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Don't let immigrants take US jobs

Short-term positions filled through immigration should be utilized by Americans.

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Restaurant worker Henry Bernard, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, wipes down a table during the lunch shift at the Coonamessett Inn in Falmouth, Mass., on June 15, 2005. Bernard was one of 84 Jamaican workers at the inn who come to the United States on H2B visas, or seasonal work visas, that year.

Steven Senne/AP/File

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About 15 million Americans are unemployed. Yet Washington allows businesses to bring in about 1 million foreigners a year to take supposedly short-term jobs that many jobless would leap at taking if they could.

It's a "ridiculous" situation, says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington think tank that generally urges a lower level of immigration into the United States.

This year, the H-2B program alone will let more than 100,000 lower-skilled foreign workers come to the US as "temporary, seasonal, nonagricultural guest workers." Businesses like the program because the foreigners, who need the jobs in order to stay in the US, "shut up and do what they are told," says Mr. Krikorian.

But H-2B operates under a flawed assumption, says David Seminara, a former US Foreign Service officer and author of a CIS study on the program. The flawed assumption is that "Americans don't want to mow your lawn. They don't want to serve you your lobster roll sandwich during your summer holiday in Maine. They won't drive the trucks that bring food to the grocery store." In fact, many Americans would welcome such jobs.

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