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October 31, 2007
MORE KAUS-STYLE ANECDOTAGE ON IMMIGRATION: Took my car to the car wash today. The work force used to be all Mexican; now there were no Mexicans to be seen. More results from even modest immigration enforcement? One downside: All the newly-hired American workers were kinda disorganized and slow compared to the old Mexican workforce. Maybe that will change with practice.
UPDATE: Reader James Paternoster thinks I'm too optimistic about the practice:
The roofers next door speak Spanish and work quickly, as at the carwash. There's a work ethic that must be as attractive to employers in the trades as the wages they can pay to illegals. Perhaps it's even a bigger factor than the wages: I wonder what Mickey Kaus thinks about that question. And whether Americans' experience with Mexican workers will raise expectations of tradespeople and manual workers generally? And whether that can lead to a better work ethic, or whether it will just lower the quality of service?
To be fair, these guys didn't seem lazy, just badly coordinated. But the work-ethic point is one I've heard a lot.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Steve DiSciullo emails: "The Mexicans are afraid of being fired and the Americans aren't, that's the difference."