Chipotle's Latino firing binge: Comment of the day

Do illegal immigrants depress American wages?

Do illegal immigrants depress American wages?

We're not going to solve the illegal immigration debate here and now, but the story we broke yesterday about Chipotle going on a mass-firing binge of Latino workers prompted some smart comments from some of our readers.

We want to highlight one.


"John" argues that U.S. wages are depressed by American companies that hire undocumented workers, and that the system is a lose-lose proposition for all involved. That's not a universally-held belief. You can find a good discussion about the issue by clicking here, and here. But we applaud the fact that he didn't launch into a Neanderthal rant to make his points.

Here's what "John" wrote.

It is false to say illegal immigration is necessary or does not affect things in this country. If illegals are doing for $8 what US citizens/legal residents will only do for $15, the market wage has been lowered by the illegal labor. But for the illegal option, employers would be forced to pay the market rate of $15/hr if that is what a willing employee will accept for the position. Instead, with plentiful illegal labor, employers can pay what is an acceptable wage in the location of the immigrant's origin provided it is above the minimum wage. Illegal labor allows employers to essentially pay outsourced wages right here in the US without the trouble of moving a facility outside the country. In the case of a restaurant, the place of employment could not be moved outside the country so illegal immigration is great for corporate profits and because it facilitates low labor costs of quasi-outsourcing. However, this is really bad for the citizen/legal resident working stiff. Also, illegal labor can be easily exploited because the employees not only face the usual threat of being fired but also the threat of being deported. That may be a huge issue for illegal's who have been in this country for years and have families here. In a nut shell, illegal labor messes up the market and helps the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Read our original story by clicking here.