Business owners on Martha’s Vineyard have spent years begging for more mass immigration to the United States in the hopes of filling summer jobs with foreign workers.
When 50 illegal aliens were flown onto the elite coastal island, home to the nation’s wealthiest and most well-connected, officials declared a “humanitarian crisis” and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) swiftly deported the new arrivals to a military base on Cape Cod.
The reaction to just 0.001 percent of the nation’s border crisis arriving on the doorsteps of Martha’s Vineyard residents comes after business owners spent years pleading with the federal government to import more foreign workers so they could fill jobs.
“At some point in time, they have to move from here to somewhere else. We don’t have the services to take care of 50 immigrants,” an official said when the illegal aliens arrived. “We certainly don’t have housing. We’re in a housing crisis as we are on this island, so we can’t house everyone here that lives here and works here. We don’t have housing for 50 more people.”
Governor Ron DeSantis / Facebook
In September 2018, a Martha’s Vineyard business owner complained to the New York Times that he lost out on Jamaican workers and had to scrub toilets himself:
This summer, he has found himself on his hands and knees scrubbing toilets and tubs at Edgartown Commons, a hotel he manages on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Five Jamaican workers who had long worked at the property failed to get H2-B seasonal-work visas.
“I’m 65 years old, but you got to do what you got to do,” he said. “We did hire contract workers, but it’s never going to be as good as people with years of experience.”
In August 2017, a Martha’s Vineyard owner admitted to the Wall Street Journal that he prefers to hire foreign workers over local high school students:
Mike McCourt, the manager at Murdick’s, says he knows this is against the rules but “it’s just kind of the nature of the game here on the island. I can’t really defend myself other than it really does fill a need.”
He says he prefers H-2B workers to college students, who go back to school before the summer season is out, and to high-school students, who he says don’t work as hard. American teenagers, he says, “know you need them more than they need you.”
The Washington Post ran a similar story in August 2016 proclaiming that it is foreign workers, not Americans, who are the engine behind the economy in Martha’s Vineyard:
On Martha’s Vineyard, they make the beds, stir fudge and wash the dishes. “It’s the work Americans don’t want,” [21-year-old Romanian visa worker Timofti] Flaviu says. “We’ll do the lifting, take the overtime work — anything to make the trip worth it.” It’s a common take among the students here. And privately, many local employers agree: “We certainly don’t see our countrymen doing so much overtime,” said one.
In May 2018, Martha’s Vineyard business owners said they needed more foreign workers to fill summer jobs that were open and unfilled:
“It’s a crisis,” [retail store owner] Ms. Tiernan said. “I’ve had to work full-time on the floor, along with our two other owners, to keep the store open.”
Vineyard businesses, like Ms. Tiernan’s, depend on foreign seasonal workers to staff their shops during the busy summer months. These workers come to the Vineyard on either J-1 student visas, which the United States issues to non-immigrant students to promote cultural exchange, or H-2B visas. The H-2B visas are part of a non-immigrant program that permits American employers to temporarily hire foreign workers.
Other business owners on the island said the same a few months earlier, telling the Vineyard Gazette:
“I’ve never encountered this,” said Rob Hurst, general manager of Edgartown Commons, a 35-unit efficiency hotel that employs 10 to 11 people each summer. Five are housekeepers who typically work under an H-2B visa. This year, the hotel received no approvals for those visas, leaving Mr. Hurst scrambling to find workers as the busy season approaches.
“We’ll need a different plan. Otherwise, we can’t service our guests, and we would not be able to open,” he said.
Rather than give the illegal aliens jobs, some officials said the island could not house the new arrivals and did not have the infrastructure. A Breitbart News analysis, though, shows that Martha’s Vineyard could house up to six million border crossers and illegal aliens.
Martha’s Vineyard could see an influx in illegal immigration, and thus foreign workers, if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) follows through on a promise to fly more illegal aliens to the island.