If there is a crackdown on undocumented immigration, who will teach our children to ski?
It seems like every youth ski instructor out there is Australian (which is odd enough, considering that isn't a very snowy country), and maybe they all have proper papers, maybe they don't. But the point is spending your days teaching kids to ski and getting a season pass for your days off isn't the kind of crappy job you usually associate with immigrant labor. I'm sure working for a ski resort isn't lucrative, but still. There used to be people, often but not necessarily from wealthy backgrounds, who would come to Colorado for these low paying ski instructor and other resort-related jobs. We called them "ski bums." Nowadays it seems like the American ski bums have largely been replaced by an army of Australians and New Zealanders.
So what's the story? Is there a shortage of qualified ski instructors and other resort personnel that has enabled the resorts to get visas for Australians to come fill those jobs? Has the supply of American ski bums dried up? Or is this an actual case of undocumented immigrants coming in and taking jobs that otherwise really would get filled by Americans? Such examples are hard to find: This year, with a border crackdown reducing the number of Mexican farm workers looking for work in California, farm jobs have gone unfilled and wages and conditions have not improved, contrary to the theory that reducing the supply of undocumented workers would cause wages and benefits to rise.
I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for Tom Tancredo and his pals to get worked up over the possibility that immigrants are taking ski resort jobs that Americans might actually want. Even though many undocumented workers are people who came over legally from overseas and either overstayed their visas or got jobs in violation of the terms of their visa, Tancredo and his supporters are focused exclusively on the southern border. I guess this is because Tancredo thinks the real problem is the "cult of multiculturalism" and undocumented Australians just don't pose the same cultural threat in Tancredo's world that undocumented Mexicans do.