The Culture Clash in South Central L.A.

By Terry Anderson
Volume 7, Number 1 (Fall 1996)
Issue theme: "'Anchor babies' - the citizen-child loophole"

Pro-immigrant groups say the jobs immigrants are taking are jobs that black Americans don't want. Why is it then, that when you go outside Southern California or Texas - to Phoenix, say, or Washington - you see black people holding the same jobs they used to hold here in Los Angeles? Black people want to work. But the jobs they used to have, paying $5 to $7 an hour for unskillcd labor, now go to immigrants for $3 an hour.

In the late 1970s, I used to sell parts to body shops, and I knew Americans who were making $20 an hour repairing dented fenders. Now 95 percent of South-Central L.A. body shop jobs are held by recent immigrants making $7 or $8 an hour. People claim these savings are passed on to the consumer, but in most cases the savings go in the shop owner's pocket. In the meantime, taxpayers are footing the bill for services to immigrants, including education, which costs an average $5,000 a year per child in California.

Pro-immigrant groups avoid the subject of real jobs like those at body shops. They invariably bring up the question of who will pick the grapes if you stop immigration. It's true that Americans won't do that work for slave wages. If we tightened up the welfare system and paid Americans decent wages, those immigrants would not have to be brought in at all. There would be plenty of Americans who would either want those jobs or have to take them."We have schools here that used to be 80 to 90 percent black and now ... are 80 to 90 percent Latino. As this trend spreads, blacks either can move to other neighborhoods or watch their children stuck in schools listening to Spanish all day."

Immigrant Crashes

Four people were killed and 27 hurt in two crashes of vans packed with people suspected of illegally entering the U.S. Border Patrol agents in Honey Springs, Calif., 20 miles north of the Mexican border, watched a van filled with at least 20 people run a stop sign, officials said. Agents let it go, citing no-pursuit rules intended to prevent fatal crashes. Still, the driver missed a turn 5 miles west, smashed into three parked cars and went through a window at a service station. One person was killed and twelve were hurt. Seven people were arrested.

Three people were killed and 15 hurt after the driver of their Chicago-bound van fell asleep at the wheel while driving near Blanding, Utah, 10 miles north of Arizona, police said. The driver said the occupants were Mexicans who illegally crossed the border and were en route to Chicago.

- USA Today, June 13, 1996