Real border issue
Last week our Governor strapped on his biggest belt buckle and hopped on his private plane to attend a publicity stunt on the Texas border, making sure to get his time on Fox News to decry the 1.3 million “illegals” that have been apprehended at the Southern border and the “epidemic” of fentanyl making its way to Montana.
Meanwhile, back here on the Northern border, businesses across the state were hurting for manpower. Butchers couldn’t process wild game, restaurants limited their service, and National Guard filled supporting roles in hospitals that haven’t been staffed in a year. Had any of the Governors gathered in Del Rio actually been there on behalf of the businesses and people of their states, they would have been trying to figure out a way to get more folks into the United States instead of rounding them up and sending them off with a line of bull about doing things the legal way.
At the end of August there were 10.4 million job vacancies in the United States and every industrial sector has manpower atop its list of challenges. Despite these enormous needs, present immigration law allows for only 140,000 employment-based work visas to be issued each year, with most earmarked for people with “extraordinary abilities” like researchers and executives. In other words, there is no legal path for the workers that businesses need most to enter our county.
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Judging by the 10-point plan the governors laid out, business needs were trumped by the whims of a xenophobic base that is unwilling to reform the legal immigration system to extend the same basic bargain to more immigrants that a nation in need of labor once offered to their ancestors. That being the case, one can only hope that Governor Gianforte came away with a real solution to the fentanyl epidemic. After all, for all of 2020, the Montana State Crime Lab confirmed the drug killed 41 of our residents … just about the same number of folks that died of COVID back here in Montana during the three days he was off deep in the heart of Texas.
Bob Brock, Butte