Most temporary workers from Mexico no better off than undocumented workers

Aug 17, 2014
Lauren Apgar. Credit: Indiana University

Many politicians see the temporary worker program in the U.S. as a solution to undocumented immigration from Mexico. But an Indiana University study finds that these legal workers earn no more than undocumented immigrants, who unlike their legal counterparts can improve their situation by changing jobs or negotiating for better pay.

"Just because are legally present in the country does not mean that they will have better jobs or wages than ," said Lauren Apgar, lead researcher of the study "Temporary Worker Advantages? A Comparison of Mexican Immigrants' Work Outcomes."

"My research found that temporary workers' visas effectively ensure that they are underpaid and cannot advance in the job market because they guarantee that the immigrant work for the sponsoring employer," she said. "Issuing visas to the employees, rather than the employers, offers a possible solution to prevent these abuses from occurring and to better protect those who serve a vital function in the national economy."

Apgar will discuss her study at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday during the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in San Francisco.

The most common employment visas issued to Mexicans are the H-2A visa for and the H-2B visa for low-skill, peak-load or intermittent workers. Apgar suggests reforming the temporary worker program so these visas are issued directly to workers, thus making the visa program potentially more attractive to .

Variations of her suggestion have been incorporated into federal immigration reform legislation, but these efforts have stalled in Congress. Much attention now is on the influx of unaccompanied children emigrating from Central America, which Apgar describes as a humanitarian crisis. because the children are fleeing gangs and violence. She said the refugee crisis, if it continues, could be framed as a rise in undocumented immigration, reinvigorating the concerns about undocumented immigration overall and the demand for an increased number of temporary worker visas. She said this would do nothing for visa reform or for the plight of these children.

Immigration reform with regard to temporary workers has historically revolved around the number of temporary worker visas that should be issued. Businesses favored increasing the number of temporary workers to fulfill their needs, whereas labor unions wanted to discontinue the program because they viewed as competition for U.S. jobs. More recently, Apgar said, labor has shifted its viewpoint and the debate to focus on worker rights. Labor now supports temporary work visas contingent upon increased labor protections for these workers.

"Temporary workers' visa stipulations affect the overall labor market and can erode standards for all workers," Apgar said. "While temporary workers have often been pitted as competitors of U.S. workers—taking jobs, lowering wages—the fact that employers can take advantage of visa stipulations to lower wages worsens the conditions for the labor market overall."

In 1987, the U.S. offered Mexicans 4,808 H-2 ; in 2013, the number had grown to 111,769 in 2013, according to Apgar's research. For her study, she analyzed data from the Mexican Migration Project, which has been collecting data concerning the experiences of temporary workers, undocumented immigrants and legal permanent residents since 1987. Her study involved data provided by 3,634 male heads of households.

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pinchijoe
3 / 5 (2) Aug 17, 2014
The reason for workers visa's is that the employers hire from a pool of workers that want work. and that work is guaranteed to be there for them. If it's about wages then they should negotiate with that employer, as with all things wages will be paid the going rate. The going rate will be set by the person that really wants that job and he will under cut the other persons to get that job. Just as an illegal does to get a job from an employer here, he will under cut and American Citizen or a legal Resident Alien and win that job by accepting a lower wage. So the best way to handle this would be that no illegal person gets employment. Only legal immigrants and Citizens can work here. Fine the employer the first time and jail time the second time. One year in jail for each illegal in their employment, that should fix those problems you brought up.
kellyluck1337
not rated yet Aug 17, 2014
Surprised ? Who needed the investigated results from this study ?
ver_acity_9
3 / 5 (2) Aug 17, 2014
UK Mass Immigration case study – July, 2014.
Mass immigration will damage the living standards of everyone in the country as minor economic benefits are outweighed by the social pressures of a relentlessly rising population, one of Britain's most eminent Left-wing economists declared yesterday.
Professor Robert Rowthorn, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Cambridge University and a longstanding adviser to Whitehall departments, said the economic advantages of immigration are 'unlikely to be very large'.
But the downside – from building on the green belt (building free areas) to the overcrowding of cities – means that the consequences of large-scale immigration 'are mostly negative for the existing population of the UK and their descendants'.
The findings are a major blow to claims that immigration has and will continue to bring major economic benefits. Over the past decade, widely-publicized studies by academics and liberal think tanks have repeatedly said that immigration will make us better off.
Among those reported by the BBC have been claims by the Labor-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research that immigrants are paying a disproportionate share of the nation's taxes, and that they bring economic benefits because they do jobs that Britons will not take.
However, since Tony Blair introduced an effectively open-door immigration policy after the 1997 election the Daily Mail has been reporting on the impact of migration on population; on the social make-up of cities; on unemployment, and declining wages for low-skilled workers; and on the pressure it has brought on housing and services.
All have contributed to a growing unease about immigration among voters that has led all political parties to pay lip service to curbs on immigration and state benefits for migrants.
Professor Rowthorn, a former consultant to the International Monetary Fund and the UN Trade and Development Commission, said in his report that there may be no economic gains from immigration at all.
If there are, they will be outweighed by extra costs imposed by the strain on housing, land, schools, hospitals, water supplies and transport. 'Such losses would ultimately outweigh the small gain in average wages apparently resulting from mass immigration.'
Professor Rowthorn said the major economic benefit that immigration can provide is increasing the number of younger people in the population, so that there are more working-age people to support the growing numbers of the elderly who rely on pensions and need more health and social care.
But he found that the difference to the 'dependency ratio' made by mass immigration is tiny compared to the major increases in population needed to sustain it.
'If many of the migrants fail to get jobs, or if they end up in low skill jobs or displace native workers, large-scale immigration will have a negative impact on GDP per capita and on government finances,' he added.
'The impact could be positive or negative but either way it is unlikely to be very large. The only thing that is certain is that immigration on the present scale, if it continues, will lead to much faster population growth and a much larger total GDP than would otherwise be the case, with consequent pressure on infrastructure and the environment.'
Professor Rowthorn, 74, is a former Marxist and remains a significant figure in Left-wing economic
mary_holt_5688
not rated yet Aug 17, 2014
You would think they would learn. All the employers want in America is cheep labor and do not give a rats A## if the worker has a living wage. It is the same for the minimum wage Americans and more and more workers are considered minimum wage. The whole idea is to get enough workers here to keep most of us including them as slaves. Then the middle class is taxed to support there upkeep the employers do not want to pay. Stay home, then when we can offer a fair living for people wanting to live here by making employers pay a living wage we can offer more people a place decent to live.
CWO-4
2 / 5 (4) Aug 17, 2014
Wow, the way this article is wrote, I guess we are suppose to BOO-HOO for the Mexicans over here. IF our left-wing government was as concern for the American people as so many liberals believe they are, they wouldn't be allowing these people over here to begin with. Real simple, if we don't have jobs available for our own people, which left-wing college is teaching that you can make 30 jobs available when only seven are? And since liberals these days are almost always trying to make a black and white issue out of everything, maybe they need to take more notice of their colleagues from the Chicago area who have posted twice on YouTube saying that Obama should be impeached. "Poor Chicago Blacks to Obama: "Just Quit"" As many blacks stated back in '08, If Obama was white, Hillary would be our president today.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (2) Aug 17, 2014
Plenty of 'conservatives' hire illegals. They're after cheap labor and externalizing social costs onto the middle class, as a poster above stated. Your partisan politics is why illegals keep coming, CWO-4. You are an mass-manufactured product made to be too stupid to grasp that you are the obstacle to your own progress. In fact you're trained like a pigeon to hate the word 'progress'
barbershores
3 / 5 (2) Aug 17, 2014
From the article: "Most temporary workers from Mexico no better off than undocumented workers"
-----------------------------------------
You are failing to include a number of advantages for the legal alien including:
1. Their ride to the states was paid for by their sponsor
2. Their sponsor is responsible for their health insurance
3. They will not be arrested and held in jail just for being here

To name but a few.

One should compare what they get here in the states, vs in Mexico. If not substantially more here, maybe they should just stay at home.

To say that since illegal aliens make the same amount as legal aliens, the legal aliens should be paid more money is absolutely ridiculous.

Actually, this article must be some sort of joke.

Just my take.

Best of luck,

Barbershores