On March 18, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) unveiled a new, bi-partisan plan for immigration reform.
How nice. Right?
Not really. The new bill has four pillars, one of which is the creation of a guest worker program.
Here’s what Schumer and Graham said in their proposal, the text of which can be found on The Washington Post’s Web site:
(here’s the link if you want to take the paper title: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031703115.html)
“Our blueprint also creates a rational system for admitting lower-skilled workers. Our current system prohibits lower-skilled immigrants from coming here to earn money and then returning home. Our framework would facilitate this desired circular migration by allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can show they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position; allowing more lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs and fewer in a recession; and permitting workers who have succeeded in the workplace, and contributed to their communities over many years, the chance to earn a green card.”
Here’s the catch: as noted in this month’s article Be Our “Guest,” the United States already has a program to admit lower-skilled workers. There has always been some kind of system to bring unskilled laborers to the country since 1942.
Why are Schumer and Graham making pretend that the H2 guest worker programs already in place don’t exist? Why do they keep acting like their idea to bring unskilled laborers to the United States is a totally innovative idea?
Is it because they realize that the current program is a total ethical failure? What we need is immigration and workers reform based on human rights. Instead, with Schumer and Graham’s “new” plan, we keep seeing the same old same old; immigrants being treated as commodities. Working hands without a working brain.
“Over the last six or seven years we have seen the same kinds of proposals introduced into Congress,” journalist David Bacon said in an interview for Be Our “Guest.” “They establish guest worker programs and an employer-driven labor supply program, coupled with heavy enforcement…One after another we’ve seen these bills. They have been fought against by progressive people, and unions, and immigration organizations, and none of those bills have passed.”
What’s Bacon’s proposal for Congress? Eliminate the guest worker program and give out more green cards.
“It’s simple. We need to make it possible for people to come here in a safe and legal way, with rights and in a status that affords people as much equality as we can get,” Bacon said. “People with green cards have a lot more rights than people who have visas that say they can only stay here if they are working.”