Advertisement

Where are the 'jobs, jobs, jobs?'

I'm so glad City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young recognizes the many problems facing Baltimore ("Solutions, not excuses, for Baltimore post Freddie Gray," April 30). These past days have been traumatic and have placed our city in an ugly national spotlight. Watching the Orioles play a game with no one in attendance was shocking, as were the despicable riots and looting that happened Monday. But please, let's look at a bigger picture.

I believe the anger, distrust, frustration and "cry for help" reflect a culture that is radically changing along with the traditional American demographic. As Council President Young "walked the streets of Baltimore Monday night" he encountered the same prescription: jobs, jobs, jobs.

Advertisement

Television newscasters commenting on the rowhouses in the areas where rioting and looting took place pointed out that these homes originally had been built for Baltimore workers. But where are the jobs for workers today, they asked? It's no secret the manufacturing sector has drastically diminished and the need for blue collar employees as well. This is happening all over our country — caused by many realities.

However, no one is addressing our government's reckless visa programs that bring in thousands of foreigners each year to take jobs "Americans won't do." The Summer Work Travel Program (J-1 visas) is a perfect example. The State Department imports nearly 200,000 foreign students to take summer jobs all across the land. Why isn't this being challenged?

Then there's the H1-B program, another State Department effort to undermine American workers. I had a family member lose a good job to a foreign worker thanks to this program. Sadly, whenever I speak out against harmful visa programs, I'm branded a racist, xenophobe and someone who doesn't understand "America is a nation of immigrants."

Baltimore is hurting, and that includes me. I live at the Inner Harbor and the place looks like a war zone. National Guard units with heavy weapons, Maryland State Police and, of course, the underlying concern for safety. Events we looked forward to have been canceled, including the popular Sunday Farmers Market. Baltimore citizens don't deserve the punishment we're receiving because of the Freddie Gray incident. We all want justice, and I do most vehemently. Nevertheless, I fear the riots, looting and burning of property reflects far more than police misconduct.

Today, we live in a changed economic and social climate and people are angry. Yet rioting and creating an environment demanding curfews and armed patrols is not the way to attract businesses ("Baltimore bars feel pain of early last call," April 30). If the young people want "jobs, jobs, jobs," they had better think about crafting an atmosphere where employers will want to put down roots.

Roz Ellis Heid, Baltimore

Advertisement
Advertisement