Moronic Border Vigilantes Scare Off Needed Labor (Malaysia Edition)

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Malaysia spent October through February forcing out 380,000 illegal immigrants. Those who wouldn't leave voluntarily were hunted down by vigilantes. The result:

Plantations, construction sites and factories have ground to a halt. The restaurant business has been hit badly too. Illegal migrant workers made up more than 10 percent of Malaysia's workforce. It turns out the Malaysian economy was relying on the immigrants to do menial jobs most Malaysians will not.

The Independent reports that the country is now begging for their return. So far, no such luck:

Of the 380,000 who left, fewer than 40,000 have come back. Stories of mothers clutching their babies in their arms being forced out of their homes by the vigilantes when the amnesty expired may have contributed to their reluctance.

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  1. Sign of things to come?? I dare say that Bush might be right on this topic…(atleast, partially?)

  2. I would think, however, that in terms of population Malaysia would find it harder to replace expelled immigrant labor than the U.S. would. That doesn’t mean I don’t support illegal immigrants working honest jobs here; I just meant that Malaysia has a smaller labor pool to work with.

    Or perhaps the government Malaysia realized they now have 300,000 armed vigilantes with nothing to do!

  3. I knew Bush was right on that one. He is right on so many things I wouldn’t expect him to be, that when he is wrong on things like Campaign reform and Medicare, and steele tarifs, I have to wonder, does he have a hidding right agenda?

  4. I expect Vicente Fox to say “I told you so” at any minute.

  5. MAybe those armed vigilantes can go work in the factories, construction sites and as dishwashers. They got rid of the old holders of those jobs. Now it’s time for them to make up for the lost labor.

  6. As much as I like Mexicans, and I am with Bush on immigration and all, those vigilantes were pretty cool. True American spirit. God bless them

  7. Lonewacko should be along soon to explain why this doesn’t apply to America.

  8. Lonewacko’s flight from Malaysia lands in an hour!

  9. They should print out a copy of this article and distribute it to each and every single one of the Minutemen.

  10. Look, those so-called thugs were just defending their sovereignty and the Malaysian way of life. There’s nothing wrong with insisting that immigrants to a developing country obtain their work visas the old-fashioned way, by paying bribes to local authorities.

  11. I consider myself pro (controlled) immigration, but I am often confused by the “they do jobs X won’t do argument.” Are there really job only immigrants will do, or is it that only people without better opportunities will do these jobs at such low wages?

    In MD they are complaining that without immigrants there will be no one to process seafood. I would think that if the wages were increased to some level, they could find people willing to do the work. This would of course increase the cost of seafood, but isn’t that the way it is supposed to work? The price would go up, salaries would reflect the balance between what the job is worth to the owner and what people are willing to accept to do the job. Might even reduce the over fishing problem….

    Please understand that I think immigration is a good thing, by and large, but I am somewhat offended by the argument that Americans are to lazy to do some work. I wouldn’t work in a seafood plant for $5/hour, but I might for $20.

    In short, I have no problem with the “they will work for less” argument, which I find to be true and reasonable but the “They do the jobs Americans (Malaysians, whatever) won’t do.” doesn’t fly.

    Or am I missing something?

  12. If my math is right, then they should only need 40,000 of ’em back. They can just take the 300,000 vigilantes, give them the jobs vacated by the expelled workers, and that would only leave 40,000 more jobs to fill (factoring in the 40,000 who have already come back, according to the article).

    Vigilantes of Malaysia, you now have your jobs back!!! So lay down your weapons and get to work drying those dishes!

  13. Anvilwyrm,

    A. I think you’ve accurately assessed the argument made by most people for immigrant labor: It isn’t the people won’t do the crappy jobs illegals do, it’s that those jobs don’t pay sufficiently enough for others to swallow their dignity, show up and do them.

    B. What are the origins of your excellent user name?

  14. I am a blacksmith in my free time, and my name is Jim. There used to be a cool cartoon/videogame called “Earthworm Jim” hence Anvilworm Jim. Worm became Wyrm as dragons are cooler than worms, and fit in better with blacksmithing (fire, power, etc)

    Now aren’t you sorry you asked? ­čśë

  15. There’s another factor here: Many (not all, maybe not even most, but many) of the native-born Americans who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale (and hence candidates for crappy jobs) are at the bottom due in part to lack of good work habits: Showing up on time, working hard, not talking back or giving attitude, etc.

    Sure, there are motivated people who just lack education or technical skills, and some are high school and college students who just aren’t qualified for anything else yet. But the fact remains that there’s a big population of people that don’t make very good employees, and many of them aren’t exactly very motivated to search too hard for jobs. Even the ones who want a job are frequently flaky. (I see it all the time at the homeless shelter where I volunteer.) No matter what you pay them, a lot of them will find it tough to shed flakiness and/or attitude.

    On the other hand, an illegal immigrant with no education is still a guy who was willing to give his life savings to a coyote and risk his life in the desert so he could go work his ass off.

    Those people are desirable workers. Even if they lack technical skills, good work habits and motivation are invaluable in their own right. And many of them are manually skilled and command above minimum wage.

    Immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, tend to be highly motivated.

  16. it’s that those jobs don’t pay sufficiently enough for others to swallow their dignity, show up and do them.

    Isn’t think a circular argument? We need immigrants need to do these jobs because the salaries are low, but the salaries are low because someone (immigrants) are willing to do them at that price. If no one would do the job $5/hour, the wage would have to rise to the point where someone would do it.

    Imagine some fantasy world where all the immigrants went *poof* (’cause it ain’t happening any other way) Would the crabs really go unshelled, or would crab meat just rise to $12/oz? And only until some one came up with a “better” method of getting the meat out of the crab?

    The argument isn’t “americans won’t do the jobs” it’s “you don’t want to pay what it would cost for americans to do those jobs.”

  17. Thoreau,

    The immigrant point is a good one. I expect the immigrants who make it here are the ones who are motivated/smart/desperate enough to try to improve their situation.

    But on the other, if the wages were higher wouldn’t they pull a “better” class of applicant? I have no doubt that a $5/hour mexican is a better worker than at $5/hour american, but how do they compare to a $10/hour american? Or $15?

    I think the cost argument is a valid one, I just have trouble with the Motivation argument.

  18. Anvilwyrm,

    Isn’t there a continual, long standing MD crab-picking and packing industry on the Chesapeake islands? (I’m thinking of Smith Island and Tangier Island specifically) It was my understanding that this is the only industry available on these islands, and one of the sole ways that women in island families can earn a cash wage, and that there was no immigrant labor involved.

    Here’s one link I found : http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/mar98/crab.html

  19. Keith,

    I am really not sure. I am a VA resident who can’t stand seafood, so my qualifications are suspect at best. I was trying to use this an example.

    A couple of search turned up many articles which seem to say that immigrants are now hugley important in the industry.

    http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0305/210435.html

    http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2005/05_11-47/GOV

  20. I wonder if the Mara Philitrucha was decapitating former members that cooperated with the police?

    Was graffiti in Hindi covering every square inch of wall in their urban areas?

  21. Would the crabs really go unshelled, or would crab meat just rise to $12/oz?

    In some industries the former, others the latter. I don’t know about crabs, but surely many other products would just stop being produced/harvested/whatever in the US. You all want $10/hr to pick apples? Nevermind, we’ll import apples from Chile. You want $20 to mow lawns? Screw that, I’ll do it myself.

  22. Not even black people will take those Malaysian jobs.

  23. Those of you who support illegals coming across the border obviously do not live in Los Angeles, Mexico. I don’t believe Jose, Pedro or Miguel have ever heard of the word libertarian.

    Repeat after me: IMMIGRANTS DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY.

  24. IMMIGRANTS DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY

    Which is why they ignore the law and go get a job in America despite the government telling them not to.

  25. I’m convinced there are plenty of poor Americans who would do the jobs illegals do, if it were allowed. But because those jobs don’t pay the minimum wage (and in some cases, they also violate OSHA regulations), the people who offer the jobs won’t dare hire anyone BUT illegals who don’t dare complain about the violations.

    So the direct result of all those well-meaning labor laws is that the illegals come here — and that the jobs go to them.

    I urge everyone out there who is incensed about the flood of illegals (I’m not, FWIW) to write the liberals in Congress and demand repeal of those labor laws that have caused the whole mess.

  26. Thoreau – That is HILARIOUS!

  27. If we eliminated welfare and SDI for all but the truly needy (which in the welfare community I grew up in, was much less than half, the rest was downright fraud–disability for drug addiction, give me a fucking break!), I bet those jobs that only immigrants would do would be filled by hungry Americans. I’m not against immigration, but the “jobs Americans won’t do” is total bullshit. Anyone else notice the increase in teenage unemployment? I did every shitty job under the sun growing up in the 70s and 80s. Hell, I even did some of that shitty work when I was in grad school–I had a fucking bachelor’s degree! I’m all for legal immigrants, but illegal immigration is fucked up.

    By the way, it’s not anti-libertarian to be anti-open-borders. I don’t see a lot of libertarians leaving their front doors open to the world. The argument that Americans collectively (God, I hate that you made me use that word!) have property rights to the US is just as valid as you having property rights to your house.

    Anyway, eliminate all social programs including public education, and I’ll go along with open borders.

  28. “Anyway, eliminate all social programs including public education, and I’ll go along with open borders.”

    Amen

    Well, still not completely open borders, I like that they have to sneak across. That way only the very driven, motivated ones come here.

  29. Anvilwyrm:
    You’re probably right for a large swath of jobs, but there are also very likely jobs that aren’t worth doing at the rates you’d have to pay to attract enough native workers. So either the jobs wouldn’t exist at all, or many fewer would exist, if immigrants were’nt doing them.

  30. I’m going to be redundant here, but I thought I should throw in my two cents as a former Restaurant worker.
    There are jobs, involving the processing of seafood (Cleaning squid, peeling shrimp), that are jobs that most americans will simply not do for 5/10/15 dollars and up. It’s nasty work and it’s not the kind of thing that you can loaf around at. As Thoreau and others said, you have to be a motivated worker to do these jobs. Why would a new worker in America do them when they could stand around in the GAP folding shirts and listening to techno for the same amount of money? Unfortunately, seafood processing is best done at the place where the seafood is consumed since seafood rots faster than anything. It is one of the only work opportunities that might be immune to the “They’ll do it in Chile” argument, at least where upscale seafood is concerned.

  31. mk,
    you can freeze that crap right? I mean how else to they have such good sea food restaurants in Nevada?

  32. kwais,
    Yes they can and often do, but that is why I said upscale restaurants. Even the fancy seafood is frozen at some point, but upon processing there is spoiling so nicer places process the seafood in-house where it goes from being shucked straight to the pan. Believe me it makes a difference.

    Especially when we are talking about places like Kinkead’s and the Palm (where senators eat :))

  33. MK is right about most Americans being unwilling to do some jobs. If I had a choice between say telephone customer service (bleargh) at $8 an hour, and working in the nearby meat packing plant (I live in Iowa) for $14 an hour, I would do the telemarketing. I’m not at all certain I would be willing to work in a meat packing plant for $30 an hour, and I can’t imagine the company could afford to pay that much. The work is dirty, demanding, and somewhat dangerous. But if you don’t speak any English, you may not have the option of working in customer service.

  34. IMMIGRANTS DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY

    “Which is why they ignore the law and go get a job in America despite the government telling them not to.”

    Which government is telling them not to come? Ours?!

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