POINT OF VIEW Immigrant crackdown will boost local economy


Suppressed wages caused by the massive influx of low-wage immigrants is hurting the Palm Beach County economy. It falls under the law of supply and demand. Too many workers drop the rate of pay.

Some will say that these undocumented immigrants help the local economy, as The Palm Beach Post did in its Feb. 22 editorial — “Trump’s crackdown on undocumented threatens PBC economy.” Not true. These people live as cheaply as possible and send a good portion of their income back to their home countries to support family. Whereas, a low-wage U.S. citizen worker spends 100 percent of his or her paycheck right here at home. This long-standing problem is hurting minorities.

As a low-wage-grade federal employee, I know firsthand how illegal immigration has hurt blue-collar worker paychecks. I had to move back here (Palm Beach County) for personal reasons and took a $7-per-hour pay cut for the exact job I previously held in upstate New York. My job here is the identical job title, wage grade and step.

How does that happen? Federal pay for low-wage blue-collar workers is based on the prevailing market wages for similar type jobs. The government takes wage data from the state and uses that data to set our pay scales. It has nothing to do with the cost of living or our union contract, and has everything to do with what hotel and restaurant workers make per hour here. This causes a $7-per-hour deficit that I am not putting into the local economy.

Others claim that if President Donald J. Trump deports immigrants here illegally, prices will rise sharply for goods and services. There is no economic data to support that theory.

Farmworkers who are here legally are not affected and will not raise food prices. What is affected? Profits for private companies and contractors that hire illegal construction and service workers. Illegal immigration has created millionaires in this country, at the expense of hardworking Americans who either lost their jobs or took a pay cut to keep working.

The current president gets it. Send those folks home, and citizens like me “who do the jobs that no Americans will do” will get paid a living wage.

FRANK VIGGIANI, PALM BEACH SHORES



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