Just back from my first trip to the Berkshires (in western Massachusetts) where the affluent of the East Coast megalopolises like to summer and play, and I was just stunned to see nearly every visible job filled with an English-speaking American.
This is intriguing because it is among the nation's elites that we find most of the resistance to passing the SAVE Act or other legislation mandating the use of E-Verify to ensure that illegal aliens don't keep U.S. jobs -- with the elites complaining that without all the illegal foreign workers, large parts of our service economy would fall apart.
I can sort of understand why they think this because so many of them live in immigrant-saturated giant cities where some of them haven't seen anybody with a U.S.-born parent bus a table, run a cash register or clerk a store in years.
Yet, now I find that there is a place where elites spend time just a couple of hours north of New York City where Americans appear to work all the jobs that they were doing before Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy began the immigration flood 43 years ago.
Employment of American Youth Lowest Ever
One of the big arguments of the coastal elites (West, East, Gulf & Great Lakes coasts) is that jobs that once depended on a lot of native teenagers and young adults simply won't get done without foreign workers.
You can see why they might think that. Federal data show that teenage employment levels are at their lowest level in recorded U.S. history!
But is that because today's American teenagers are more lazy than in the past? More arrogant so that they think they are too good for these jobs?
Or is it because the federal government has flooded many parts of our country with so much foreign labor that our own teens and young adults are simply pushed out of the job markets where immigration is high?
Norman Rockwell Towns Have American Busboys
When some of us say that no more foreign workers are needed, the open-borders elites who are favored by today's congressional leadership sometimes snidely respond that we are wishing for a return of a Norman Rockwell America that can never be recovered.
For those of you too young to know, Norman Rockwell painted extremely popular magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post that often celebrated the virtues and challenges of small town New England life.
For his last 25 years, he lived and painted in Stockbridge, an absolutely delightful little town in the Berkshires. I stopped into a cafe on main street to analyze the attributes of a homemade raspberry-peach pie and a strawberry-apple pie, where I was surrounded by American waiters and busboys (as I was everywhere else I ate over the last few days). Most of them were well-scrubbed, enthusiastic young people.
When my young waitress engaged me in which pie was superior, I asked if she had come to the area for the summer from elsewhere. No, she lived in the neighboring town. She said most of the young workers in the motels, restaurants and other parts of the hospitality industry were home grown.
This was my observation in the motels, as well.
I just arrived back in the Washington D.C. area and looked up the stats. Sure enough, the Berkshires have one of the lowest immigration rates in the country.
A Norman Rockwell America apparently is still possible where the federal government's reckless immigration policies haven't had a chance to distort the labor markets.
No Offense Intended To The Foreign Busboys
Please don't misunderstand the point I am making.
I'm not suggesting that these white New Englander kids are superior to the mostly Asian, Latin American and African immigrants who bus and wait the tables here in Washington.
My point is that the open-borders elites who are fighting the SAVE Act are wrong when they insist that white and black American kids (and increasingly native-born Hispanic American kids) won't or can't do the service jobs that are so essential in every locale in America.
I have long known they were wrong because of my travels in the Missouri Ozarks, the northern Wisconsin dairylands, the Mississippi Delta and out-state Pennsylvania, for example. Frankly, I'm pretty certain you can find primarily native-born Americans doing most of these jobs in perhaps 80% of the counties in the country. When you see the natives of those counties doing all the work in the motels, restaurants, convenience stores, toll booths, construction projects -- well, you just have to ask yourself if there really is something that deficient about the Americans who are born in places like California, Texas, Florida, D.C., New York and Chicago that they aren't capable of doing those jobs, too.
What really is different is that the youth and young adults in low-immigration areas do not get the message that service work is beneath them or doesn't want them.
And now, I know that this is also true in the BERKSHIRES! Imagine that.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the news media, entertainment, business, religious and academic elites spending the summer in the Berkshires could just look at their busboys and begin to question their prevailing immigration assumptions? Wouldn't it be something if they questioned their prejudice that the SAVE Act would cause the hospitality industry to shut down?
We have two more weeks to force a vote on the SAVE Act.
We are 28 signatures short on the Discharge Petition.
Please see our list of Members of the House. The names in red are the ones refusing to sign the petition to force a vote to finally begin the four-year phase in of all employers using E-Verify. This would take away the job magnet for illegal foreign workers and once again open up whole occupations in some parts of the country to the American workers of all ethnicities who have been shut out.
Please find the red names in your state and call their offices today, asking them to sign the Discharge Petition while there is still time.
Roy Beck is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA.
Updated: Tue, Jul 15th 2008 @ 3:56pm EDT