Little Recognized Power

Por Frank Herles Matos

Although representing below 12% of the North American population {1}, the 34.5 millions (see graphic below) of US residents that were born in other countries (including the 10.3 millions of naturalized citizens) is one of the reasons for the American prominence itself. Without this manpower, American would undoubtedly not stop, but pay a high price to adjust rates of basic services and products in the national market and regain competition for a number of products in the international markets.

This barely specialized (although with exceptions) and cheap (if compared to the native American’s average salary) manpower is one of the reasons for the American macroeconomic stability. Without it, cleaning, maintenance, gardening, cattle-keeping, construction, hotel, restaurant, tourism, nursing and other services would become much more costly. Products of thousands of small and medium companies that require a lot of body manpower, such as those in the field of basic food, would be more expensive in the national market and they would lose competition in the international markets.

Economic globalization has forced a reevaluation in production costs. Those who failed to reevaluate their own costs have broken, lost or never recovered competitiveness. That is the very reason why in the last 15 years hundreds of medium North American companies have ceased their activities in the United States and opened new offices in such countries as Mexico, South Korea, China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Brazil and others, where manpower is greatly cheaper.

The costs/competition equation was also responsible for motivating a range of big American companies to slow down investments in the United States and open new production facilities abroad. This company migration is based on both low-priced productions in foreign countries and sales with proper prices in the United States, whose national market has a 35% of the world purchase power.

The consequences of this money and work transnationalization are the weakening of labor unions, the increase in the level of best qualified workers’ unemployment, the reduction in less qualified workers’ salaries and the American macroeconomics rearrangement performed by the market itself.

The weakening of labor unions is a social retrogression for less qualified workers, but it is also a fact that forces the future generations of these workers to have better qualifications.

The increase in the unemployment rate of best qualified workers has ended up temporary and localized, because the macroeconomic rearrangement of the national American market has allowed several new companies to be formed, especially in the area of services, which has taken on a great deal of these unemployed.

Reductions in less qualified workers’ salaries were maintained and impact mainly those workers who were born in another country than the United States and around 80% of the American-born workers from the 1st and 2nd generation! The necessity to work to survive and the elevated costs of American university institutions brings circumstances that oblige most of them to quit studying after graduating from high school.

However, out of all the less qualified workers, those who are paying the most expensive price for the American wealth are the undocumented immigrants, the illegal currently residing in America (see Undocumented Immigrants in America). Such workers earn the lowest salaries and provide services Americans are no longer interested in by reason of both low salary and the kind of repetitive, manual and little specialized work.

With a view to a better future for themselves and their kids, the majority of the undocumented work between 50 And 90 hours per week with no sort of insurance, share an apartment or even a room to achieve to survive and have God as their only defender!

America should know better this mass of undocumented workers who in the name of hopes and dreams dare disobey the laws, experience tough times and inconceivable deprivations to the American people.


{1} Second to the US Census Bureau (, a person is Born in América every 8 seconds, another dies every 13 seconds and an immigrant enters the United States every 25 seconds. The outcome of this is the population increase at the rate of one person every 12 seconds. Based on this data, the US Census Bureau has estimated the American population in 292.287.454 people (1% more than in 2003), in January 1, 2004.

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