Do the Undocumented really hurt the Economy?

NYTimes by Adam Davidson

Earlier this month I met Pedro Chan at his small apartment above an evangelical church in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Chan, who shares the place with three others, is short and muscular. He has a quiet voice and a patient demeanor that seems to have served him well on his journey to New York. In 2002, he left his Guatemalan village for a long trip through Mexico and, with the help of a smuggler, across the Texas border. In 2004, he made it to Brooklyn, where his uncle helped him find work on small construction crews.

These days, Chan helps skilled (and fully documented) carpenters, electricians and stucco installers do their jobs by carrying heavy things and cleaning the work site. For this, he earns up to $25,000 a year, which is considerably less than the average entry wage for New York City’s 100,000 or so documented construction workers. Chan’s boss, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that unless he learned a specialized skill, Chan would never be able to move up the income ladder. As long as there are thousands of undocumented workers competing for low-end jobs, salaries are more likely to fall than to rise.

Read the rest of this article here:


One thought on “Do the Undocumented really hurt the Economy?

  1. Do the undocumented really hurt the economy? As the article its self describes, illegal immigrants do and do not hurt the economy. Overall, illegal immigrants do not compete or take away jobs of those skilled labors; but instead, they complement them. As Judith Shklar stated in “American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion”, being economically independent was closely associated to the hazy reality of freedom and liberty. Thus, for these illegal immigrants to work for very low paying jobs, with unsafe conditions; it is harmless that they would greatly impact the economy by working dead-end jobs with a very minimal pay.

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