My first job out of college (in the non-official sense of the word), was working as a photographer at the Squaw
Valley ski resort (no, not like a magazine photographer…I was one of those goofy guys at the top of the lift in a
day-glow jumpsuit). One thing I remember vividly, which is saying a lot given the “recreational” nature of that time in
my life, was how many people from foreign nations were doing all the low-paid jobs on the hill. Young folk from all
over the world came to Tahoe to work as lift operators, parking lot attendants and in the food service. Coming to the
US or Canada to do these jobs is a rite of passage for young travelers, something that we should aggressively promote,
too, because it offers young people the opportunity to see the US up close and personal.
Too bad, then, that several problems, including the whole homeland security thing is putting the kibosh on foreign
workers. According to this piece in the NY
Times, visas are being rejected right and left for folks who want to come here to work. The US currently allows
some 66,000 people to enter on H-2B visas, which are intended to help seasonal businesses fill job vacancies. But it
seems that this year, because that cap was reached during the winter, there is now a shortfall. The obvious solution is
to increase the cap, but the government doesn’t seem to be in too big a hurry to do that.