The first contractor I worked with was a concrete-raising company. The sidewalk had sunk in several places and elsewhere was raised by a large oak root. Also, part of the patio around the pool had sunk about six inches. When the contractor showed up, he brought four immigrant laborers to do the work. They did an excellent job, but it made me wonder where the American workers were.
The next contractor I hired was for foundation work. When the contractor showed up, he had about 12 immigrant laborers who did the work. This work is hard but nothing that Americans cannot do. Again, they did an outstanding job, but no Americans were in the crew.
The next contractor I hired to repair the roof. Two immigrant laborers came out. I was very impressed with their work, and especially their ability to climb a 30-foot ladder carrying about 80 pounds of shingles in one trip. But, again, no Americans were in the crew.
Next, I hired a painting company to repair sheetrock and paint the entire interior of the house. This required a high level of skill. In this crew of about seven or eight people, there was one American and the rest were immigrant laborers. This job took more than two weeks and cost in the thousands of dollars.
Lastly, I hired a flooring company to lay carpet for the entire house. The work was done by immigrant laborers.
I can’t help but feel that by taking over all the aspects of building and repair, immigrants have displaced people who have lived their entire lives in the United States and are unemployed. This is not work in the hot fields gathering crops — work that many people claim Americans will not do. Much of this work in the building trades requires highly skilled individuals.
The immigrant laborer tradespeople have found a niche and filled it. And they, on the whole, do an outstanding job.
But in so doing, they have pushed out a group of Americans who fall into this building trades category — those Americans who have a high school education and would gladly work at these types of jobs.
This is not a simple problem, and it has no simple solution, but it does point out one of the many facets of the overall uncontrolled immigration policy.
Jim Phillips is a graduate of Alexandria High School and Jacksonville State University. He lives in League City, Texas.