America could have a guest worker program similar to the Bracero Program that was started during World War II and the Canadian System that is in place today. First America must recognize a few simple truths. People from Mexico and Central America who come here to work love their own countries, their families and their cultures. They want to support their families and their countries and cultures but in order to do so they must find work, which they cannot do at home, so they come here.
Most of these people are poor, uneducated agrarian workers. If they are not working the land they are doing other menial tasks that are available to them. This is hard work but they are used to it and when they come to America they generally seek out the same type of work. We can use their labor in America but we should make sure they are not taking jobs from Americans. They should only be allowed to do those jobs that Americans are not willing to do or that we do not have enough Americans to fill.
We must also realize that most of the people coming to America from Mexico or Central America are young men who leave behind mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and children who they send money to after they get a job in America. They also wish to return home to visit with their families, not to abandon them. If they find it impossible to return for these visits then the usual course of action for them is to bring their wives and children or other family members here, to America, to be with them. Thus the family unit is now united in America instead of where it should be, in their home country.
Under my proposal America must first change its laws so that a child born to parents who are not American Citizens does not become an American Citizen just because he happens to be born in America. We must take away this magnet. Second, we must identify those jobs that Americans will not do. The first that comes to mind is agriculture. You won’t find many Americans willing to bend over all day picking crops. I think we all know this. Two other areas of expertise that these Guest Workers seem to gravitate to are car washing and restaurant work. When is the last time you had your car washed by a person other than one of Hispanic origin? When is the last time you really looked at the people who took your order at a fast food restaurant or cleaned your table or swept the restaurant floor? I’m betting that if you paid close attention you would see that they too were of Hispanic origin. If you really paid attention you would see that the cook in your favorite Italian restaurant, steakhouse or burger joint is probably a nice hard working young man that comes from somewhere south of the border. In any event there are probably a hundred or more categories of jobs we could identify for these hard working Guest Workers that would be acceptable to all and yet not take a job from an American. One area they should not be working in is construction. They should not be framing, sheet rocking, roofing or pouring the foundations for the millions of homes being built in America every year. Not unless it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no American ready, willing and able to take that construction job.
Once we identify the jobs that we need workers for we must register these workers at the border, provide them with tamper-proof ID cards and transportation to their place of employment and housing, all pre-arranged with and paid for by their new employer.
In the case of large farms requiring great numbers of workers in rural areas this should be fairly simple. They can provide bunkhouses, cafeterias and clinics, which could be shared by a number of local employers, if necessary. (This is somewhat akin to the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program). Finding housing in urban areas for a great number of workers who may work for hundreds of different employers spread out over a large geographic area will be much more difficult, but not impossible. The key here is to put the onus on their employer to make the arrangements prior to hiring and transporting these workers. Housing these workers may have to take the form of large college style dormitories built at various locations throughout a city or take the form of modifying a number of existing apartments to accommodate shared living. The housing may have to be constructed in business parks or light industrial areas. Yes, there may be objections from city and county officials and from neighboring property owners but this comes with the territory. Medical care can be provided at already established local city clinics paid for by employers through vouchers or some other method.
These workers would be here to work, to send money back to support their families and to return to their families at any time they wanted. They could come and go as often as they like as long as they paid for their own transportation from America to their country of origin and back to their job, or not return at all. That would be strictly up to them. If the job they have pays them enough and their employer gives them enough time off I can envision a scenario where some workers who are within a days drive of the border may want to return to their families in Mexico on a regular basis perhaps even every weekend. The key here is that they would be free to travel back and forth. They would not have to sneak across our borders or pay a coyote to smuggle them across. They would have no reason to bring their families to America since they can freely travel home to visit them.
These workers would be here to work and nothing else. Yes of course they would be free to travel, shop, eat at restaurants, attend church and do the same things Americans are free to do. They could move about freely in our society without having to worry about being deported.
They would not be put on a path to Citizenship and we would not require them to assimilate. They could learn English in our night schools or through church groups and through employer sponsored English classes if they so desired. They would not be entitled to welfare or unemployment benefits. They would however be entitled to workers compensation benefits the same as any other employee who gets hurt on the job.
Remember they are citizens of their own country, not America. Think of it in terms of an American traveling to Russia or France or Japan to work. While in those countries he does his job and enjoys the benefits of freely moving about the countryside. He may stay one year, five years or twenty-five years. But while there he is only a guest. He is not offered citizenship nor does he seek it. He is still an American and can return to America to visit as many times as he can afford and that his employment will allow. At the end of his employment he will return to his family and friends in America.
This guest worker plan can also work in another way. There are millions of workers already here in America that are here illegally. They may be here from Mexico, Central America, Europe, Asia or elsewhere. If these workers were allowed the chance to sign up for this guest worker plan I believe they would do so. It is a win-win situation. They can register with the American authorities, receive their identification cards and return to their job, as long as it is a job on the authorized list of jobs that Americans will not do. For those who are working here in jobs that Americans would do they will probably continue to do so and not register. This leaves them in the precarious position of always looking over their shoulder for the Border Patrol.
Another route for them to follow is to give up the job they have, return to their family and country of origin and sign up for the guest worker program in order to take a job that Americans will not do. Again, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of staying and constantly wondering if today will be the day they are caught and deported.
This plan does not authorize amnesty. It does not allow foreign guest workers to bring their families to America. On the contrary it encourages the foreign guest worker to go home as many times as he can to visit his family. It does not provide for government schooling or assistance. It does not allow all of the illegal aliens already living in America to stay. In fact as part of this legislation all employers should be prohibited from hiring any non-registered worker, which would hopefully force many of the illegals already here to leave voluntarily. Add a border fence, plus border enforcement and you have a workable Guest Worker program or as the administration likes to call it, Comprehensive Immigration Reform.