The ‘Lazy American’ Stereotype Is an Anti-Borders Tactic

Throughout history, power-seeking charlatans have relied heavily upon negative archetypes as a way to demonize anyone blocking their path to ascendancy. Those seeking to flood this country with foreign nationals as a way to acquire political and financial influence today are no different. They have clearly identified their enemy in this quest, and it is the American citizen.

Reasonable people often wonder why the United States, a nation of more than 300 million people with a tradition of upward mobility, needs to import so many foreigners to fill a limited number of jobs. Without hesitation, the answer from the anti-borders movement is always that foreign nationals are needed because they will “do jobs that Americans just won’t do.”

This promotion of the “lazy American” stereotype is not only insulting to American citizens, but also reveals what the elites fighting immigration enforcement really think of those they want to bring here.

In September of last year, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was holding court for the media and said, “We have a shortage of workers in our country, and you see even in Florida, some of the farmers and the growers saying, ‘Why are you shipping these immigrants up north? We need them to pick the crops down here.’”

Wait, haven’t we been told endlessly by people like Pelosi that foreign nationals who come here are future valedictorians endowed with the “spark of divinity?” Apparently that was just a façade, as Pelosi and Big Agriculture see indigent foreigners as a lucrative source of cheap, exploitable labor.

In reality, rather than doing jobs Americans just won’t do, foreign workers are frequently the reason U.S. citizens are getting fired from their jobs. Employers tend to view hiring compliant foreign workers as a labor cost reduction move. A group of black Americans along the Mississippi Delta recently settled lawsuits against two large farm companies who replaced them with South African foreign workers who arrived on H-2A visas. There was no shortage of American farm workers in this case, only employers looking to import cheaper labor to strengthen their bottom line.

Under the H-2A visa program, U.S. farms can import an unlimited number of foreign workers annually, which serves to displace American workers from their jobs. Employers’ use of the H-2A visa has increased more than 1,500 percent in the last 25 years, with more than 258,000 foreign workers coming here in 2021. A decade earlier, there were fewer than 60,000 H-2A visas issued per year.

And some employers just hire illegal aliens under the table. In 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted a raid on a Koch Foods plant in Mississippi, arresting hundreds of illegal alien workers in the process. After Koch conducted a job fair to replace the workers—and required documents to prove legal status—more than 200 local residents showed up and submitted applications. 

When confronted with these facts, immigration activists on the Left say that protecting American farm jobs will result in skyrocketing prices for fruits and vegetables. A study by the Economic Policy Institute in 2020, however, found that a 40 percent increase in farm worker pay would raise the annual cost of agricultural produce just $25 per household.  

While agribusiness has long relied on both H-2A visa recipients and illegal aliens for a steady supply of low-cost workers, the seductiveness of cheap labor to employers has infected myriad other fields. Construction and service industry jobs are now virtually out of reach to lower-skilled American workers, who find themselves undesirable to employers because they seek a living wage that immigrants often do not require.

Anti-borders advocates are rank hypocrites when they say enforcement of immigration laws is cruel. A nation with no borders is cruel in multiple ways. It is cruel to illegal aliens, who find themselves victims of wage exploitation, often forced to live in overcrowded, substandard housing. 

It is also cruel to American citizens on the lower end of the wage-and-skills scale who see their communities becoming more dangerous, their job prospects reduced, and their social services overwhelmed. 

Finally, it is cruel to the migrant children these policies allegedly protect, as these children are mere pawns in a lucrative black market that moves aliens across the border and enriches those who profit from a broken system.

Incidents such as the black farm workers’ lawsuit and the Koch job fair expose the lie pushed by Pelosi and her fellow travelers that unchecked numbers of immigrants are needed to fill jobs American citizens and legal residents will not do. Such falsehoods are pushed by cynical politicians and lobbyists for corporate farming giants, both of whom will profit from them. They should not get a pass for slandering the hardworking Americans who have built and maintained this great nation. 

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About Brian Lonergan

Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.

Photo: Harold Hoch Job Fair for Former Inmates via Getty Images

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