Wall Street Journal: Florida Needs Illegal Aliens to Fill Low-Wage U.S. Jobs

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PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - JULY 30, 2022: Many high end gated housing communities are being built by immigrant workers on former farmland in western Palm Beach County, FL. Little is done to protect the workers from the extreme heat or direct sun. This year, heat indexes of over 100 degrees have made their work dangerous and almost unbearable. Immigrant workers, mostly Central Americans, are willing to do the work out of necessity, sending the money to maintain families in their homelands. (Photo by Cindy Karp/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is slamming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for signing a sweeping mandatory E-Verify bill into law that prevents industries across the state from hiring illegal aliens over Americans and legal immigrants.

As Breitbart News reported in May, Florida became the largest state in the nation to require all employers with 25 or more employees to screen its workforce through the federal government’s E-Verify system — ensuring that all new hires are legally residing in the United States.

In practice, mandatory E-Verify protects American jobs for Americans.

“How are states with E-Verify getting these jobs filled? Somehow, they’re doing it,” Jeremy Beck of NumbersUSA told Breitbart News.

Editors at the Wall Street Journal, the most notorious prolific mouthpiece for corporate special interests, published a piece that suggests Florida’s economy faces near collapse because of mandatory E-Verify.

The Journal editors write:

Employers in these industries are reporting that they have been losing long-time employees and can’t find new ones to replace them. Many workers who are here illegally are worried they will be found out, and some are moving to other states. A quarter to half of workers have reportedly gone missing from some construction sites in South Florida. [Emphasis added]

Demand for services and housing are surging amid Florida’s population boom. That means more workers are needed to build homes, change hospital beds, serve nursing home patients meals, and keep restaurants open. Employers can raise wages only so much and stay in business, assuming they can find any workers. This will dent the state’s economic expansion, which has produced a jobs and tax-revenue boom and an affordable standard of living for nearly everyone. [Emphasis added]

Mr. DeSantis’s campaign immigration plan also parrots the restrictionist right’s lump of labor fallacy that illegal immigrants are taking U.S. jobs and reducing wages of America’s working class. This is contradicted by Florida’s experience and many economic studies. His plan also neglects the need for more legal pathways for migrants, which would help reduce illegal immigration.

“If the only way you can run your business is to break the law … if that’s your business model, yes this will be a difficult transition for you,” Beck said of Florida’s mandatory E-Verify law.

Despite the Journal‘s claims, wages across blue-collar industries in Florida show no signs of a labor shortage or even a tight labor market for that matter.

For example, the average hourly wage for construction workers in Florida is $20 — $4 lower than the national average — despite the cost of living being nearly $51,000 a year. In Alabama, where E-Verify is required, hourly construction wages are at $22 an hour on average, even as the state’s annual cost of living sits at about $12,000 less than Florida’s.

“We know that the labor force participation rate has been declining and wages have been stagnant, but the attitude is ‘These Americans just won’t cut it,’” Beck told Breitbart News. “If you put a good offer out there, they will come and Americans are already doing it.”

For years, analysis of the federal government’s labor data has proven that there are no jobs Americans will not do. Of the 474 occupations tracked by the Commerce Department, just six are dominated by foreign workers.

“This is all about keeping workers in their place and making them more subservient,” Beck said of the Journal editorial.

Already, Florida employers are raising wages to recruit Americans and legal immigrants for jobs once held by illegal aliens. Most Floridians vastly support such a law.

In 2020, when DeSantis first tried to pass mandatory E-Verify, more than 60 percent of registered voters in Florida — including 56 percent of Hispanics, 65 percent of whites, and nearly 7-in-10 Asians — said they supported protecting jobs for Americans and legal immigrants.

Today, there are nearly 1.3 million illegal aliens living in Florida.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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