Deadwood Casino/Hotel Wants More Immigrant Workers; Jackley O.K. with Path to Citizenship

Another major South Dakota industry is calling for looser immigration rules to boost its workforce recruiting. At a public forum with Attorney General Marty Jackley in Deadwood May 7, the folks who own Cadillac Jack’s said they need more foreign workers:

Caleb Arceneaux, chief executive officer of Liv Hospitality, LLC said that one of the challenges facing gaming/hospitality in western South Dakota is employment, finding enough associations to take care of business needs, and asked for Jackley’s thoughts on supporting a robust guest worker program, which is being stifled at the federal level right now.

[Jaci Conrad Pearson, “Jackley Talks Gaming, State Stats at Deadwood Meet ‘n Greet,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2015.05.09].

(Liv, by the way, is the Rapid City outfit that had to change its name from ISIS last year, to avoid unpleasant associations with undesirable foreigners.)

Attorney General Jackley freed himself of his jurisdictional perspective and spoke freely as a citizen… or perhaps as a candidate for some other office:

Attorney General Marty Jackley
Attorney General Marty Jackley

Jackley said he would like to see work force development within the state, developing opportunities with vo-tech programs and colleges and keeping workers within the state.

“We are exporting way too many folks,” Jackley said. “When you get into the immigration issue, I don’t believe we should have a blanket ‘We will make you a citizen program,’ …  what needs to happen on immigration is two things. One is to build an essential wall to keep them out in some of the hot areas … from crime, drug influx. The other plan we need is to have a visa program that actually works and is efficient, so if I want to hire immigrants, I have the ability to do that and give them work … put in a work visa program, where they pay taxes, earn their way here, earn their way to citizenship, and it would work” [Conrad Pearson, 2015.05.09].

While our dairy industry and our Congressional delegation shun the idea of extending a path to citizenship for these vital foreign workers, AG Jackley at least mentions the idea of earning citizenship. In my continued search for Jackleyan tea leaves today, could the AG be signaling to his fellow Republicans that they don’t need to fear immigrants becoming voting citizens?

In economic development terms, we now have two major South Dakota industries—tourism and value-added agriculture—recognizing the Aberdeen thesis that immigration is the primary source for South Dakota’s next workforce. This support for immigration is all the more noteworthy given that major players in both of those industries—the Deadwood Mountain Grand Casino, the Dakota Provisions turkey plant, and lots of East River dairies—benefited from the EB-5 visa investment program in the past decade.

Yet the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which brought those immigrant-employing businesses that EB-5 money, currently ignores immigration in its public economic development initiatives. Hmm… did the EB-5 scandal make GOED so gun-shy about dealing with visas and foreigners that they won’t even mention immigration in the press?


4 Responses to Deadwood Casino/Hotel Wants More Immigrant Workers; Jackley O.K. with Path to Citizenship

  1. larry kurtz

    The putrid hypocrisy coming out of SDGOP after the elections and the session is so utterly overpowering maybe even somebody in South Dakota’s press will catch a whiff. These aren’t just flip flops they’re perpetual naked leap-frogging engineered by those 20 donors who would benefit from repeal of the estate tax.

    I am literally sick to my stomach from the vertigo i get when i look into the black hole of South Dakota politics.

  2. Maybe our public school system should hire guest workers to better teach our kids to willingly accept lower paying jobs that South Dakota offers. Teacher shortage solved and surplus low wage jobs filled…two birds with one stone. Make it one better, deport and don’t pay the guest worker teachers and cut state aid to schools the amount not paid.

  3. Brother Beaker

    Doesn’t the phrase “path to citizenship” generally refer to a path for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship without the necessity of going home and applying legally?

    See, e.g., http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/05/05/clinton-urges-full-and-equal-path-to-citizenship-for-undocumented-immigrants/

    Your headline thus suggests that Jackley approves of something very different from what he said, which is that workers on valid visas should have the opportunity to acquire citizenship.

  4. It was never a secret that South Dakota’s gaming and ag industries made an outsized contribution to illegal immigrants in the nation. Oh sure, they were ‘legal’ when they arrived with their work permits, but abracadabra – they’d too often vanish before their permit expired. Well golly gee, how did that happen, year-after-year?! wink wink, nudge, nudge Order some more immigrants, Verne!

    Yet the truth is the nation needs to artfully reopen its borders. It’s no secret that our immigrant forefathers worked harder than we, and that new immigrants work harder than settled residents. We need that economic vitality provided by communities of robust immigrants. You’ll never hear an immigrant turn down honest work in packing plants, toiling in the gaming service industry, or declaring that those hills are too steep or too rugged to harvest those over-abundant pine trees.