All other things being equal, who would you rather hire?:
(1) A 17-year-old, with no work history who just seems to be looking to pick up a little extra money for the luxuries of modern life.
(2) A 30-year-old with a decade or more of work under their belt and a family to support.
If you were a small-business person would the fact that the number 2 was possibly an illegal alien really matter to you?
I am continually amazed by people who argue that illegal aliens don’t reduce job opportunities for native-born low-skill workers. Beyond the simple principles of supply and demand and their willingness to work for less money, most illegal aliens bring something else to the work place that most young low-skilled native-born workers don’t:
Most illegal aliens are grownups. They have families to care for and they have traveled far to find work. They show up at jobs ready to put in a full effort for a full day because they have serious responsibilities. They don’t have an inflated sense of entitlement or status that makes them resentful about working unglamorous jobs. When people with such a work ethic compete against the average American teenager they blow them out of the water.
In areas of the country with high concentrations of illegals, the low-skill job market for the native born is seriously depressed. Employers would much rather hire the more mature and reliable illegals even if they don’t pay them less. The lack of hassle alone is worth it.
We can argue whether illegal aliens are a net benefit to the economy as a whole but I don’t think anyone can make the serious argument that illegals don’t hurt the economic prospects of the low-skilled native Americans that they compete against.