Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Americans now doing the work “Americans won’t do.”

"the situation is getting more difficult by the day," says Salvador Perez, a 45-year-old Mexican day laborer who has been in the U.S. since 2003. "I like this country for the work opportunity, but now I can barely scrape together a few dollars to send home to my family after paying for rent and food."

Latin American workers bore the brunt of the collapse of the construction sector, which employs 20% to 30% of all foreign-born Hispanics in this country. As the housing market tumbled last year, they lost jobs in ever-greater numbers.

Competition has become fierce even in agriculture, where farmers had struggled in recent years to hire enough immigrants to harvest crops, sometimes letting fruit wither on the vine.

Growers across the country are reporting that farmhands are plentiful; in fact, they are turning down potential field workers. "For the first time since 9/11, we have applicants in excess of our requirements,"

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