Can Americans Groom Horses for $450 a Week?

The Associated Press reports that as the Kentucky Derby approaches, Churchill Downs, where the races are held, is busy with workers cleaning stalls, washing horses, and walking the animals after a workout. Many of the workers are not US citizens and are here legally on H-2B visas. However, some workers are not in the US legally and fear deportation. Dale Romans, a successful horse trainer, states he can not find American workers to do the jobs and said, “This is definitely a business that survives on an immigrant workforce. Without it, I don’t know what we would do.”

Many of those interviewed by the AP were in their 40s and 50s and one was even 70 years old. It was not clear from the report why horse trainers and others in the industry can not find US workers. Cesar Abrego, a 46-year-old groom who came from Guatemala on an H-2B visa makes $450 per week, and like many migrant workers, sends money back home to his family. Although he could find work in construction or roofing in Guatemala, he believes his pay would be cut in half.

AP report found here.


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