Skip to comments.No such thing as 'temporary workers'
Posted on 12/12/2005 9:15:58 AM PST by DumpsterDiver
WASHINGTON President Bush has recently been promoting his proposals for a large temporary worker program as a way to effectively enforce immigration laws. As Mr. Bush presents it, such a program to address growing concerns over the flow of illegal workers would rest securely on a "win-win" basis in the following ways:
The willingness of temporary workers and employers to participate in the program would allow both to "win."
The U.S. economy would benefit from higher productivity without increasing tax burdens for existing public services.
U.S. politicians would gain support from employer groups or sympathetic ethnic or religious lobby groups pushing for such policies.
Mexico would "win" by exporting surplus workers who send back hard currency to their relatives.
Yet these win-win scenarios do not reflect likely realities. Decades of experience with such temporary worker programs in high-wage liberal democracies worldwide show that neither the programs nor the migrants turned out to be genuinely "temporary."
Mexico is unlikely to realize sustained benefits from exporting workers. Migrants' payments sent back to relatives wane over time, and such payments can stimulate land price inflation, conspicuous consumption of imported goods, and rising inequalities of wealth rather than stay-at-home development.
In the past, proponents have declared that such migrants would require very little in public expenditures. Yet universally, some temporary workers find ways to bring their families to join them, and then become substantial beneficiaries of existing government-financed programs such as public education, healthcare, and safety-net services for low-income residents. Politicians have also discovered - too late - that temporary worker programs really are labor subsidies to low-wage sectors such as garments, labor-intensive agriculture, and in-home personal services, retarding efforts to raise the level of national wages and productivity.
Temporary-worker programs are often portrayed as a legal and humane alternative to unauthorized migration. But they fail to acknowledge that the last major Mexico-U.S. temporary worker program, the so-called bracero program, actually was the initiator and accelerator of today's large-scale unauthorized migration. The same is true across Western Europe, where "guest worker" programs based on similar claims were embraced during the economic booms of 30 to 40 years ago. Their "guests" for temporary work were transformed into millions of permanently resident "foreigners," who today have very high rates of unemployment and welfare dependency.
Most current proposals involve some form of "legalization" to "clear the slate" of about 11 million unauthorized residents, usually via a gradual process by which unlawful residents can earn legal immigrant status by doing farm or other work. Here, too, the record is more than clear: Such policies have a dismal recent history. In 1987-88, 2.8 million unauthorized migrants obtained U.S. legal status. Yet despite this massive legalization, the farm labor market in California again is dominated by unauthorized workers.
Given this history, one might wonder why some U.S. politicians are now proposing yet another guest-worker program. The subject is driven by odd coalitions of long-antagonistic regional, ideological, economic, and ethnic interest groups. Both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats see the potential to gain large numbers of additional political and financial supporters. How? Conservatives expect to draw voters who favor their traditional social and cultural values. Liberal advocates expect to swell their political constituencies by favoring income redistribution policies, organized labor, affirmative action, and so on.
Of course both expectations cannot both be right. In politics, if someone gains, someone else loses. In addition, while guest worker and legalization proposals are being promoted as panaceas to reduce unauthorized migration, all contain the very seeds of their own failure. The most likely outcomes actually would be to increase unlawful flows across the borders.
Why is a guest-worker program being pushed? Because some employer and ethnic lobbies expect to benefit substantially and rapidly. There would be costs, but these would be slower to appear, and would be paid for by the federal and local governments rather than by the interest groups that benefit. The result is politics driven by small, concentrated, and well-financed interest groups that expect to profit significantly in the short term.
People, as economist Adam Smith once observed, are "the most difficult baggage to transport over borders." Among those who have carefully studied recent experience, there is an overwhelming and concise consensus: There is nothing more permanent than temporary workers.
Michael S. Teitelbaum, a demographer at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was vice chair of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.
Philip L. Martin, professor of labor economics at the University of California at Davis, was a member of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Agricultural Workers.
'bout sums it up, I'd say. Take the freebies away from able bodied Americans and they'll pick lettuce or whatever.......
Those Americans are just collecting the welfare that illegal immigrants won't collect.
If the temp visa is convertable to permanent status and ultimatly citizenship then there is no temp program it is an outright amnesty program.
It would then have all the sincerity of clintons "contributions" vs "tax increases."
Non convertability is not negotiable.
Nonsense. We're all temporary workers. No one gets out of here alive.
"Those Americans are just collecting the welfare that illegal immigrants won't collect."
Hey Laz! You got any illegal aliens in your family?
Just the one.
A wonderful article on the failures of past programs.
It doesn't even bother to look at how the new proposed programs address these issues.
It doesn't even bother to consider reality.
We are at 5% unemployment in this country even with the huge number of illegal immigrants working here.
We need to fix our illegal immigration problem, but we also need to fix our legal immigration problem. If we succeed at reducing the number of illegal immigrants without fixing legal immigration we will seriously cripple parts of our economy.
We need to fix immigration policy. We need to cut off entitlements to people here on any form of work visa and their families.
However, we do have more jobs than legal workers in the US. We have a need for workers.
This article is one great big straw man argument.
It argues against our past immigration policy failures, and doen't even compare the new plans to the old.
All I seem to see are articles that complain about our current policies and mistakes made in the past, and then suggest that any new plans are bad because the past plans were bad without making any real comparison.
If we keep up this approach we will never have successful immigration reform in this country.
We will never get laws passed that deal with illegal immigration, but don't address valid needs for legal immigration. Even if we do, they won't be enforced because what local law enforcement is going to shut down local businesses and ruin the local economy and watch lots of legal citizens lose their jobs in order to enforce a law that does them more harm than good.
They'll go after the illegal immigrants that are unemployed or ones they arrest for other things, but they aren't going to go after the ones working for a living if the employer doesn't have another choice for workers.
At the same time, we don't need to increase legal immigration unless we enforce our immigration laws.
However, the real key is addressing how our entitlement programs are bleeding us dry. Immigration is supposed to meet our needs as a country, not import the problems of other countries.
We need to be selective and only allow people to come here that can provide a benefit to our country and if they cease to do that, we need to deport them and replace them with someone that can provide a benefit to our country.
This article doesn't address fixing that. This article complains that since immigration policy has failed in the past, new policies will fail also.
That's an attitude that results in inaction.
It's an attitude that will continuously blame others and offer no real solutions.
We need to dump that attitude and start working to fix the problem, because the effects of our immigration policy are doing serious damage to this country and it's getting worse.
Fernando Ortiz was a landscape engineer on Long Island who had demanded to be able to vote, on the basis that he had been paying state and federal taxes for ten years. Actually, he had been stopped from casting a ballot by a poll watcher who had suspected his citizenship status, and (illegally, as it turned out) demanded proof of his identity and legal qualification to vote. Ortiz had won a multi-million dollar settlement against the Republican Party of New York in the subsequent racial profiling and ethnic intimidation civil suit, but he did not stop there.
Instead, with massive support from the ACLU and various Hispanic immigrants rights foundations, he had pressed his demand to be allowed to vote all the way to the Supreme Court and he won. The Supreme Court, in its famous 5-4 decision, ruled that negligence in securing Americas borders against illegal immigration on the part of the federal government, could not be held against undocumented workers who played by the rules and paid their taxes, once they were established in Americalegally or not. The federal government had not taken reasonable efforts to secure the border, and had not pursued "undocumented workers" in the USA. Instead, it openly permitted them most of the benefits of citizenship, and it collected their taxes. "No taxation without representation!" was the cry heard all the way to the Supreme Court. The State of New York had then sleep-walked through an aimless and desultory case for denying the voteand citizenshipto undocumented workers.
Following Ortiz v. New York, a stunned America woke up to discover that there were not only an amazing twenty-two million illegal aliens hiding in plain sight across the land, but that eight million of them immediately qualified to vote. In a nation split 50-50 down party and ideological lines, these eight million new voters were recognized to be the certain majority-makers in future elections, and both parties set record lows for cravenness in pandering to their needs. Chief among their needs were liberal new family reunification laws, and these instant citizensillegal aliens only a year beforebegan bringing the remainders of their families to the USA. Legally.
Overnight, wavering Democrat states became locks, and swing states with large Hispanic populations went solidly blue. The result was the recent election which had brought Gobernador Deleon to power in Nuevo Mexico, and had also brought radical Democrats to power in the White House and both houses of congress.
Thus had come the political tsunami which swept all before it, a tidal wave triggered by an undocumented lawn maintenance worker named Fernando Ortiz.
Protect our borders and coastlines from all foreign invaders!
Support our Minutemen Patriots!
Be Ever Vigilant ~ Bump!
This is bull. A worker through the guest worker program is going to cost an employer more than they are paying an illegal immigrant now.
The employer will have to cooperate in a program to match their jobs will potential workers. They'll have to show that they tried to hire an American citizen first.
It's a lot easier and cheaper to simply hire someone who provides a SSN that may not be their and not ask too many question.
The only way such a program benefits employers is if we are able to strat effectively enforce immigration laws. Then it allows those companies to continue to find people to work if we significantly reduce the current pool of workers by removing a large portion of the illegal immigrants.
Why don't the employers just hire American citizens? Our unemployment rate is at 5% even with all the illegal immigrants working. Sustaining much lower unemployment rates for long doesn't happen. There is always some turn over in the workplace.
We have more jobs in this country than we have legal workers.
You reduce the number of workers, some businesses have to go under or find a way to survive with significantly fewer workers.
Some companies can survive with fewer workers, but it drives up costs. A large percentage of the businesses that rely on cheap labor are already under serious competitive pressuers from imported goods. They can't raise their prices, they will simply go under and our trade deficit will go up even more.
There's a benefit to American workers to have a tight labor market, but only to point where unemployment is low. Our unemployment levels are already low, fruther tightening of the labor market is just going to harm our economy and hurt everyone in the long run.
Right now I see little hope for reall immigration reform in this country.
There are too many special interest groups involved that aren't interested in a program that meets the needs of the country.
Unions wanting to protect labor markets. Isolationists who are just anti-immigrant. Liberals who are pro-immigrant regardless of the costs.
We need to get rid of the burdens being placed on our country through immigrant's use of entitlement programs. No one here on a work visa should be benefiting from such programs. They are here to provide a possitive benefit to our country by being here. If they aren't doing so, they must be deported.
However, our economy does benefit from people comming here on work visas, and we need such programs or our economy will suffer.
The clerks working in the welfare offices in San Diego were earning less than the welfare checks they delivered to people who did nothing other than hold a hand out for the money. As long as a slacker can collect more money for doing nothing than a willing worker can earn, the market will exist for illegal alien labor. Stop the welfare checks or drop them to half of what could be earned to give the slackers an incentive to work.
The cheap labor lobby, as did the ante-bellum slaveholders, represent a "peculiar interest", that defend their source of cheap labor though it proves the ruination of the country.
State ties steep costs to illegal immigration ^
Using their figures let's use a low approximation of $100 million for 50,000 illegal aliens. That works out to $2000 per each illegal immigrant or a BILLION DOLLARS per 1 MILLION ILLEGALS.
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