Leisure Industry Considers New Idea (For It)—Hiring Americans!

For most Americans,

cherry blossoms
, warmer days and longer nights mark spring`s

In the patriotic immigration reform movement, however, we
know spring is here when the

Chamber of Commerce
and small businesses start to whine
about the lack of seasonal workers and the

urgent need
to issue more

H-2B visas

You know what will happen if the visas aren`t

won`t get made
, drinks won`t get poured, tables won`t be
cleared and

fruit will rot
in the


After a while—like ten years—this becomes comically boring to
read about. None of it ever comes true.

But as indicated by a recent New York Times story
(originally introduced to you by

Brenda Walker
in her blog

), the Main Stream Media never finds it too tedious to
write about.[Businesses
Face Cut In Immigrant Work Force,
By Katie Zezima,
New York Times
, March 14, 2008]

Interestingly, Zezima`s Times story takes us back to
Cape Cod, the scene of two 2004 columns I wrote debunking the
claim that no visas equals no boiled lobsters. Read them


. (And hear Patti Page sing “Old Cape Cod


In those columns, I also uncovered the leisure industry`s
feeble effort to find local workers to fill the jobs.

Unsurprisingly, little has changed. All predict doom and
gloom. One difference of note is that Times journalism
has hit a new low by relying heavily and without attribution on
a similar story written by

The Enterprise
of Cape Cod titled

Cape Braces For Effects Of Immigration Impasse
[Google cache version`] By Laura M. Reckford, Feb 15, 2008.

What`s most amazing about employers who plead “We can`t
find any workers
” is that, no matter what skeptics like me
propose, our solutions are always out of the question.

Look at Cape Cod as a case in point case.

  • If I propose

    hiring teenagers
    , possibly deserving kids from inner
    Boston, restaurateurs counter that they aren`t old enough to
    serve liquor.

  • How about

    college students
    , I ask? No good, they have to return to
    school in August, the season`s peak.

  • Have residents from the greater

    New England
    area been solicited? Sounds possible but
    there`s a housing shortage on the Cape. Where would they

  • Local

    ? If only…the problem is that senior citizens,
    so the story goes, aren`t looking for work and table waiting
    is too physically demanding.

Get it—the only answer to making sure tourists have an
abundant supply of lobster rolls this summer is—to issue more
H-2B visas

This is truly laughable, of course—especially to someone like
me, who has actually owned and operated restaurants.

  • Those teenagers—they can easily do
    kitchen prep, bus tables and serve meals. Let the
    21-year-olds mix cocktails. Read these two accounts from

    readers who remember in the 1980s and 1990s
    seeing teenagers work on the Cape at all sorts of odd jobs.


  • And not all college kids go back in
    August. Some can`t afford to finish college in four years
    without taking time off to work. Many, lured by the good
    tips they are certain to make, might be happy to stay on

    Labor Day
    . (On a good weekend night, the waiters and
    bartenders in my Seattle establishments walked away with
    $200 in tips—twenty years ago.)

  • If Cape Cod has a

    shortage of affordable housing
    , and it probably does,
    let the (American) employees double or triple up, a common
    practice for resort workers. And anyway, where did last
    year`s H-2B visa holders live?


  • No one single retiree is looking to
    supplement his income in this economy? That`s hard to
    believe! And as for the suggestion that hotel and restaurant
    work is “too physical,” that insult smacks of ageism.

What restaurant owners need to do is use the same creativity
they apply in menu preparation or devising

special promotional gimmicks
to finding American workers.

But since enough H-2B visas to satisfy the cheap labor crowd
will not be available this year, a glimmer of hope shines
through. We can thank, ironically, the

Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Because returning foreign-born workers were exempt from a cap
established in 2005 when Congress passed the

Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act
that President
George W. Bush signed, employers could depend the same labor
force from one season to the next.

A one-year extension to the original act expired on September
30, 2007.

But the
Hispanic Caucus
and its

pro-open borders
Congressional sympathizers


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
have blocked voting on another
extension that would continue to allow employers to rehire
foreign seasonal nonagricultural workers independent of the
original quota.

Pelosi and the Hispanic Caucus have made visas for seasonal
workers a bargaining chip in their battle for “comprehensive
immigration reform

They figure that putting the squeeze on small businesses will
dry up the cheap labor pool and that, therefore, the pressure
for more guest worker programs, amnesty and the inevitable “path
to citizenship
” will be intense.

The bottom line: “only” 33,000 visas for summer
workers and an equal number for winter workers, about half
120,000 granted last year.

Cape Cod will receive only 15 of the five thousand visas it

Cape Cod employers and other nearby businesses, facing the
likelihood that they will be unable to get sufficient H-2B visa
holders into the country, are doing what they should have done
long ago—look hard for Americans who live in their own backyard.

The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the

Cape and Islands Workforce Investment Board
have organized
job fairs on April 10th in Westport and April 14th
in Hyannis, hoping to find willing workers from the New Bedford
and Fall River areas, where unemployment rates are higher than
the national average.

(Interestingly, the fairs will stress the value of senior
citizen employees.)

Additionally, the

Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development
fund an outreach effort, including newspaper and radio
advertising, to raise awareness of the events.

Even the Chamber of Commerce (gasp!) is optimistic. Said

Wendy Northcross,
chief executive officer (e-mail)
of the

Cape Cod office
: "We hope that our H-2B dependent
employers will be able to fill slots with folks from these
Cape Businesses Target South Coast Workers
Sarah Shemkus, Cape Cod Times, March 26, 2008]

With luck, this summer, deserving Americans will serve you.

But whether they do or not, you can be sure of one thing. If
you want to holiday on Cape Cod and have the money to do it, you
won`t be turned away from any restaurant or hotel unless other
vacationers have beaten you to it.

I fearlessly base my prediction on the fact that despite a
decade of crying wolf not one single establishment in Cape Cod
or anywhere else has shut its doors.

And I`ll repeat my

2004 suggestion
that to build good will, summer businesses
on Cape Cod and other resort communities should advertise:

Except, of course, that it`s our future too.

Joe Guzzardi [e-mail
him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor.
In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has
been writing
a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive