Could the labor shortage be solved with immigration?

To the editor:

One of the joys of summer in the North Country is making a trip to get good soft-serve ice cream. With this in mind, my wife and I, along with friends, drove to Malone this past Sunday for dinner and ice cream at Bokie’s, one of our favorite places. On the way, we anticipated our supper but when we arrived, there were no cars in the parking lot and a sandwich sign was out front announcing “Sorry we are closed, not enough kitchen workers.” Needless to say, we were disappointed.

If you’ve been around this summer, this is not an isolated occurrence.

A major hotel in Saranac Lake had to close its dining room for several weeks due to staffing issues. Other restaurants have had to cut back on hours. I think we all have a story about an experience where someplace you were used to counting on was closed when you needed it.

I’ve heard several explanations about why this is happening. Part of the problem is certainly related to a lack of affordable housing. But, I suspect that the bulk of it is due to people who simply don’t want to work and find that they can make more by taking advantage of the special unemployment benefits that were put in place when COVID hit.

So, where can we get more workers willing to actually work?

I have a simple solution. Let’s just open our borders to the thousands of immigrants who actually want to be here. In my experience, immigrants work hard and don’t complain. They are committed to being successful in their new home. There are workers waiting at the border that could keep Bokie’s open.

Why not just let them in?

In the past, I’ve heard the argument that immigrants take jobs away from

citizens, but that argument no longer holds water for me. Our citizens would rather sit back and take money on a government handout program than work. Immigration is a good cure to the current labor shortage. Let’s get the borders open and let those workers in.

Rich Loeber

Saranac Lake


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