Opinion/Your Turn: Who will fill jobs left empty due to the labor shortage? Immigrants.

There now exists in this nation a labor shortage in the construction industry, and the recent passage of the federal infrastructure legislation, with its anticipated creation of construction jobs, will only increase that labor shortage.

Who will fill these coming jobs?

The retiring Baby Boomers can’t. The STEM generation won’t. They have been encouraged to pursue the gentle comfort of ergonomic office chairs and cozy home offices. So, seriously, who will fill these construction jobs?

Immigrants will.

Immigrants like the ones who helped build our railroads in the 1800s. Immigrants like the ones who today pluck your produce, mow your lawns and clean your houses. Immigrants like the ones who run successful small businesses and who are doctors or lawyers or soldiers or any other number of professionals. Immigrants like those who have already integrated into our communities over hundreds of years

and who together have sewn the very fabric of our Nation.

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Perhaps you’ve heard of Albert Einstein? Or Elizabeth Stern? Chien-Shiung Wu? These immigrant scientists received some of the highest accolades in science for their pioneering work and all were immigrants whose indelible contributions to our nation are still remembered today.

, according to Forbes.

Don’t like science? Okay. Remember the naturalist John James Audobon? How about the actresses Marlene Dietrich, Heddy Lamar and Salma Hayek? Maybe you’ve heard of basketball star Dikembe Mutombo, tennis star Martina Navratilova, baseball greats Roberto Clemente and Albert Pujols, or weightlifter-turned-movie star-turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger?

In 1852, then Democratic California Governor John Bigler gave a speech in support of a limit on the surging Chinese immigration, which he considered a threat to white labor. Two Chinese merchants, Hab Wa and Tong Achick, issued a reply that was published in newspapers across the country. They wrote, “The poor Chinaman does not come here as a slave. He comes because of his desire for independence, and he is assisted by the charity of his countrymen, which they bestow on him safely, because he is industrious and honestly repays them. When he gets to the mines, he sets to work with patience, industry, temperance, and economy.” according to The New Yorker magazine.

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They insisted that Bigler was wrong that the Chinese were not interested in citizenship: “If the privileges of your laws are open to us,” they said, “some of us will doubtless acquire your habits, your language, your ideas, your feelings, your morals, your forms, and become citizens of your country.”

The Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The German philosopher Karl Marx echoed “History tends to repeat itself, the first time as a tragedy the second time as farce.”

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History has repeated itself. The Venezuelans of today are the Chinese of yesterday, and Ron DeSantis and the Republicans are as ignorant and laughable now as the Democrats were in 1852.

Immigrants are not lazy oafs looking for a handout. They can’t afford to waste their time wandering the Metaverse. They are wandering the real world in search of a better life. I know this because immigrants work for me. I know they have families to care for and mouths to feed and bills to pay, just like the rest of us. And they work hard to do just that.

History reminds us not to be afraid. Today’s immigrants will simply weave themselves into our national fabric, making our nation stronger.

So let the immigrants come. Let them lead productive lives. Let them worship in our churches. Let them help us rebuild bridges and roads and let them work in the factories that are returning to us from overseas.

I will continue to order fried rice and bratwurst and huevos rancheros.

Have you tried the Pabellón Criollo? I hear it’s delicious.

Christopher A.Vincent, of South Yarmouth, owner of a construction business.

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This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Cape Cod: Labor shortage could be cured by hiring immigrant workers