VAIL, Colorado - A Vail business owner has been invited to speak on immigration reform in Washington D.C. Dale Bugby, owner of Vail Resort Rentals, a condo management and guest rental services company that has operated in Vail since the early 1980s, said he knows the reality of hiring foreign workers.
"We have seen the labor force change significantly in the past 30 years," Bugby said. "I haven't had an Anglo applicant for housekeeping in over a decade and I don't expect any to show up soon. It is hard, un-glamorous work, and similar to other service sector jobs, the average American worker doesn't want to apply."
The immigration debate has heated up as President Obama follows through on his promise to fix the broken worker visa system and find a pathway to citizenship for millions of Hispanic workers who have come to this country illegally over the past decades.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet has also been leading a push for reform with his Colorado Compact, a position statement on how to solve the dilemma of foreign workers in a bi-partisan way. Bugby met with Bennet's office about the topic. Since then, eight Republican and Democratic senators are now sharing ideas and promising to make progress this year. Immigration Works USA, a business-based coalition on immigration, is hosting a senate staff meeting March 1 with various business leaders from across the country.
"Immigration reform is critically important to business owners here in Eagle County and across the country," Bugby said. "We need to find a workable solution to the millions of immigrant workers that are already here and working in our service industries and local economy. These workers deserve an empathetic and legal means to continue working and contributing to our communities. There has been a lot of inaccurate rhetoric over the past few years about foreign workers not paying taxes and being a burden on society. We need these workers and they need to be documented so we can properly account for them."
Bugby is a member of the governmental affairs committee of the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association and sits on their Board of Directors.