Miriam Jordan reports in the NY Times:
“Mackinac Island has a permanent population of about 500 people and just as many horses, but no cars. From May to October, the picturesque Michigan getaway relies on about 3,000 workers to power its economic engine: summer tourism.
Historically, up to a third of those workers are foreigners, including Mexicans, Filipinos, Canadians and Jamaicans, who are hired on seasonal visas. But when many of the island’s business owners applied for those visas this year, they heard from the government that none were left.
So at the Iroquois Hotel, a Victorian property on the waterfront where rooms command up to $1,200 a night, the owner is trying to figure out how to maintain its high standards without 30 Jamaican housekeepers. Other hotels are contemplating closing off whole sections. Even those who own the ubiquitous horses are wondering if they will have enough workers.
“It’s urgent for us to get more visas to save the season,” Brad Chambers, who operates horse tours and taxis, said.
The island whose selling point is being stuck in time is now suffering because it is stuck in the middle of a modern-day struggle over jobs and who should be doing them. So, too, are a number of the regional industries that define the American summer but have increasingly relied on non-American workers, from vacation spots in Maine and Minnesota to Gulf Coast shrimpers and the salmon fisheries of Alaska.”
So, how does having unused hotel rooms and unprocessed fish help U.S. Workers? An employer has to show unsuccessful efforts to recruit US workers to get a petition approved in the first place.
Exploitation of foreign workers is another question. That requires more vigorous inspection and investigation by the USDOL. But, these are exactly the kinds of regulatory inspection and enforcement jobs that the Trump Administration seeks to eliminate under the guise of “”lessening the buurden” on US employers!