NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

GUEST-WORKER PROGRAM IS WRONGHEADED

March 24, 2005

It is wrong for President Bush to promise things to Mexico that are not to the mutual advantage of both countries. The president's "guest-worker" proposal benefits only Mexico, not the United States, says Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), chairman of the congressional immigration reform caucus.

Furthermore:

  • It offers amnesty to 12 million to 15 million illegal aliens in our country, about 75 percent of them Mexican.
  • This won't solve our illegal alien crisis: in fact, it will only encourage more people to cross our borders illegally to wait for the next amnesty.

The way to deal with the illegal aliens already here is through law enforcement, explains Tancredo:

  • If we started enforcing our labor laws seriously, illegal jobs would dry up as employers raised wages to attract legal workers.
  • Wal-Mart did that when it was forced to abandon janitorial contracts that used mainly illegal workers; the company now hires legal workers to do those jobs, and the higher labor costs have not driven Wal-Mart out of business.
  • As the illegal jobs dry up, people here without work permits would not have to be deported -- they would gradually go home voluntarily.

The intelligent way to set up an honest guest-worker program is to first secure our borders and then set up a mechanism for people to come for temporary jobs legally. No matter how generous any legal work-permit system may be, there still will be millions more who will take advantage of our open borders if we let them, says Tancredo.

When Mexico gets serious about helping us protect our borders instead of encouraging its citizens to break our immigration laws, we can have a serious discussion about guest-worker programs. Until then, forget it, says Tancredo.

Source: Tom Tancredo, "Proposal is 'wrongheaded': Guest-worker plan benefits only Mexico, won't solve U.S. problems," USA Today, March 24, 2005.

 

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