Before July 1, there were scores of workers replacing the roofs on our condo complex in southeast Florida following Hurricane Ian. Today I counted two.
After four months we are still without a metal roof. Every time it rains our upper-level neighbors, who hail from Canada, get another round of leaks. They’ve been gone all summer and are coming back the last week of October. We’ve already notified them of the situation several times.
“Time to get mad about all the delays and contact the HOA,” we told them six weeks ago. I don’t know if they did, but I can guarantee they will be complaining when they return. Unfortunately, it will probably do no good.
The contractor overseeing the remodeling of some of the condo units told me this morning that the workforce has dropped by 37 percent since Governor Ron DeSantis’s new immigration law went into effect July 1. I don’t know if that’s an accurate number. I couldn’t find confirmation on the Internet. But it’s obvious this law has had an impact – and not necessarily a good one if you are in the construction, farm or landscaping business.
The law put heavy legal requirements on immigrant workers, threatening deportation if an employee is found to be an illegal. No surprise that many of the scattered. The contractor I spoke with knew of three painting crews that disappeared, with some headed for Nebraska.
Not only have the immigrants suffered, but many in Florida will be paying a price for what a governor running for president thought was a good idea on paper.
One can argue that these people shouldn’t be in our country and shouldn’t be hired by companies. But I get it. Try to find people in the existing workforce willing to do these often-unpleasant jobs.
I could go so far as to say that I watched the roofers being taken advantage of before the law took effect. They were being worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day in hellishly hot conditions. But I’m guessing those abuses weren’t taken into consideration when this new law was passed. The bill wasn’t intended to do them any favors.
Perhaps a more thoughtful proposal would have considered the needs of Florida businesses and residents while getting the illegals documented as being in the country and providing them with work permits. Couldn’t there have been a win-win worked out?
Yes, I’m upset about the number of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border. Yes, I blame the current administration for the 7.5 million who have invaded the U.S. since President Biden took office. I am also critical of past administrations and Congress for not tackling this complicated issue sooner.
Turning a blind eye to country-critical problems is something the House and Senate are good at. Resolving dress code issues they can handle in a week.
It’s always been that way. It only hits home when your roof starts leaking and almost everyone paid minimal wages to fix it has vamoosed.