In my blog on November 14, I wrote about our new president-elect and his proposed wall. My opinion was not well received by some readers, in particular, Weldon Birch, president of Cal West Concrete Cutting. In the spirit of fairness, I reproduce Mr. Birch's letter in its entirety below. We disagree on several points he makes, but not on others. I completely agree that we must give the new president our support--that's the way our democracy works. I also agree that we need to bring more young American citizens into the construction workforce and I pledge to do whatever I can to accomplish that goal. Thanks, Weldon, for taking the time to write. Many problems can be resolved and solutions can be found if we truly listen to one another.

I just read your article in Concrete Construction regarding the possible outcome of Trump’s desire to start rebuilding our infrastructure and your statement regarding the wall between us and Mexico. First and foremost, I am a contractor, one who is directly impacted by the cheap labor available to our non-union competitors who are flooded with non-native, non-English speaking and non-American born immigrants, both legal and illegal! The idea that we might spend some huge amount of tax revenue on infrastructure projects is good as long as it is aimed at helping US Citizens get the jobs. Your revelation that we could not man the jobs must be something you imagine because last I heard, there were well into the 95 million Americans out of the work force! Please, do not patronize me or anyone with a brain that these construction jobs have to go to the illiterate immigrants because it is jobs that Americans just won’t do! The McCain pain went away 8 years ago with all of that BS. Instead, what you should be doing is encouraging the schools to once again provide trade schools to teach our kids about these available, good paying jobs and stop with the downplay of how unimportant or uninteresting or unsavory these jobs are for our kids who can’t read or write as graduated students from these schools. So we can only find the help south of the border to do the work! That is exactly what I get from your article and I have only been in the construction business for a little over 50 years, starting as a laborer to a 40+ year construction business owner with 65 employees so I have seen it all from both sides of the “wall” believe me!

When you write articles and make judgments such as this, you only promote to justify the illegal immigrant use in our construction projects instead of instigating interest to promote the industry in our schools to build a generation or two of kids coming out of school with something to look forward to instead of just hanging out, doing drugs, working in a car wash or convenience store or having kids and living off welfare instead of a job that will teach them things they need to survive and get ahead in this world, especially our world! To stop the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico or anywhere else and promote those same jobs they are coming here for to our younger generation, will do more to propel us into the future than anything several million illegal immigrants will do for this country. I think Mr. Trump gets that and so do well over 50 million other Americans who just voted him in. That happens to be 50% of the people who voted and probably 100% of those people are working, paying taxes, trying to raise a family and get ahead. There are more people on welfare, working for the government or are on government subsidies, except for Social Security, than there are working Americans but a good number of those folks want jobs too so we have a huge labor pool to choose from. With the lack of available jobs in the public sector in the days ahead, we will also have some additional folks looking for work that can swing a hammer!

We are going to build a wall of some sort and that wall is going to impede the flow of illegal immigrants into this country. By your tone, it appears that you think we need that immigration to fill those wanting construction jobs but maybe I am wrong. However, 1 out of 15 maybe get into the construction trades, the other 14 the taxpayers subsidize and that is exactly what we want to stop. Having many friends from Mexico and employees who are from there or who have families from there who all support the wall, I can fully understand their plight and desire to have a better life. However, none of that matters if it displaces or takes away from an American citizen or legal resident who has rightfully earned that opportunity first. I agree with your notion that there will be a labor shortage but that shortage is a man made one, in fact, a liberal man-made one! One that can be fixed and a supply of able bodied and willing people to do the job.

Before you or anyone writing Construction Trade Articles for a local magazine or trade paper start telling those of us who actually do the work and provide the labor what we need to expect, why don’t we give Mr. Trump the opportunity to see if he can’t make it better for all Americans first and then we will can look south for help if we need it. I am betting that we don’t for most of our trade work if we encourage and educate our youth to the benefit of working with your hands for a living instead of holding them out for gratuity you didn’t earn! Color & nationality doesn’t matter much when you are all working together to achieve one goal, get the job done! It works for the Military very well because you don’t get gold stars for just showing up and you have to hold up your end, no matter the color or origin, it is the end result that counts!

Weldon Birch, Pres.
Cal West Concrete Cutting, Inc.