Montini: Trade border wall for welcome mat (for Texas and Florida)

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There aren't enough construction workers in the U.S. We'll have to invite laborers from the south to build after hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

EJ Montini: There aren't enough construction workers in the U.S. We'll have to invite laborers from the south.

If it wasn’t obvious after the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the destructive force of Hurricane Irma makes it crystal clear.

In order for Texas and now Florida to recover,  Congress must trade Donald Trump’s wall for a welcome mat.

For non-citizens.

Primarily, Latinos.

Otherwise, there simply aren’t enough construction workers to rebuild all that needs to be rebuilt.

This actually was the case before any hurricanes.

 

Not long ago the Associated General Contractors of America released a report saying that 70 percent of construction companies in the United States are having a hard time finding enough workers to keep up with demand.

It was that way before any 100 mph winds and menacing storm surge and demolished buildings and roads and infrastructure.

Who’s going to fix it?

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the administration of George W. Bush loosened regulations requiring employers to verify the immigration status of workers.

It was the only way to attract enough laborers. 

A study by Tulane and the University of California, Berkeley, found that roughly 100,000 Hispanic workers (many undocumented) helped to rebuild the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina.

The majority of them came from Mexico and Central America.

 

They did a lot of the cleanup and reconstruction work, and some were never adequately paid for their work. It was relatively easy for unscrupulous contractors to take advantage of workers who feared for their immigration status.

We’re in a bigger bind this time around.

Two states. Hundreds of millions in damage.

It was bad enough after Harvey, when there was still talk of a multi-billion dollar border wall. Now we have the remnants of two hurricanes to clean up after. It's now simply about money being better spent and humanity being better served.

President Donald Trump began his campaign speaking in ugly terms about Mexicans, and has used anti-immigration rhetoric whenever he’s needed to bolster the support of his base. But the people he has spoken of with disdain are now … needed.

And they're willing to do the work. 

No one is suggesting an open-border policy.

But we would do well – in Texas and in Florida – to welcome thousands of hard-working non-citizens with open arms. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article Montini: Trade border wall for welcome mat (for Texas and Florida) compiled by www.azcentral.com

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