August 2, 2004
President Bush and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry agree the current immigration system -- in which millions live an underground existence -- is broken. And each proposes reforms that would grant legal status to workers now here so that U.S. authorities can better monitor them, editorializes USA Today:
- Bush's plan would grant undocumented workers temporary legal status for up to six years if they have a job, if their employers certify that they could not find U.S. workers. Thus laborers could return home without fear of being denied re-entry into the United States.
- Kerry's plan would give undocumented workers who have lived here for five years, paid taxes and passed security screening a path to citizenship, issue a limited number of visas for temporary workers, who would have the protections of U.S. labor laws.
- Additionally, Kerry supports bills in Congress to allow undocumented farm workers to gain legal status and to make illegal immigrants who came to this country before age 16 and graduated from high school eligible for permanent residency.
Labor markets, public school systems and public health care would be devastated by the two proposals, warns Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
- Immigration is a key reason we find job growth does not equal lower unemployment, says Stein, and why the middle class is working harder and longer with less to show for it.
- Similarly, no matter how much local communities invest in new schools and teachers, they cannot keep ahead of the influx of new students.
- The proposed immigration plans would add people to the ranks of the 44 million who lack health insurance and further increase the number of jobs that don't offer coverage.
Source: Editorial, "Sound immigration reforms exist: Just ask Bush, Kerry," USA Today, August 2, 2004; and Dan Stein, "Plans aren't in U.S. interest," USA Today, August 2, 2004.
For USA Today text http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2004-08-01-our-view_x.htm
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