Poor migrants work for as little as $5 per hour and drown in flooded New York basements, according to two articles by seven reporters in Sunday’s online Washington Post.
But neither Washington Post article mentioned the federal government’s role in creating the high-migration, low-wage economy that delivered the poor migrants — and pushed many Americans — into New York’s submerged apartments.
One small portion of the toll was sketched on Sunday, in the September 5 Washington Post:
When the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped seven inches of rain on the New York City area in about three hours … 11 of the 13 people who were killed were found in basement apartments that, in most cases, were never legally converted into residential space.
Most of the dead were immigrants; they’d come to New York from Trinidad, Nepal and China. They were busboys and kitchen helpers and 7-Eleven clerks, and in a city where apartments rent for far more than many immigrants’ first jobs pay, the only [affordable] housing they’d been able to find was below ground.
The federal government’s immigration policy deliberately extracts legal and illegal workers, consumers, and renters from many poor countries so they can be exploited by U.S. employers, landlords, and investors. Those migrants cluster into coastal cities, pushing up rents for migrants and Americans alike.
The four authors of the article — Stephanie Lai, Vera Haller, Samira Sadeque, Marc Fisher — did not acknowledge the government’s delivery of migrant victims to the flood.
Instead, they invited New York leaders to blame the drownings on other aspects of the federal migration problem, such as the city’s inability to enforce housing rules, or the possibility that federal migration laws might be enforced:
“At least 100,000 people — and there’s a strong possibility there’s a lot more — are living in those apartments,” Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Friday. “So many people who end up in the illegal basements are fearful to communicate for fear they might be evicted or, worse in their mind, deported.”
But for many years, New York’s elite praised the inflow of migrants for boosting the city’s wealth.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: A family in New Jersey escapes after floodwaters from Ida come crashing through the wall of their basement pic.twitter.com/d1HJxbwVAW
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) September 3, 2021
The New York Times posted a similar article on September 2, which also remained silent about the federal government’s role in the drowning of migrants — and of poor Americans — in New York’s cheap basements:
In one of the most expensive housing markets in the world, they have offered low-income New Yorkers, including many working-class families who work in restaurants and hotels, affordable places to live. The basement apartments also provide some extra income for small landlords, many of whom are also immigrants.
Deborah Torres, who lives on the first floor of a building in Woodside, Queens, said she heard desperate pleas from the basement apartment of three members of a family, including a toddler, as floodwaters rushed in. A powerful cascade of water prevented anyone from getting into the apartment to help — or anyone from getting out. The family did not survive.
Like the Post, the New York Times downplayed the poor Americans who are forced by government-engineered high rental costs to live in basement apartments. Four reporters wrote the New York Times article – Mihir Zaveri, Matthew Haag, Adam Playford, and
An unconfirmed report of people in a flooded basement brought police to a Woodside home. Without special equipment they made valiant efforts. Locked doors, rising water level & live electricity forced the officers to call for the @FDNY. (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/zlbw828pvP
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) September 5, 2021
The Washington Post‘s second article on Sunday, September 5, described the economic conundrum where roughly 8 million Americans are refusing to return to their low-wage jobs:
At heart, there is a massive reallocation underway in the economy that’s triggering a “Great Reassessment” of work in America from both the employer and employee perspectives. Workers are shifting where they want to work — and how. For some, this is a personal choice. The pandemic and all of the anxieties, lockdowns and time at home have changed people. Some want to work remotely forever. Others want to spend more time with family. And others want a more flexible or more meaningful career path. It’s the “you only live once” mentality on steroids. Meanwhile, companies are beefing up automation and redoing entire supply chains and office setups.
[Cindy] Lehnhoff has been helping a child care center in northern Virginia recruit more staff. Their infant room remains closed, because they don’t have enough people, and one of their veteran workers was just poached by a nearby elementary school. As she spoke with The Washington Post, Lehnhoff pored over the Indeed.com job portal. It showed more than 2,000 job posts in the Fairfax County, Va., area for child care teaching assistants. Most paid $12 to $13 an hour, a bit less than many nearby fast food restaurants and retail stores.
The article has three authors — Heather Long, Alyssa Fowers, and Andrew Van Dam — but not one mention of immigration.
The federal government has inflated the annual new labor supply by at least 15 percent per year since around 1995. President George W. Bush promoted cheap migrant labor, and President Barack Obama invited Central American job seekers to ask for asylum. The result was a massive inflow of cheap labor and an economic bubble of low-wage jobs.
That bubble burst once President Donald Trump, the coronavirus, and federal unemployment aid slashed the supply of Americans and migrants who were willing to take the low-wage jobs.
In response, companies are now raising wages and buying labor-saving machines to help employees do more work. But the employers are also demanding yet more migrants to do the low-wage work Americans refuse to do.
In response, the labor bubble is being inflated again by President Joe Biden and his progressives deputies, including homeland security chief Alejandro Mayorkas.
They are pulling hundreds of thousands of migrants across the union line that marks the borders of the United States.
They have restarted the policy of extraction migration, and are likely to add roughly 1.6 million migrants during 2021. That global race for Americans’ jobs includes tens of thousands of Afghans, and hundreds of thousands of people from Central America, including at least 25,000 older teenage boys who are deemed “Unaccompanied Alien Children.”
The flood of new labor allows employers to refill many of the low-wage jobs — the restaurant jobs, the subcontractors’ day-labor jobs, the meatpacking jobs, delivery jobs, the construction jobs, and many more.
Biden knows a tight labor market is good for Americans. Judges have directed him to protect Americans by barring job-seeking migrants from crossing the 50-state union’s line. Multiple polls show his policies are increasingly unpopular.
Yet his deputies — such as immigration zealot Mayorkas — continued to pull global migrants into the U.S. labor market, where many are happy to earn $7.50 for their hourly labor.
But this big-picture macroeconomics story is hidden by the Washington Post, which prefers to miniaturize and personalize every aspect of immigration policy.
Washington Post author Maria Sacchetti, for example, posted a third article on Sunday that allows amnesty lobbyists to praise and flatter Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for promising to push an amnesty through Congress.
But Sacchetti does not even refer to the economic damage done to Americans by companies’ government-granted ability to hire millions of illegal foreign workers, nor the windfall gains that go to wealthy employers, investors, and coastal cities, such as New York. Her article does not quote a single critic of cheap-labor migration.
Instead, she builds her article on personal stories, such as an illegal-migrant couple that lost their low-wage jobs when the coronavirus shut down the city:
“We went to bed and the city woke up paralyzed,” said Maria Mejia, who dreams of becoming a U.S. citizen and opening her own buffet-style restaurant. “But the city kept going. And who kept it going? We did. The undocumented.”
But those personal stories lift the corner on the city’s welcome for low-wage, rent-paying migrants:
[Mejia’s] husband returned to work at a mom-and-pop supermarket last year, but like many undocumented immigrants, he has no health insurance, no overtime pay and no vacation time. He is paid $5 an hour, six days a week. The official minimum wage in New York is $15 an hour.
Another migrant, Oscar Lopez, 34, works as an “air-conditioner installer,” wrote Sacchetti. “He hadn’t returned to Mexico since he left 17 years ago. He needs the $21-an-hour job that pays his family’s expenses in both countries.”
Glassdoor reports that New York’s HVAC technicians earn roughly $31 per hour.
But Sacchetti does recognize that New York’s government welcomes the poor migrants who crowd into the city’s real estate market:
New York has attempted to integrate undocumented immigrants, providing them legal aid, issuing them city identification cards and state driver’s licenses, and creating a $2.1 billion state fund for “excluded” workers ineligible for federal pandemic aid.
The lobbying campaign has urged Democrats to not talk about the economic impact of migration, and manipulated coverage by the TV networks and the print media. The network is also funding online ads praising Schumer for promising to push the amnesty through the Senate this year.
The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. His fast-growing retail empire gains from the government’s inflow of additional consumers and workers.