Jobs Americans Won`t Do? Not Where I Live!
August 17, 2005, 05:00 AM
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[Recently by Linda Thom: Passel's Pattern]

Five years ago, after living in California for 30 years, my husband and I moved to the "other" Washington. Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound is quite a contrast with Southern California. And the weather is not the only difference.

Here, on this large island, Americans do jobs immigrants won't do.

For example, I took my auto to the carwash last week. In the five years I have lived on Whidbey Island, I have never taken my car to get it washed but it was parked in the Vancouver, B.C., airport lot for three weeks and a seagull visited…I really didn't want to deal with it.

Usually, I don't wash my car as I live on a dirt road in a place where it rains a lot and the car is a late-model Oldsmobile that my husband says could pass for a CIA staff car. Judging from the looks of local cars and the lack of carwash businesses, most other residents of Whidbey don't wash their cars either.

I think there is only one auto-washing facility within 30 miles of my house and that's where I went.

Two clean-cut, young, American men, Andrew and Jay, hosed off the car and helped get it on track for the machine and then they dried it when it emerged. There was a can for tips at the exit.

Contrast this with Santa Barbara, California, where there are probably ten to fifteen car washes and the owners are always getting busted for hiring illegal aliens. The workers speak Spanish and they swarm around the car and they all put out their hands for tips at the end.

Americans do the work on Whidbey Island and other examples abound.

Earlier this summer, the Whidbey News-Times ran an article that reported that strawberry season was coming and teenage pickers would be showing up for work as school was over. The reporter listed the advantages of teenagers getting jobs in the summer. It teaches them the value of hard work, it gives them job skills like showing up on time and it gives them pocket money.

Later in the summer, pick-your-own fields of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, loganberries appeared. Imagine that…picking your own berries. My three-year-old grandson loved it. He had to be reminded to breathe as he was eating raspberries as fast as he could pick them.

In contrast, Santa Barbara County is one of the leading producers of strawberries in the country and the Farm Bureau reports that most of the workers are illegal aliens.

In Santa Barbara County, I don't recall ever seeing American teenagers picking strawberries or anything else for that matter.

How about teenagers mowing grass? Nope, I didn't see that either.

I take my car to Jiffy Lube for servicing. The workers are young, white Americans. The men who painted my house were Americans and the painting contractor is a blonde woman named Beth.

The trash collectors are Americans but they don't come down the one-lane, dirt road where I live so my husband and I haul our own trash and recycle items to the collection center which is staffed by women.

These workers are all American.

On Whidbey Island, Americans serve and clean the restaurants—including the Mexican and Chinese establishments. In Mexican restaurants in California, the servers speak Spanish. In Santa Barbara, a large Chinese restaurant was shut down several years ago and the Chinese owner jailed for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.

When my family lived in Santa Barbara, we had a high-maintenance yard and always had a gardener, a U.S. citizen who came from Guatemala. When we moved to Whidbey, we bought a house with fir trees and some grass over the drain field. The deer, rabbits and my husband cut the grass.

The neighbors cut their own grass also and John, a 65-year-old neighbor, has a yard on the garden-tour circuit and he takes care of it by himself.

I did hire a young man to mulch and dig holes for plants. He had blonde hair and blue eyes and a Dutch last name. He worked very hard but required lots of supervision as he wasn't the brightest light on the Island. He said he had been unemployed for a long time and he thanked me profusely for the two days of work I gave him.

And I know there are other areas in the country where Americans do their own work.

Until four years ago, my parents lived in suburban Maryland. They paid teenage boys in the neighborhood to mow their grass after the doctor told my mother to stop mowing it herself because of osteoporosis. The next-door neighbor used his blower to clear the snow in the winter.

Americans can and will do their hard work when there is no one else to do it.

Moreover, mass immigration has many negative impacts on American workers. Most know about the depressed wages caused by an excess supply of labor. But consider a few other consequences of over immigration.


  • Why would employers hire people who need lots of supervision such as the mentally or emotionally disabled when able-bodied immigrants are available?

Fourteen million Americans are unemployed and there are millions of Americans who are physically or mentally disabled. They would love to have jobs.

The cheap-labor lobby, which apparently includes President Bush, has convinced many that immigrants only take jobs that Americans refuse to do.

That's bunk—and those of us who know better should continually remind those who don't.  

Linda Thom [email her] is a retiree and refugee from California. She formerly worked as an officer for a major bank and as a budget analyst for the County Administrator of Santa Barbara.