• In the Valley of Fear | by Michael Greenberg | The New York Review of Books

    Le travail que « volent » les #migrants mexicains aux Etatsuniens est en fait un travail d’esclave que refusent les nationaux et que les Mexicains concernés s’empressent de quitter dès que la situation socio-économique de leur pays s’améliore...

    In response to the argument that immigrants steal jobs from Americans by undercutting their wages, the UFW set up a website offering citizens and legal residents agricultural jobs anywhere in the country through state employment services. This was in 2010, during the Great Recession. The website received about four million hits, out of which around 12,000 people filled out employment forms. Of these, a total of twelve citizens or legal residents actually showed up for work. Not one of them lasted longer than a day . According to a Los Angeles Times report, Silverado, a farm labor contractor in Napa, “has never had a white, American-born person take an entry-level gig, even after the company increased hourly wages to $4 above the minimum.” A wine grower in Stockton couldn’t lure unemployed citizens for $20 an hour.

    Fruit and vegetable picking is a one-generation job—farmworkers I spoke to neither wanted nor would allow their children to follow them into the fields. The heat and physical toll, combined with the feudal power of the growers, make it preferable to work in an air-conditioned hotel or packing house, where you can stand upright and be free of pesticides for the same low wages.

    This means that a constant supply of impoverished Mexican immigrants willing to do the work is required. But those immigrants aren’t coming . Since 2005 more Mexicans have been leaving the US than arriving. And this isn’t only because of a crackdown at the border. In 2000, when the border was far more porous than it is now, 1.6 million Mexicans were apprehended trying to cross into the US. In 2016 the number was 192,969.2 Ed Taylor, an economist at UC Davis, estimates that the number of potential immigrants from rural Mexico shrinks every year by 150,000. This can be partly explained by improved economic conditions in northern and central Mexico , which have dimmed the allure of minimum-wage labor in the US, and partly by the cost and danger of venturing across the border.