of character assassination.

This trend has its roots in the national news media, where reporters almost invariably report on immigration as being good and those opposed to immigration as being bad or racist. These stories remind us that we are a nation of immigrants, while ignoring that the incredibly high rates of immigration to the United States are largely a recent phenomenon.

From 1915 to 1965, legal immigration ran about 220,000 a year - the number most immigration reform advocates want us to return to, since that number would stabilize our population. Since 1989, legal immigration has averaged about 1,063,000 a year. Another 1 million people a year immigrate illegally, according to one estimate.

The major national news media are now largely owned and operated by large corporations that are heavily invested in construction, real estate speculation and development - industries that benefit from continued high population growth. These same media corporations are not being balanced in their reporting on immigration issues. They often run stories about the so-called "labor shortage" in this country, while overlooking stories about the environmental and economic problems (including spiraling housing costs and stagnant wages) driven by over-immigration.

Americans, through a near-replacement-level birth rate, have shown support for a stable population. Yet we are the sixth fastest-growing nation, ahead of Mexico and Bangladesh, and the third most populated, behind only China and India. If current trends continue, our population will double to over half-a-billion by the end of the century, even though we already are the world's largest contributor to global-warming emissions, our highways are near gridlock due to urban sprawl, and much of our wildlife is in crisis from habitat loss.

On a personal level, I am concerned about over-immigration because it hurts me and others in a state where the tide of immigrants out of Mexico is crushing native-born Hispanics, flooding already stressed schools, and sharply increasing drug trafficking and violent crime.

The rumored economic boom, despite many news reports to the contrary, has left Hispanics behind. The Federal Reserve recently reported that the median Hispanic net worth fell a whopping 24 percent between 1995 and 1998 due to "an accelerating influx of poor immigrants." Put another way, when workers ask for a raise, they are often reminded that there are many others who will do the same work for less, including for below minimum wage. We all, native-born and immigrants, know there is no "labor shortage" for many of our jobs.

For that matter, do any American workers at any level see employers clamoring to increase their pay? No, they see industry calling for the right to import more cheap workers.

While I care about the world's poor - roughly 1.5 billion people fall into that category - I believe we cannot possibly welcome all these mostly economic (rarely political) refugees to the United States. Do advocates of high immigration believe our own slums are empty and that we no longer have citizens needing a fair chance at decent-paying jobs?

We must return immigration to traditional levels. To stop the cross-border flow and the peril the trek brings to Mexican nationals, we must impose sharp penalties for those employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Corine Flores is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News ( She is on the housekeeping staff of a hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Corine Flores

Dec 10, 2007 11:54 AM

i dont like ur understanding on immigration and i am 15 years old. I am young but not stupid . Immigration is a big problem in america today

illegal immigrants
bobby evans
bobby evans
Mar 25, 2009 07:29 PM
We have got to stop this. I am all for allowing Mexican people
come to our cuontry to better this selves to work, but not for drugs
to protect the American people send them all back, give the jobs back
to the American people
Apr 27, 2010 06:15 PM
you know i believe that every child should get schooling if they choose but if you are a illegal immigrant go to shool but once you are done get out go back to your own contry and make a difference there so your people stop coming over here. So that the U.S citizens can have the jods instead of a illegal immagrant.
Apr 23, 2008 03:53 PM

This is a really well written article. I think your opinion on immigration is really great. You are right-we need more laws against illegals. They are illegal and don't belong here.

May 08, 2008 11:33 AM

You are very right. Illegal aliens take many of the jobs that were once available to legal citizens, much of it agriultural and constrution work. All of your points are good, but your point that our own people need the work is right on the money. After all, haven't our own citizens occupied these jobs for years before the 1980s? I just wanted to point this great point out and encourage you to keep writing.

Feb 12, 2010 09:46 AM
immigration is inevetiable, you people have to understand that. we cant kick them all out there is a moral law that the goverment runs by. by otherizing we set ourselves up with horrible impacts; war, genocide, discrimination
Nov 19, 2008 12:33 PM
I guess that all of you are white, right? How would you people like to clean the toilet I take a crap on, I dont think so, but you know who will ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS you people still want them out of here. See here it works for everyone.
You're wrong
Socratic Gadfly
Socratic Gadfly
Apr 03, 2009 07:26 PM
And you should read your rich capitalist friends more closely. If people want somebody else to clean their toilet badly enough (and we're not in a recession), they'll pay the right wages.
Sep 27, 2010 04:15 PM
Stop.I and many of other Americans have cleaned tiolets.Right now I know many Americans who would fight for a job to clean tiolets to feed the the family.You think all whites are rich and have people to wipe them and clean thier toilets? What about all the other jobs illegals steal and dont pay tax,Illegals America cant afford you no more go home.
I will take any job
Nov 03, 2010 06:40 PM
comments such as "they take jobs you do not want" are wrong, i was born in this country, and i am white (not that it has anything to do with it) and i used to clean the floors and toilets in a McDonalds for a job, and i was damn happy i had that job. Why? because i knew i worked hard for that money, and i would not want that satisfaction taken from any other American who is legally here.
i wish i still had that job, but after i had to temporarily leave due to a family emergency, i found my boss had replaced me after promising he would hire me back when the emergency has been dealt with.
Do a better job
Jan 13, 2011 10:47 AM
you know why you got replace?.... because, he was not happy with the job you was performing.. I know mexican's who go back to their country for a season or two when they come back they still have their job..
Stop with this same 'ole excuse!
Dec 06, 2010 03:02 PM
Blacks have done those jobs for decades for low pay, whites have done those jobs for decades for low pay, the illegals are not the inly people that have had to clean a toilet, heck we all do it at home, why would'nt i want to get paid for doing it.

Illegal is "ILLEGAL!" THERE'S NO OTHER WAY AROUND IT! stop making excuses about it, why do you people insist on believing that americans would'nt take a job cleaning toilets or picking fruit, or housekeeping? we have done those jobs for centeries? and we are not afraid to do them now, the reason the illegas get them not is'nt because they are cheap, because most get paid very well, but it is because they are tax free, that's the bottom line, they are tax free and healthcare free, that's the meaning of cheap labour now.

You illegals are'nt the only hard workers, we americans are the hardest workers of all colors, we are the ones that made this country rich and great and you illegals are only here to take advantage of it and to suck it dry of all the freebies.
Dec 10, 2010 09:25 PM
I guess you are quiet ignorant, because it isn't just white people saying this. Every American citizen wants their country back. It is being over ran by people who don't care about the country that feeds them and cares for them. They clean you toilet so they can send money to their families so that they can come here and continue the vicious cycle of stealing and raping our country.
Erin Osborn
Erin Osborn
Nov 22, 2008 06:42 PM
I understand what you're saying, but your some of your assumptions about immigration are founded in political propaganda. I agree that immigration needs reform, but disagree on your reasoning.
immigration is is good
kurt Schultz
kurt Schultz
Apr 03, 2009 02:58 PM
Your research is totally based on opinion and not fact. When you mention that hispanics are left behind the economic rise it is beause most of these immigrants don't have legal documents to get a good job and if they do obtain a job the wage is to low to provide food and shelter to their families. So it falls back to the U.S. goverment because the minimum wage is too low and they have not inplanted a good immigration reform that will help this immigrants get jobs that pay good enough and are secure.

Even though enviroment is affect widely in the U.S. it is because no one wants to get rid of their comodities and do something about the enviroment; it falls in all of as to do something about it meaning white, back, yellow, brown. In fact it is good that there is a higher population becuase it provides more business and jobs for everyone. The fact that jobs are decreasing has to be looked at more deeply than "oh, to many hispanics no jobs". that is just blaming it on hispanics instead of our goverment that places companies on other countries like china hirering people that accept low wayge pay in which U.S. law can't be enforced.

The fact that this lady sees whats around and says what she wants with out any other solid facts is just someone talking their mouth out and insulting immigrants because they are not to blame for the U.S. problems. I do aggree that it is wrong to be illegal in this country but they also should be given a chance at the american dream and have the tranquility in mind that their family is safe.
Mother Earth
Mother Earth
Jan 19, 2010 11:29 PM
This is a very thoughtful letter. And the point being that she is a citizen and has a right to write it and it isn't about race. As for the ignorant comments by "U R WRONG!" I've lived in the Midwest and New Mexico and you are racist against whites and clueless as to how hard the American worker has worked over the years. For your information most of us don't have maid service, it is for the elite. The elite in Africa have African servants. Arabs? Mexicans? It's global and you are the racists.

It's difficult to see these people come in and completely trash parks and use up resources and have no respect for the U.S. but want to use the roads and services for nothing. We are overpopulated and good people are losing houses while illegals are able to buy houses? Our government/corporations (cannot distinguish between the two) care nothing for the future of the American people. And yes indeed these are the people who have their toilets cleaned by servants and they don't care about anything but themselves. Our problem is with the Elitists users. Such a small percentage controlling everything.

Thank you for writing this article. It is brave of you. There is much racism in New Mexico since the Hispanics do not like the rich "gringos" who took Santa Fe. However, the Hispanics came and completely destroyed the wonderful Pueblo culture.

Where does the racism end? What's important is that we don't have the environmental resources to support people coming in. And we "whites" have thousands of dollars of education debt for our children but there are no jobs--and laborers in the midwest work very hard only to be laid off as the rich hire illegals. It's the rich opportunists of all countries races who are making this a country a hell whole garbage pit--like Mexico.

But as for the drug comment, New Mexico Hispanics have many store fronts that are drug fronts. Some report low incomes as if in poverty but drive nice vehicles. High alcoholism and drug usage--with or without the Mexicans. And racist against Mexicans who are native. I think complaining about Mexicans and drugs in New Mexico is just perhaps not wanting the competition? If only it could be taxed.

jessica mcnamara
jessica mcnamara
Jan 21, 2010 08:10 PM
That was a thoughtful letter on immigration. But although immigration is responsible for much of the U.S. population gain, the issue goes even deeper. It is the failure of our citizens, the media, and even the envirnomental groups, to recognize how overpopulation is the root cause of most of the issues that dominate today's headlines--health care, energy shortages, urban sprawl, declining resources, and our nation's deteriorating environment. We keep trying to put band-aids on the problems without admitting that our failure to control our ever growing numbers is the real cause.
So rather than confining it to the evils of immigration, the national conversation should be about the wider issue of overpopulation and how we are all being impacted.
The group Negative Population Growth has a campaign to convince our legislators to take the lead in setting up a U.S. Commission on Population GRowth with the intention of crafting a population policy that recognizes that adding a projected 140 million more people to our population in the next 40 years will be catastrophic.
Until the issue gets on the national radar screen and the media is forced to bring it out in the open, I doubt that it will be addressed.
Aug 27, 2010 10:32 AM
Your missing the most important point. In the 4th qtr 2009 the unemployment rate for those making under $12,500 is over 30%, $12,500 to $20,000 is just under 20%. Like it or not, these are the people that are being displaced by illegals. When you have an over abundance of job seekers competing for jobs, wages will also be driven down. Jobs paying $5 or $10 per hour should be paying more like $10 to $20 per hour. Illegal workers have distorted the supply and demand formula for wages in this country. Good paying middle class jobs are being destroyed by this influx of illegal workers. If you make really good money the only effect for you is lower costs for goods and services. If you are among the working poor you are getting screwed out of thousands of dollars. So where do you fit in to this formula?
RE: illegals
David Anderson
David Anderson
Aug 27, 2010 03:31 PM
"Good paying middle class jobs are being destroyed by this influx of illegal workers."

Actually, in my opinion, they are being "destroyed" by the employers that are hiring them, illegally. Why do we always want to blame the "illegals" for a problem the employers are creating?
immigrant- american
Oct 14, 2010 10:46 PM
I am american but, i was rince in mexico. i came to the us at the age of three to have a good future. it gave the opportunity to understand all the hard work that immigrants people have to do and the less money that they earn. An american can do this jabs too but they ask for more money. thing that companies don't want to pay. i also knew how hard is for an immigant to learn a new lenguage and new culture.
So simple?
Mar 02, 2010 07:07 AM
It's easy to just say that "immigrants are stealing peoples jobs". The problem is bigger than most people like to think. We can't keep making ourselves isolated, a lot of the global problems have been coursed by western civilization. If I were to mention some; slave trade, war and global warming.

It's not just an economic issue, it's a humanity issue. We need to face up to our actions.
Editor asleep at the wheel or what?
Paul Correa
Paul Correa
May 28, 2010 01:29 PM
I'm a subscriber to HCN, living in Tucson, Arizona. You at HCN like to tout your commitment to deep and thoughtful journalism and your shelf-load of awards. This letter does not comport with your standards and didn't merit any place in your publication. It is just an uninformed person spouting off, and it inspired uninformed comments on the topic. You have nearly sunk to the level of the hate-board comments I see every day in the Arizona Central (Phoenix) and Daily Star (Tucson). Immigration is a newsworthy topic affecting the West and also a powder keg. If you feel that you must be a part of the current conversation, at least do it justice rather than just amplifying the noise.
Opinion column
Jodi Peterson
Jodi Peterson
May 28, 2010 03:18 PM
Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. It may not have been apparent that this essay was not published recently -- its original publication date was Oct. 9, 2000. It's still available on our site because our free archives extend back to 1993. Our Writers on the Range opinion columns (of which this was one) offer one person's take on an issue; they don't represent the perspective of HCN.

Best Regards,
Jodi Peterson, managing editor
we are all equals in this world
Jun 11, 2010 02:24 PM
Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-this has expired-

The place where a person is born should not dictate their rights to live as humans.
about it
Sep 20, 2010 12:40 PM
I also should have the right to support and protect my family by defending this great nation's boarders.

You can live in America just do so legally. How do you not get it???
slightly wring
Dec 10, 2010 09:30 PM
That poem was for those who came to the shores of America willing to go through the process of becoming a legal citizen. Not for those who come through the back door.
would not feel the same way
Jun 11, 2010 02:26 PM
I am sure the author would not feel the same way if a law was created stating that: "all persons with Hispanic heritage must return to their own countries"
I bet the tune would drastically change
Take illegal's jobs
Jul 13, 2010 06:38 PM
no more BS
no more BS
Sep 20, 2010 12:43 PM
Actually only 3% of illegal immigrants are farm workers. 97% of them take jobs in service, hospitality, and restaurants. All jobs Americans would do if employers weren't allowed to pay illegal slave wages to undocumented immigrants.
u.s. citizens paying for illegal aliens
jim roberts
jim roberts
Jul 20, 2010 04:42 PM
To all American Citizens and Politicians,
Why must U.S. Citizens be forced to accept and pay for Illegal Aliens?
Illegal Aliens are costing U.S. citizens Billions of dollars a year in Federal and State taxes. We provide Free Medical, Public Schooling, Social Services etc. Also, the cost of Law Enforcement which is needed for Illegal Aliens is enormous. They know if they have a baby in the U.S. it is automatically an American Citizen and they do it purposely hoping it will keep them from being deported when caught.
If the majority of U.S. citizens want to stop giving illegal aliens aid, and deport them, then our political representatives should do what their constituents want or resign.
Politicians, Special Interest Groups, and others say it is not humane and against civil rights to send these people home. Well I say that they have no rights, and don’t deserve any rights in the United States. They are not citizens, they entered illegally! They also knew that by entering the United States illegally, there could be consequences; now they must face them.
What about U.S. citizen’s rights, and their quality of life? Our constitution says “We the People” not “we the wealthy and corrupt politicians”. If Americans want their country back, then every politician should do whatever they can to send illegal aliens back to their country of origin.
If every state in America would stop providing social services, free medical, and free public schooling to illegal aliens they would have to go home. Also, if every state used the E- verify program, we could get our jobs back.
Every state should pass laws that if businesses, from small to large, employ illegal aliens they will get a fine of $10,000 per illegal and/or jail time. This includes private citizens who wish to hire illegals.
I live in Brewster, New York and illegal aliens have turned it into an undesirable place to live. The Brewster School System is being over whelmed and our taxes continue to go up in order to pay for these people.
The burden on the American citizen tax payer is enormous, and our federal and state politicians put us there. We cannot take care of the whole world. We must protect our borders and ports, stop spending money around the world (as if we have an endless supply) and put our time and effort into getting America, and its citizens, back on our feet.
                            Jim Roberts,
Brewster New York

America is good
America is good
Sep 20, 2010 12:38 PM
Thank you for your article it was ver informative and obviously well thought out. We live in such a greed filled world that some people will stop at nothing to achieve everything they want. Even if that includes accusing people of being racists.

I am pro boarder security not racist, how hard is that to understand?? Stand up for yourselves america, immigrants are taking away our jobs, and at a time when unemployment is at a 25 year high we can no longer afford the to let millions of illegals into our country.
Patrick Germain
Patrick Germain
Jun 02, 2011 02:41 PM
You are very verbose, you continually repeat the same ideas. This article was too large for the few ideas expressed. I just wish to say that this country if it should close off its borders, then it should also leave the countries that it invades and occupies. Many people in those foreign nations wish to keep to themselves yet our country enters theirs with arms so freely, if we insist on having no one enter then we shouldn't enter anyones land either. And we've been doing that for a long time.
Patrick Germain
Patrick Germain
Jun 02, 2011 03:04 PM
I am undocumented although I entered the country legally, I don't currently work and just finished high school this week. My parents brought me here at the age of 10 as they wanted a better life for me. I don't think all of "us" as you guys classify us are as evil as the members of those violent cartels which this country arms. Im not placing all the blame on this country, but it has a reason due to its large drug demand and consumption. Many people my age skip school to go do drugs, and are ungrateful nagging about their jobs. I myself don't do drugs, I was and set records for the gifted talented program for math and english. I am trilangual, I am fluent in Spanish and English (I speak english better than my peers as they constantly ask me for spelling for words, and I who enjoy reading also write on my own part.) and I speak German. I wish to go to college and become an aviation engineer although even if I obtained my degree I could not get a job due to the nation's laws and therefore desist me from reaching my dreams. I fear to return to Mexico as my native city (Monterrey) is currently one of the most violent and dozens of people die daily, I just wish people we're so selfish. I believe God gave us this world to live together and not to fight against one another.
alexis  castillo
alexis castillo
Oct 24, 2011 07:06 PM
please to any and all i incourage you to email me or comment on what i am about to say. However keep in mind that i will not stand for harrasmant but im opent to debate.

i read an artical that aked an intresting question. If an employer were to hire one of two people one and he knew only one thing about them one immigrant one native born who do you think he will hire?
the fact alone that he is an immigrant shows determination and will power to work. are we really taking jobs that are gevin to us?
also in responce to your comments about schools. did you know that illegal immigrants pay an average of 7 million dollars a year in taxes and never get a cent of it back? thats essentialy is free money for the government. taxes that are in fact given to those very same schools, and fire depratments, and police stations etc.
are we not able to share these things with you still? regardless of the fact that we too pay for it?
they call this land the "land of oppurtunity"
becasue they cant get at home (where the family and culture and all things familiar are) what we get here.
we risk it all for the oppurtunity to work yet they insist on calling us criminals. i for one would rather be a criminal in your eyes and know that im not, rather than immoral thinking that the fact alone that i was born here gives me the RIGHT to a job. wouldnt you have to fight for it too?
to conclude this statment i ask you think about george washingtons words. "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we should welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges." i incourage comentary.
Deborah BrittHass
Deborah BrittHass
Aug 13, 2014 08:05 PM
This is a very well written and intelligent article and I would like to thank Corine Flores for writing it! She points out one of the most important problems with Illegal Immigrants coming to this country and her arguments should hold more weight since she is of Hispanic decent herself! Although, it is starting to seem that Illegal Aliens and the bleeding hearts that stand up for them will never admit the truth of these problems they are creating and they will continue to play the victims and use the race card.