IN-DEPTH: More money out of your pocketbook due to lack of migrant workers

Central Texas benefits from migrant employees in construction sector
Posted at 5:14 PM, Dec 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 01:13:35-05

WACO, TEXAS — In Waco, immigrants make up a large number of workers and Title 42 made it difficult to fill jobs. Asylum seekers can legally work in the United States while waiting for their asylum case. They can apply for work permits; it usually takes 180 days before they are authorized.

There are 10.3 million open jobs in the U.S. - 377,000 in construction and 1.6 million in hospitality. That number is on the rise.

How Central Texas is Affected (Numbers provided by
2019 American Community Survey data.)

In El Paso the number one question asked is "Do you have any work I can do?".

The question is asked by people like 40-year-old Marcus, who traveled by foot for months from Nicaragua.

While traveling he took in Carlos, who's just 19 years old.

"We would protect each other," Marcus said.

Both said they were here in the U.S. to escape violence and to look for work.

"We would sleep in the park or wherever we find a spot," said Marcus.

The decrease in legal immigration in the last two years has hurt American businesses. The lack of available workers pushed wages higher which contributed to higher inflation.

“The combination of a plunge in net immigration and a surge in deaths during the pandemic probably accounts for about one-and-a-half million missing workers,” said Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, last month on CNN.

Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 dropped just before Christmas.

Several Democrats and moderate Republicans wanted to pass a long-term spending bill before the new GOP-led House took over.

Two immigration-related measures were dropped. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act was set to change immigration rules for farmworkers and would place caps on their wages in exchange.

A “certified agricultural worker” status would have been able to stay in the United States for 5.5 years and could be extended. After certain requirements were met, those workers would be able to apply for permanent-resident status.

Migrants in El Paso remain in Limbo just before Christmas

While this didn't help construction companies it could have been helpful to farmers and Americans' pocketbooks.

You're now spending 20% more for dinners this year. This is including 21% more for meats, milk, and eggs.

The other bill dropped was the protection of 2 million “Dreamers”— undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors.