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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Written Testimony by Terry Anderson

October 30, 2003

In the 50 years that I have lived in South Central Los Angeles I have seen many changes -- some good, some bad. But the recent changes in the last 15 years due to massive and illegal immigration have been devastating to my community. This is not a racial matter, though black Americans are hit the hardest due to the destination of the newly arrived. They come first to our community and have overwhelmed us in terms of educational quality, job displacement and neighborhood compatibility. Also hit hard are American hispanics and white blue collar workers. These are facts.

One good example is what happened to the janitors in Century City and Beverly Hills, who, in the 1980's were making upwards of $13.00 an hour -- which was good money 20 years ago. Well over 90% of them were black. Illegal alien janitors were brought in and those decent earnings fell to minimum wage. As soon as all the American workers were gone, the illegal alien and immigrant workers staged a strike and the wages increased, although nowhere near the previous level in terms of real earnings. This disparity was even noticed by some of the very people who advocate for the illegal alien and immigrant workers, as found on the World Socialist Website. Note what they said on April 26, 2000:

Los Angeles janitors end strike

By John Andrews

"On Monday, April 24, Los Angeles janitors ended their three-week strike and approved a contract that provides moderate wage increases, plus a $500 signing bonus. The wage increases range from $1.50 to $1.90 over the next three years, far short of the union's original demands for a $3.00 raise in the same period. Starting wages for janitors will now be between $6.90 to $7.90 per hour.

In the 1980's janitors were making as much as $13 an hour until the maintenance contractors smashed their union and replaced the primarily black workforce with non-union Latin American immigrant workers."*

These were an immigration advocate's words, not mine and this scenario has repeated itself many times, not only in California but now in an ever growing number of states. American roofers, drywallers, pavers, framers, janitors, brick layers, carpenters, tilers, painters and body and fender workers are becoming endangered species in their own country, unable to find work in many cases and when it is found the wages are too low to exist on. Many of these displaced American workers are experts at their trades but can not compete with people coming here ready and willing to work for one third and sometimes one fourth of the prevailing wage.

I ask the question: WHEN will somebody stand up and advocate for the American worker? They have no voice! Even their elected officials have completely turned their backs on them except to use their unemployment figures to create statistical data about anonymous and faceless Americans, when it suits their political agenda. Never a mention of WHY American workers are unemployed and how the lack of immigration law enforcement has largely caused this problem.

I am a radio talkshow host in Los Angeles, California, ground zero for illegal immigration. I have gotten hundreds of radio show calls from black, white and American hispanics who tell me the same story. They have been displaced by immigrant and illegal alien workers! I have gotten thousands of emails from those who are in dire straits and have lost or are losing their employment due to massive and illegal immigration. I have gone on the streets and talked to people at random here in the black community and they all ask me the same question: WHY are our politicians and leaders letting this happen? I have no answer for them. Notice what a California politician had to say in the same World Socialist article about the janitor strike being settled:

"They called it a victory for working immigrants everywhere. Former California Assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa topped it all, claiming that the settlement demonstrates 'Latinos can come to this country to work and lift themselves up to reach the middle class.' "

Of course, that quote was from a politician trying to make himself look good. The new janitor wage was nowhere close to middle class money. But the employer got what he wanted -- very cheap workers happy to be exploited a little less than before. This is not progress.

I ask you, WHERE was the outrage over the black janitors being displaced? Where was the outcry for the disgraceful way the employer treated his "fellow" American? Why only the mention of working "immigrants" and "Latinos"? And my last question: WHERE, WHERE WHERE was the Black Caucus when those AMERICAN black workers were faced with illegal aliens (a known fact at the time) taking their jobs? WHERE? I have asked this last question many times to members of Congress. I have yet to get an answer.

This is a never ending story in this country today and yet amnesties, guest worker programs, 245i, the DREAM Act, drivers licenses for illegal aliens, in-state tuition, acceptance of the Matricula Consular card and anything else that will help dig the hole deeper for the American worker are being pushed on an unaware and ignorant populace. Everything for the immigrant and illegal alien but nothing, NOTHING for the American.

Congress should understand that people in California are angry and getting angrier. The recall of a governor was just the beginning unless something changes here in the capitol to end immigration anarchy. Our blue collar middle class is being destroyed by Washington policies -- first by allowing U.S. factories to be sent overseas and now by importing millions of excess foreign workers to gut the wage levels. Just how are working class Americans supposed to live? Oh, I forgot, become a computer programmer so the H1-B's can come in and displace us yet one more time.

* Los Angeles janitors end strike

www.wsws.org/articles/2000/apr2000/la-a26.shtml



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