Illegal Immigrants In Trucking??

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Jordan's Comment
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So i live in California and I hear many stores that some trucking companies hire illegal immigrants. Is this common for trucking companies to do this?

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Best Answer!

Well I haven't heard the "paranoid about Mexicans ruining trucking" thing for a while. It's a long-standing tradition in the industry. I've been hearing about it on the CB since '93 and I'm confident it went on long before that. But it's a fair concern, as are all concerns about anything that might hurt the career prospects in any industry. I would say there are other more pressing concerns for the future of trucking.

Lack Of Jobs In Our Economy Today

The decline of blue collar jobs started an influx of potential drivers into the industry over the past few decades. But nowadays it's not just blue collar jobs we're losing. It's jobs at every level. Technology has actually eliminated a lot of jobs that used to pay quite well and nowadays even college graduates are having the hardest time they've ever had finding work. Here's a chart showing unemployment rates amongst college graduates in recent years:

Chart of unemployment and underemployment rates of college graduates in the past 10 years

Self-Driving Trucks

If you would have asked me a couple of years ago what the prospects of self-driving trucks were I would have just laughed. Not because we weren't capable of pulling it off, but because the bureaucracy would not have allowed it. But the push for self-driving vehicles is making inroads. States are beginning to approve self-driving cars and trucks won't be far behind. Will the trucks completely drive themselves? No, not anytime soon. But drivers will begin kicking on the "autopilot" along the same lines as pilots do. If you look at wages for professional pilots, it's hard to fathom that truck drivers make more than the overwhelming majority of pilots. True, the pilots at the highest levels make more than truckers, but even those flying regional airlines are often making $25,000-$40,000 per year even with thousands of hours of professional experience and a cabin full of passengers. Simply kicking back and monitoring a self-driving truck obviously isn't going to help the wages for drivers any either.

Delivery Drones

Recently you had the First FAA Approved Drone Delivery Made In The U.S.. This technology was no surprise. We knew drones were here. But the fact that the Federal Government approved this flight shows that even the old-timers running our Government are open to the idea of new technologies doing things in new ways. Just like self-driving trucks, the technology isn't really the biggest hurdle. Bureaucrats are. But as is the case with self-driving cars and trucks it seems the Government is willing to step out of the way and allow these technologies to become viable commercial entities in the near future.

The Expanding Of The Panama Canal

They've nearly completed the expansion of the Panama Canal which will allow much larger ships to carry goods to the East Coast and Gulf Ports. There are a wide array of opinions on how the Panama Canal expansion will affect U.S. trucking industry but it seems that delivering more goods to ports closer to the final destination could reduce overall freight miles and reduce the average length of haul for loaded trucks. This doesn't necessarily mean less trucks on the road or fewer jobs, but it could certainly mean a regionalization of warehouse and factory locations and a shift in the number of Truck Driving Jobs in various sectors of the industry, especially intermodal.

Our Own Trucking Companies Are Keeping Wages Low

So you've heard there's a tremendous demand for drivers, right? Why is that? There are a million theories. But what it boils down to is that trucking companies are keeping wages at the lowest rate which will allow them to recruit the number of drivers they need. If they need more they can raise wages a bit. If they have plenty, they can lower wages a bit. This chart shows just how much truck driving wages have declined in recent years when adjusted for inflation:

A chart showing the decline in truck driver salaries when adjusted for inflation

So as you can see, truck drivers have plenty to worry about when it comes to the future of jobs and pay in this industry but I really don't believe Mexicans or any other foreigners coming to take those jobs is much of a threat. Bringing in cheap labor from outside of our borders would help keep wages down for sure but the laws make that an extremely difficult proposition. Not only that, but it doesn't solve the myriad of other problems like the increasing congestion on our roadways and the pollution from huge diesel engines. Several of the above proposals do indeed address those concerns though and are far more likely to be a threat in the coming years than an influx of foreigners.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Are there a lot of immigrants in trucking? Absolutely, and it's pretty easy to see why. Coming from countries where $100 a week is considered a fair wage, it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to see why they'd be drawn to an industry where you can start anywhere between $700-$900 a week in a very short amount of time.

That being said, I have a very hard time believing any significant number of them are in this country illegally. With as much federal oversight as the trucking industry is under, it would be prohibitively difficult for a company to obfuscate the immigration status of even one employee, let alone multiple. Hell, in the next year I'm going to be forced to scrounge up a copy of my birth certificate to show to the DOL when I renew my license, just to prove I'm a citizen. And I was born and raised here. But if I don't, I can kiss my class A and my job goodbye.

So yeah, all this xenophobic "dey terk our jerbs!" BS is pretty much just a bunch of blowhards making noise. If you actually want to look at who terk yer jerbs, look at the labels on your clothing, and the doorframe plate on your truck. See where all your textiles are now being made. See where your vehicles are now being assembled. It ain't in America.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

There are very few illegals in trucking. Proof of citizenship is required to get a CDL.

It is next to impossible for immigrants (legal or no) to get a work visa for a truck driving job. Trucking is classified by the U.S. Department of Labor as an "Unskilled Labor" job. Now before you get your panties all in a wad over that, there was considerable thought put into that classification, and they did that to protect your good American truck driver job from having your wages completely decimated by a large influx of foreign drivers.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
The Dude's Comment
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Great Answer!

I am a citizen of Saturn's 14th moon Enceladus, and Prime hired me.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Great Answer!

I don't know man. I just can't point the finger at someone who's willing to work harder than me, for less than I will, and say "you're the problem". Sounds like he's willing to compete harder than I am to build a great life for himself. I don't care what the paperwork says about their legality. If they come here and work their asses off, and they provide more value to an employer than I can, then it's time I step up my game I guess, isn't it?

I have pictures from a few generations back of women working with hand tools in the farm fields with babies strapped to their backs. Are you kidding me?? Can you imagine seeing someone with that type of fierce determination be sent back to a third world country because nobody stamped their paperwork? That's it? Really? Their crime was improper paperwork. So now their family is not allowed to have a better life in this country where poverty means two cars, two televisions, and iPhones for everyone in the family?

I've gotta give it to em......whatever they earn, they deserve it. They can have it. I'll find something else to do where I can provide enough value to compete.

And I don't care if they pay taxes. People paid in the lower percentile pay very little anyhow. It wouldn't make any difference in the outcome either way.

I guess I just put honest, hard work in front of all else. If you want to work your *ss of for a better life I'm behind ya all the way. It's a human issue to me, not a paperwork issue. I want to be surrounded by people of pride and integrity, not just people of legal citizenry.

Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I don't think it's fair to say that all illegals are super-hard-working and busting their @$$es to make a living, just as it's not fair to say that they are all lazy good-for-nothing criminals who are milking the system. But you can't deny that there are both kinds, plus everything in between.

The exact same thing can be said for a whole helluva lot of people who were born and raised in this country, though. It has nothing to do with where you were born. It's all about your own personal ethical code.

Their crime was improper paperwork.

Sounds like people trying to move around Soviet-era eastern Europe to me. Leave us not forget the famous line "my papers are in order!"

A system that the "other group which is large" contributes nothing to other than sales tax.

They're contribuing more than just sales tax. They're also contributing gas taxes--those that drive a vehicle, anyway. They're also putting money into the retail and food service sectors beyond sales taxes. After all, they need to eat and clothe themselves just like the rest of us, and the money they spend in stores and restaurants supports the wages of the people working in those establishments, just like the money you and I spend. Something like 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending, and Target and McDonald's don't segregate their revenue based on the immigration status of their customers. To say that illegal immigrants contribute "nothing" is absurd to say the least.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jessica A-M's Comment
member avatar

Maybe trucking companies that don't work within the law? You have to be a citizen to get your CDL A. I'm not sure if a temporary visa will even work. If one of those trucks got pulled for inspection, they'd be as screwed as screwed could be. It'd be nearly impossible to insure the trucks. Deportation, hefty fines, revocation of business license, jail time. More risk than it'd be worth.

I'm not entirely sure why you're concerned with this at all anyways?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

So i live in California and I hear many stores that some trucking companies hire illegal immigrants. Is this common for trucking companies to do this?

Why not? They get everything else handed to them on a silver platter. In California, this would truly not surprise me.

DOT OFFICER: "May I see your licence please?"

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: "No license."

DOT OFFICER: "Are you in this country illegally?"

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: "Sí."

DOT OFFICER: "I see... well lucky for you this is a sanctuary scale. Carry on amigo."

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: "Gracias!"

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I also think it's quite rare. I mean, it's a big country with a lot of people so anything that can be imagined is being attempted by someone, somewhere. But as Realist pointed out the consequences of getting caught doing something like that would be severe. But hey, that doesn't stop people from robbing banks!

confused.gifsmile.gif

Jessica A-M's Comment
member avatar

People who hire illegal immigrants are more likely to hire them into jobs that don't get regularly inspected and that they can fudge their paperwork for as it relates to tax purposes. Hiring them into trucking jobs is just begging for an inspection. You must be listening to the same stuff that Persian Conversion is.

Magoo's Comment
member avatar

It's a fair question. Not sure how work visas and the like work towards a CDL , but they work just fine to get licensed and bonded as installers. I work at a flooring warehouse and deal with levels and illegals everyday.

Not trying to get into a political or philosophical discussion but it IS a problem in this country and for some it could be as important a concern as CPM or home time.

But, I would think it would be tough to do or maintain for an extended period of time in this particular industry.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

I should clarify, my comment probably came off as insensitive, bigoted or even racist, even though I am none of those things. The comment was half in jest (well more like 3/4).

I don't want to start a big debate either, but if anyone wants to continue it, I'll keep throwing my 2 cents in. I've got plenty of spare change under the couch cushions in my head :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Are there a lot of immigrants in trucking? Absolutely, and it's pretty easy to see why. Coming from countries where $100 a week is considered a fair wage, it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to see why they'd be drawn to an industry where you can start anywhere between $700-$900 a week in a very short amount of time.

That being said, I have a very hard time believing any significant number of them are in this country illegally. With as much federal oversight as the trucking industry is under, it would be prohibitively difficult for a company to obfuscate the immigration status of even one employee, let alone multiple. Hell, in the next year I'm going to be forced to scrounge up a copy of my birth certificate to show to the DOL when I renew my license, just to prove I'm a citizen. And I was born and raised here. But if I don't, I can kiss my class A and my job goodbye.

So yeah, all this xenophobic "dey terk our jerbs!" BS is pretty much just a bunch of blowhards making noise. If you actually want to look at who terk yer jerbs, look at the labels on your clothing, and the doorframe plate on your truck. See where all your textiles are now being made. See where your vehicles are now being assembled. It ain't in America.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
See where your vehicles are now being assembled. It ain't in America.

Don't say that in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama (Honda), Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas (Toyota), and a few more states.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

There are very few illegals in trucking. Proof of citizenship is required to get a CDL.

It is next to impossible for immigrants (legal or no) to get a work visa for a truck driving job. Trucking is classified by the U.S. Department of Labor as an "Unskilled Labor" job. Now before you get your panties all in a wad over that, there was considerable thought put into that classification, and they did that to protect your good American truck driver job from having your wages completely decimated by a large influx of foreign drivers.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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