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Kentucky Employers Claim They Can’t Find Workers, Must Hire Illegal Immigrants

If you can read this sign and want manual labor, you're probably not welcome. (photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)

Today’s issue of Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal has a front page article that helpfully explains many jobs in the area must be filled by illegal immigrants because no American has applied for them.

The story appears to be spawned out of the fears expressed by employers like the area’s horse farms that the state’s legislature may crack down on hiring illegal immigrants, cutting off their last source of labor.

Employers say they have little choice but to bring on immigrant workers when filling positions.

“All of us are in a position of needing employees. We don’t want to hire illegals,” said David L. Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. Based in Lexington, the KTA represents the $4 billion annual horse breeding industry and 52,000 employees, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Asked how pervasive the presence of undocumented workers is in the horse racing industry, Switzer declined to comment. But he added that openings for stable hands, grooms and night watchmen are extremely difficult to fill.

“A significant number of foreign born are working in our industry,” Switzer said. “At some of our farms, they have not had a Caucasian or African American apply for a job in eight years. Nobody applies. What are we supposed to do?”

What a crock of potted baloney.

Try this yourself: browse through some of the job posting sites like,, and and look for jobs with the keyword “horse” in the “Lexington, KY” area.

You’ll find nothing in the way of stable hands, grooms, watchmen or “equine staff” advertised for folks without a degree; you might find one job for a nonprofit equine advocacy manager, but that’s about it.

I went to the’s website for the paper which carried this story and clicked on their Jobs listing. Apparently they use to run their jobs page. Guess what? One job listing for keyword “horse” and location “Louisville, KY” — a sous chef position at The Blue Horse.

If I spread a slightly wider net, I can pull up a job listing under a category called “equine staff”; there’s a posting for a “driving stable assistant” which appears to be in Germany, IN. But that’s not in the neighboring state of Indiana; the posting is for an international job, location: Germany.

That’s why no Caucasian or African American has applied for their jobs: they aren’t advertising openings, and for a reason.  . . .

What these *#%&$ employers want in the way of physical laborers are people who can’t read and won’t cost them a posting in either the local newspaper or a jobs board and ultimately won’t make any demands about hours, working conditions or a living wage out of fear of being deported. It’s the cheapskate, tightwad attitude of these employers which increases demand for illegal immigrants while Americans are out of work.

Kentucky’s legislature ought to slam employers hard for discriminating against Kentucky’s residents by seeking out only cheaper illegal immigrant labor; hefty fines ought to make it cheaper to advertise for legal workers than to risk illegal immigrants by word of mouth.

Let’s get the horse in front of the cart here and make it very clear that it’s not the illegal immigrants’ fault, either. There wouldn’t be illegal immigrants in Kentucky if there weren’t illegal employers hiring them. Punishing illegal immigrants only forces the illegal employers and the workers to go deeper under cover — and these illegal employers are already well under cover if you can’t find their job postings.

And the editor at Courier-Journal should be embarrassed (if not fired) for not asking the reporter to find the listings of these unfilled jobs gone wanting.

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Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, FDL community member since 2005, geek since birth.

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