Letters to the Editor

Letter: Immigration reform mandatory for Hilton Head job market

Thank you for the article on the fact that jobs are going unfilled. It’s what I’ve been saying and writing about since I came to Hilton Head Island in 1999.

I wrote often in the Packet that if we didn’t get immigration reform, our golf courses would not be smoothed and our hotels might lack housekeepers. Today, more companies feel compelled to ask for documents that workers cannot obtain, unless one falls in love with and marries a U.S. citizen, and many are married when they arrive.

Also, when I arrived, anyone could obtain a driver’s license, just by having someone like myself translate his/her birth certificate. Now they have to risk deportation to drive to work. Some in construction are hired in layers. One person with documents starts a company and sub-contracts to others who subcontract to even more who are all paid unobtrusively with cash and with no record of their existence.

We need reform — yesterday. It is unjust to expect them to work in fear after risking their lives to escape extreme violence and poverty to come the only way they can. Their goals are to work as hard and as well as they can, not as “guest workers” but as part of the community, buying homes, attending churches, participating in sports.

If we want to continue to have the fine restaurants, villas, hotels and homes, we need to fight for candidates who will give them immigration reform.

Fran B. Reed

Hilton Head Island