Daily Editorial: Freedom to fill jobs | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Freedom to fill jobs

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

This country’s bungled immigration policy has a direct impact on Eagle County.

There aren’t enough H-2B visas ” permits that allow foreign workers to work here ” to fill all the available service jobs in Eagle County. The federal government caps the number of new visas issued to 66,000 per year ” half of those beginning Oct. 1 and the rest beginning April 1.

That’s simply not enough to keep up with the demand for foreign workers across the country. Locally, companies like East West Resorts and the Sonnenalp Resort are worried about filling posts for housekeepers and golf course workers. That hurts our ability to ensure excellent, consistent service to the guests who make our local economy go round.

Critics against a more permissive immigration policy make a point when they say businesses would be able to find more Americans for their posts if they would raise their wages. That could widen the candidate pool for local businesses, but not enough to fill all the positions. There just aren’t enough American citizens here to do all the jobs. Our unemployment rate remains a low 3.4 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s numbers for 2006. Many of us are working more than one job as it is.

The fact that several local companies can’t get all the visas they need means there simply aren’t enough visas available. Employers are left either keeping necessary positions unfilled or employing illegal immigrants to do the job. Neither is acceptable.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

We need more visas, plain and simple. It behooves local employers and governments to rally their representatives in Washington to push for more visas, so resort economies like ours can continue thrive.

” Tamara Miller for the Editorial Board

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