In the past I have documented how, far from “doing jobs that Americans won’t do”, Mexican and Central American immigrants have actually pushed American workers out of jobs that they were doing both in the southeast and northwest of the country. The New York Times reports that the same is true of the chicken processing plants in the South:
By the end of the 1960s, black workers predominated on the lines.
It was an important win for African-Americans looking for an alternative to housework in wealthy white homes, or for those who had seen fieldwork dry up in an increasingly mechanized agricultural sector.
“The chicken plant,” Dr. Stuesse quoted a civil rights veteran saying, “replaced the cotton field.”
But as American chicken consumption boomed in the 1980s, manufacturers went in search of “cheaper and more exploitable workers,” Dr. Stuesse wrote, chiefly Latin American immigrants.
At the time, the Koch plant in Morton was owned by a local company, B.C. Rogers Poultry, which organized efforts to recruit Hispanics from the Texas border as early as 1977. Soon, the company was operating a sizable effort it called “The Hispanic Project,” bringing in thousands of workers and housing them in trailers.
and when recent immigration raids on those plants resulted in jobs opening up, black workers were eager to take them.