More Cape Cod Clamoring For Cheap Labor
The immigration reform movement is
succeeding because so many arguments made by our
immigration enthusiast foes simply do not pass the smell
An excellent example is the brouhaha
that Cape Cod employers created about what they allege is
a shortage of employees willing to work seasonal summer
“jobs Americans won`t do.”
When I first reported on this for
VDARE.COM on March 19th 2004, [Abolishing
New England: Cheap Labor vs. College Kids] little
did I know that debate was just heating up.
Three months ago, Cape Cod
businesses made their annual claim that no employees were
available locally. Translation: no local employees are
work for peanuts and be
forced to log overtime without appropriate
Cape Cod employers whined that, to
keep their businesses open, an increase in the number of
H-2B visas from the existing cap of 66,000 to 100,000
But I discovered that no serious
effort had been made to recruit local kids—at any
Although New England is home to
universities, I found no Cape Cod jobs posted on any
of the dozens of college websites I scanned.
What`s happened in the ninety days
since my original column appeared is an astounding
demonstration of how far Cape Cod employers will
go—literally and figuratively—not
to hire Americans.
Instead of bowing to the inevitable
by tapping nearby college kids, the Cape Cod employers
looked for relief from Capitol Hill and Massachusetts
Never one to disappoint the business
community when it comes to cheap labor, Kennedy
Safe, Orderly and Legal Visas Enforcement Act of 2004
in early May. SOLVE would not only increase the H-2B visa
cap, it would create a new temporary visa, the H-1D. ()
But because more sensible
legislators seem leery of unpopular bills that bring in
overseas workers in a time of
high unemployment, the Solve Act bogged down in
Feeling thwarted, a Massachusetts
delegation of labor and tourist officials flew to the
Virgin Islands—where residents are
US citizens— to see if it could round up some
unsuspecting workers to sign up for low-paying gigs on
In New England Raise V.I. Hopes, Concerns, By Don
Buchanan, St. Croix Source, USVI.]]
But Virgin Island officials were one
step ahead of the delegation. They insisted
that their workers earn a living wage, receive
adequate housing and transportation, work in
satisfactory conditions and be treated with dignity.
citizens are first class, bona fide US citizens. We want
to make sure they aren`t treated like migrant workers,"
said Cecil Benjamin, Virgin Islands
Commissioner of Labor.
Apparently, they know the score on the Virgin Islands.
Benjamin`s modest request for decent treatment proved a
problem for the delegation.
Stone, owner of the
Lighthouse Inn: "It would require us to pay quite
a bit of money up front with no guarantee that the
employee would stay with us."[New
England Job Fair in the Territory Won`t Happen by
Don Buchanan, St. Croix Source, USVI]
Cape Cod delegation was trying to sell itself in the
Virgin Islands, eight Cape Cod businesses
brought a lawsuit in Boston U.S. District Court
against the US Labor Department, the state Department of
Workforce Development, and the US Citizenship and
Immigration Services, claiming the government had
unfairly prevented their organizations from obtaining the
visas critical to their continued operation.
June 9th Judge George A. O`Toole Jr. declined to issue an
order in support of the plaintiffs. [Cape
firms denied on visas By Diane E. Lewis,
Boston Globe, June 10, 2004]
- Cape Cod employers will not hire Americans—period!
effort to avoid hiring Americans, they will however:
- Hire lobbyists to promote more H-2B visas.
- Travel to the Virgin Islands to try to con people
to work for substandard compensation;
- Hire lawyers to bring legal action against branches
of the federal government
time they have covered all their costs to avoid hiring
Americans, the Cape Cod industries could pay $15 an hour
I spoke with
Professor Andrew Sum from Boston`s Northeastern
University about the Cape Cod phenomenon. Sum is the
author of a recent report titled
“Youth Shut Out by Labor Market” and published by
the Center for Labor Market Studies.
Isn`t there some way, I asked Sum,
unemployed youth in the Boston area could be hired by the
“desperate” Cape Cod businesses?
Sum told me that, while there were
unique problems to seasonal Cape Cod work, if there were
a sincere interest in using
local labor, it could be done.
late 1980s and early 1990s, businesses bussed kids in
from New Bedford and Fall River to work on the Cape,”
Sum told me.
When I inquired why the practice
ended, Sum said that the employers were no longer willing
to pay the bus fare.
As we know, by that time immigrant
labor—both legal and illegal—had become a force in the
Why even pay bus fare when you can
Michael Guignard is a retired
Foreign Service Officer who has studied the H-2B visa
extensively. Guignard told me:
H-2B visa for this summer is essentially dead…To get an
H-2B worker is a long and arduous process. First the
application is sent to the local or state Dept. of Labor,
then it goes to the Regional U.S. Dept. of Labor ETA,
then an I-129 petition must be filed with USCIS. Then
the petition approval must be mailed to the applicants
who have to go and apply for a visa. And there is no
guarantee that the visa will be issued if the U.S. Consul
believes that the applicants will violate their
immigration visas. This entire process takes at least 4
Now push has come to shove.
Businesses that darkly predicted they would have to fold
their tents without more H-2B workers are three weeks
into the summer—and still operating.
If those Cape Cod businesses remain
viable for the next three months—as they most certainly
will—all that crying about how vital H-2B visas are will
be exposed as nothing but crocodile tears.
And the immigration reform movement
will have a solid example that there is no need crank up
the visa process every time an employer shouts, “Shortage!”
Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.