One strong and persistent pull of foreign workers to the United States is the availability of jobs. The labor market has always demanded huge pools of both skilled and unskilled workers. Labor and government have often acted together to procure additional human resources through the use of immigration legislation. Nativistic government and business frequently seek immigrants to help build the country, but they do not want them to stay and become permanent citizens ( Ross & Weintraub, 1982). Nevertheless, immigrants have had major impacts on the U.S. labor market. In many instances they have reduced overall production costs in factories because they usually work excessively long hours for very low wages. And because foreign workers are not citizens, they are unable to join labor unions. Without recourse to union protection, foreign workers are essentially at the mercy of their employers ( Asher & Stephenson, 1990).
The admittance of large numbers of foreign workers into the United States has always been viewed with ambivalence by Americans. This attitude was summed up concisely in a 1992 U.S. General Accounting Office report entitled Immigration and the Labor Market: "There is widespread interest in the entry of alien workers into the American work force. Some see foreign workers as a solution to problems with the size or capability of our work force, while others are concerned over threats to jobs of U.S. workers" (p. 1). But in spite of the concerns that have frequently been voiced by American workers over the importation of foreign labor, business leaders tend to have a different view of the situation. Foreign workers usually enter the U.S. workforce in the most menial positions, often in service industries or as agricultural workers, even if they held higher positions in their native land.