Kevin Drum shares a great graphic on how low skill immigrants do the work Americans quite literally don't want to do. This is the fraction of workers remaining in agricultural jobs in months after starting:
As a proud American I'd like to make one suggestion against this telling a "lazy American" story and instead just telling a comparative advantage story (which I am more comfortable with!). The Mexican workers stay for almost twelve months. From the perspective of agriculture I find this interesting: they're obviously doing a lot more than just harvesting. Is it possible that Americans come on during the harvest season, when potentially higher wages are offered, and then leave for other opportunities outside the harvest season? That wouldn't be quite the same as just dropping the job, of course. It would be a fairly natural division of labor. The other prospect is that a lot of these are high school or college students picking up summer work.
I don't know, and perhaps there are details in the report. That just came to mind when I looked at it. But it's a really great graphic.
Migrants do all sorts of productive work here. It's ugly that otherwise respectable people think some migrants (usually high skill migrants) are more desirable than others. That should have been a mindset that we left in the past, but apparently it isn't.