Q&A Friday #90: What About A Guest Worker Program?

Question: “I am a long time reader and a first time commenter. I am not from the United States, but have been following the illegal immigration debate in your country. I am curious as to whether or not you think conservatives would agree with a guest worker program that would allow Mexicans to legally enter the United States and work at the low end seasonal jobs they currently do that most Americans can’t be bothered with. If conservatives would have a problem with a guest worker program, why would that be?” — Ron_Bacardi

Answer: First of all, let me just note that there is no such thing as a job that Americans won’t do. There are only jobs that Americans won’t do for a certain paycheck.

Illegals often don’t pay health care or car insurance and they either pay no taxes or actually get rebates, because they lie on their taxes. Moreover, if they have families, they’re usually in other countries where the salaries and cost of living are much lower. Because of that, they can work for wages dramatically lower than those of American workers. So, in the end, illegals — and for that matter, guest worker programs — drive down wages and hurt the poorest Americans.

But, setting that aside, it’s worth noting that we already have multiple guest worker programs in this country. So, what we’re discussing is whether to harm even more low income Americans with guest worker programs in order to fatten the banks accounts of more corrupt businessmen.

Truthfully, we don’t need any guest worker programs at all because the market will always adjust. If every illegal alien in the country disappeared tomorrow, there would be a small, temporary rise in prices with a few products, but in a year, 99% of the general public would never even notice that they were gone.

However, the people who would notice they were gone — crooked businessmen trying to run their law abiding competitors out of business by using illegals, liberals who see illegals as future votes, and members of the grievance industry — are the ones driving the push for a guest worker program.

As a general rule, I think we’d be better off as a country if we had no guest worker programs at all, but if we are going to have them, I at least think certain rules should be followed.

* Participation in them should be treated as a privilege and should only be granted to people who respect our laws enough not to enter our country illegally.

* Guest worker programs should be temporary. In other words, someone comes here, they work for a period of time, then they go home and we bring in another guest worker. Sure, guest workers should be able to apply for American citizenship and, yes, if they come here, keep their nose clean, and do a good job, that should be a plus towards their getting citizenship, but the program shouldn’t lead to open ended stays in the US or to necessarily becoming US citizens.

* Children born to guest workers in the US, like the children born to diplomats in the US, should not be considered US citizens merely because the mother happened to be in the US when she gave birth.

If we take illegals who are already here and reward their law breaking by allowing them to participate in a guest worker program or worse yet, by giving them the great honor of becoming US citizens, all we’re doing is encouraging tens of millions of other illegals to sneak into the US so they can get in on the next amnesty.

PS: Immigration as a whole makes this country better and stronger, but the same can’t be said for illegal immigration. Moreover, the need for guest worker programs is just a symptom of how screwed up and corrupted our immigration policies have become in the US — but that’s a whole different post.

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