Can someone please explain why ‘guest workers’ need to have access to citizenship? Every proposal to address the illegal immigration problem includes some mechanism for guest workers to obtain American citizenship.
Every 20-years or so, congress wakes up to the illegal immigration problem and proposes a ‘cure’. The last time congressional slumber was aroused, laws were passed to give ‘amnesty’ to millions of illegal immigrants here at that time. This ‘cure’ did not halt the tide of illegal immigration, in fact, it increased. Also increased were the cost of welfare and other entitlements, burdens on local communities around the country, especially in the southwest, and burdens and cost of healthcare. Hospital emergency rooms continue to function as general medical practitioners, straining resources and sometimes making it difficult for ‘emergency rooms’ to be available for actual medical emergencies. Although illegal immigrants are certainly not the only source of crime, crime increases unnecessarily with the added criminal pool.
Recently we had congress members stepping all over themselves to produce the latest ‘cure’ for illegal immigration, unfortunately led by the president himself. Many proposals were in the mix, but all envisioned some sort of ‘guest worker’ program. Such a program is deemed necessary by business that covets low cost labor, and Democrats that see an expanded dependency class that will vote for them, if everyone will agree to another amnesty provision, or citizenship for guest workers, that will add to voter rolls. However, since ‘amnesty’ has become a dirty word for many, sort of like the word ‘liberal’, supporters have to lie and say their proposals are not ‘amnesty’; the proposals only permit citizenship after those here illegally ‘pay’ a price. The payment may be an amount of money, and/or a requirement to work here at sub par wages for some period of time. Thus, this is not considered ‘amnesty’ because the illegal immigrant will have earned their right to citizenship. But citizenship in the United States should not be achieved as a reward, directly or indirectly, for violating our country’s laws. Only immigrants who comply with U. S. laws should qualify for citizenship.
Putting aside the issue of what to do with the millions of illegal immigrants already here, we have been faced with proposals to allow non citizens to enter the United States for the purpose of seeking employment at sub par wages to satisfy, what we are told, is a great demand for such workers by American business. (For example, New York City Mayor Bloomberg worries what will happen to golf courses if we do not have illegal immigrants.) Mexicans have come across the border illegally to earn money in jobs seemingly not available in their country. No matter what laws are passed by our government, the laws will not be strictly enforced and will not prevent the continuing invasion of illegal immigrants. Therefore, in the minds of many, it is best to have some sort of orderly process for allowing non citizens to enter our country legally and fill the jobs that ‘Americans wont do’, at the wages employers are willing to pay.
For these and other reasons, a ‘guest worker’ program is a reasonable solution to this portion of the illegal immigration problem. But there is no reason that a guest worker program should include gaining American citizenship. A real guest worker program need not result in granting citizenship opportunity to non citizens coming to the United States “to get a job and earn money for themselves and their families”, and “who are willing to take a job Americans will not do”. It is not necessary to also offer a carrot of citizenship; after all, we are told that is not the motivation of illegal immigrants anyway. Citizenship in the United States should be a prize to be awarded only to immigrants who comply with U. S. immigration laws, as it has been for decades.
Guest workers should be able to acquire lawful temporary work status and be able to remain in the United States, unlike the illegal immigrants already here that do not seek guest worker status. A procedure can be established whereby a non-citizen who wishes to work in the United States may complete a simple application form, providing name and other data to enable a criminal background check (the non-citizen applicant need not only be from Mexico). After a suitable, but short, period of time during which the background check will be completed, the applicant may get a time-limited (‘temporary’), distinguishable, guest worker entry card which may be used to gain entry and employment and as a residence permit, or is refused because of failure to be approved in the background check. Families of guest workers should not be encompassed by a guest worker card for lawful entry into the United States, and residence.
All the goals and benefits for non citizens and American businesses can be achieved through a temporary guest worker program without extending the rights and privileges of U. S. citizenship, which are best reserved for legal immigrants that have gone though the lawful immigration process.