Trump's immigration crackdown will hit these employers hardest

Article written by John Schoen, CNBC, February 22, 2017

It remains to be seen just how far the Trump administration will go in deporting undocumented U.S. workers.

But some industries and employers will feel the impact much harder — and sooner — than others.

The administration released official guidelines Tuesday that make almost all undocumented immigrants subject to deportation. The new directives create an uncertain future for an estimated 11 million undocumented U.S. workers — and their people and companies that employ them.

The share of undocumented workers had already begun falling well before the Trump administration came into office. Thanks to a strong labor market in Mexico, more people have been moving from the U.S. to Mexico than from Mexico to the U.S. for years, despite Trump's insistence that immigrants are "flooding over the border" into the country.

Now, a crackdown on undocumented workers will accelerate that flow out of the United States, leaving some industries and employers scrambling to fill jobs in an already tight U.S. labor market.

While some undocumented workers have moved from blue-collar jobs to higher-paid white-collar positions, the majority are concentrated in low-skilled, low-wage employment, according to researchers at the Pew Research Center.

Those include jobs in the hospitality, manufacturing and construction industries, according to the Pew study.

That concentration of unauthorized workers in a relatively few industries and occupations means those employers will be hit hard by a rapid boost in deportations.

Among landscapers, private households, clothing makers and farmers, more than one in five workers is undocumented, the Pew researches estimated.

Opponents of allowing undocumented workers to remain the U.S. have argued that those workers are displacing U.S.-born job seekers.

While Trump has pledged to create more opportunities for those "forgotten" Americans, many of the jobs held by unauthorized workers are low-paid.

Among the most common are drywall installers, farm workers, roofers and housekeepers, according to the Pew study.

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