Why Is Cape Cod Hiring Workers From Serbia?

Paul Nachman forwarded this with the question “Why is Cape Cod hiring workers from Serbia?” It’s a immigration enthusiast report from James Kirchick, who I remember from his attacks on Ron Paul in 2008.

Kirchick, who is really, really, gay, reports from the gay Mecca of Provincetown,  Massachusetts.

“Foreign workers are but the latest addition to this already diverse melting pot. The students, who come on what’s known as a J-1 visa (typically issued to au pairs and camp counselors), come almost entirely from the American University in Bulgaria (AUB). According to a recent article in Provincetown Magazine, local lore has it that four students from the school — founded 20 years ago after the breakup of the Soviet Union in partnership between USAID, the Open Society Institute, and the Bulgarian government — found jobs in Provincetown and loved the experience so much that they told all their friends. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Then he enthuses about how multilingual the Rumanians are–although the only way you can afford multilingual sales clerks is if you import them.

“Though the Massachusetts unemployment rate of 7.6 percent stands well below the 9.1 percent national one, it is still high enough to raise questions about just why Cape businesses are in such desperate need of foreign labor. The reason, according to both the foreign workers and the business owners who employee them, has to do with work ethic. Ceperkovic, for instance, works 70 hours a week doing two jobs (”I got them like this,” he says, snapping his fingers), though some foreigners he knows work over 100 hours a week. “[From Serbia to Cape Cod, By James Kirchick, July 28, 2011]

Unstated here is that the Massachusetts unemployed, who may in fact have lower work ethic, and less willingness to move to Provincetown for the summer, are black. The J-1 Rumanian kids are white. Since blacks and gays are prejudiced against each other, it’s not surprising that the P-Town merchants prefer white immigrants.

However, it happens to be illegal to prefer white foreigners to blacks. It’s also illegal, unfortunately, to prefer Americans to foreigners–“National origin” discrimination, they call it.

(By the way, I am not here accusing the P-Town merchants of carnal motives–although I think they’d prefer the Rumanians there, too.)

However, there does exist a pool of American labor, not part of the unemployment statistics, that has traditionally worked summer resorts–college students. Joe Guzzardi discussed this in 2004: