We hear politicians recommend a temporary guest worker program for illegal immigrants so they can be able to legally stay in the country.
Other than being amnesty for lawbreakers, there are other problems with such programs. For example, such programs can lead to exploitation of the workers, besides other problems.Reuters reported that they are used to recruit many thousands of unskilled foreign workers. And the employers are given a lot of power over the workers which make it little less than slavery.
Mary Bauer, the director of the immigrant justice project for the Center , said: “Workers are abused fairly systematically. This is not a question of bad employers. It’s built into the structure of the program. . . . There are few legal rights and the legal rights that do exist are almost never enforced …. Right now it (the program) is the subject of chronic, shameful abuses,” (1)
Many of the workers have to pay thousands of dollars to their employers for jobs ad visas and also sign over deeds of their own property and cars from their native countries, leaving themselves in a lot of dept. Then they also don’t get medical care in case of an accident and earn much less than the minimum wage. (2)
Despite these conditions, many don’t complain out of fear of getting fired or blacklisted. (3) However, others take the chance. In another report, many guest workers from India got fired for complaining about slave conditions in their guest worker program from Signal International, comparing it to slavery. (4)
The executive director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance claims that “they were hired in India by a labor recruiter sent by Signal. They had to pay exorbitant amounts to the company, to the recruiter and to the attorney who did the labor certification for them.” (5)Many of the guest workers claimed that even though they were promised jobs, they ended up paying $20,000 to the recruiters. Then they were promised that they would be reimbursed. (6)
Joseph Jacob, one of the guest workers said:“I had to pay $14,000. I worked for years in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, and I spent all the money I had to get the visa, which the recruiter promised would be a permanent residence visa. But that visa never came, and finally he said they could get us a H2B visa. That would give us ten months of work, and if the company renewed it, we might get as much as 30 months. I thought that was the only way I’d ever be able to get back the money they’d taken.” (7)
Other complaints of these guest workers include that they were promised to get paid about $18 an hour. But they only got half of that. And the wages of many of the workers were then reduced. (8)
Philip Martin of the University of California says:
“Guest workers everywhere are associated with distortion and dependence that lead to larger and longer-lasting labor imports than were anticipated. Whether in U.S. agriculture in the 1940s and 1950s, in Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, or the Middle East and Asia since the 1970s, importing foreign workers to cope with ‘temporary’ labor shortages inevitably distorts the economy and increases the dependence of some employers on foreign workers, while some workers, families, and regions come to rely on jobs and wages abroad.” (9)
Also, such programs are costly.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform calculates that the cost of a Guest Worker Program on local communities at the present costs $36 billion. It projects that in 2010 it will cost $61.5 billion, and $106.3 billion in 2020. (10)
Guest Worker programs displace American workers. And more guest workers, who are paid 15 to 30% less than native born American workers would cause wages to go down for Americans. (11)
FAIR also says:“History shows that ‘guestworkers’ rarely go home. Why would we expect the participants in a new guestworker scheme to leave at the end of their participation in the program? If they can become legal aliens, they will stay, and if they can’t, they are still likely to remain. After all, many of them will have already lived here as illegal aliens before participating in the program. What enforcement mechanisms will ensure that they don’t simply remain as illegal aliens after their legal participation in the guestworker program is over? No ‘partial withholding of wages’ will convince them to go home when they can continue to earn more money by staying in the U.S. illegally.” (12)
Also, if we have economic problems then many guest workers will be laid off. And if that happens then they will most likely stay and become a greater burden to Americans. (13)After researching the matter, my conclusion about guest worker programs is that, other than being amnesty for lawbreakers, they are also exploitive of the workers, they are really costly to local tax payers, and they displace other workers. And they hardly ever go home after their terms as guest workers expire.
I believe that, in the long run, it would be better to enforce the law than to reward illegal immigrants with the opportunity to be able to stay in the country.
- U.S. “guest” worker program exploitative: report, http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1237714820070312
- Ibid, page 2, http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1237714820070312?pageNumber=2
- Guest Workers Fired After Protesting Slave like Conditions, http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/4998/1/247/
- There is Nothing More Permanent than Temporary Foreign Workers, http://www.cis.org/articles/2001/back501.pdf
- The Cost to Local Taxpayers for illegal or “Guest” Workers, http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=research_localcosts
- How Guestworker programs Harm American Workers, http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecenters0787
- What’s Wrong with the Proposals for a new Guestworker program?, http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecenters03eb