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Bring Immigrants Here

Editor, News-Register:

Open letter to W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice:

Much has been said and reported recently on the migrant caravan containing anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 Guatemalans, Hondurans, Central Americans and other national immigrants headed to the southern United States border. Our President Donald Trump has said bad things about them (including “throwing rocks”) and has sent the United States military down to repel them. That may have been a campaign stunt.

I would now like to suggest you deploy General Hoyer and the West Virginia National Guard down to the border and bring several thousand migrants back to our state in a convoy of military vehicles. We could use several hundred here in Martinsburg to work at jobs that are not being filled at the new Procter and Gamble plant and other places including restaurants, hotels, agriculture. etc. Downtown Martinsburg has a giant abandoned old sock factory complex in the middle of town that has been empty since the 1960s. This could be temporary housing for them until other arrangements are made.

Several hundred or a thousand migrants could also be delivered to Montgomery, W.Va. to stay in the buildings abandoned when W.Va. Technical College moved out last year. I heard Montgomery is now almost a ghost town. The migrants could revitalize the town, clean the place up, open restaurants and little shops and work hard at jobs in the service industry and labor positions. Hopefully they could enter tech industries and other professions with a little training. Their children could go to schools in southern W.Va., fill the classrooms again and give the teachers new hope.

Perhaps some of the migrants could be hired on to fill all the vacancies this state is experiencing in the Regional Jail system. Migrants could fill jobs the locals have quit or are not eligible for, as many native West Virginians are heavily addicted to either prescription or illegal drugs and have no time or inclination to work regular jobs. The migrants could start paying taxes and help grow the W.Va. economy.

Our state lost population of over 50,000 people since 2010, according to several online population websites. Huntington, Charleston and Beckley are hit hard. Right now, West Virginia is 93.5 percent white. Our state has the oldest population in the United States, with a median age of 40.

New eager migrants could bring some youth, cultural diversity and willingness to work to our state. The Fairmont, Clarksburg and other northern West Virginia areas received an influx of Italian immigrants over one hundred years ago when many Italians came to work in the coal fields. The Italian government actually opened a consulate office in northern West Virginia because so many Italians had moved to West Virginia before World War I.

Just like those Italians, the Hispanic caravan immigrants could now similarly work to help our state, not hurt it. Thank you for your consideration.

Robert Barrat



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