As we watch
Mexican flags flying above
massive street demonstrations in several major US
cities and the Senate Judiciary Committee report out a
bill that would legalize 11 million aliens who
jumped to the head of the immigration line by
crossing our borders without permission, it is
interesting to realize that key questions about this
proposed guest worker program are not really being
asked and certainly not properly explored. I'm a
Democrat, but I say we citizens from
both major parties deserve better and we simply are
not getting the treatment we deserve.
Recently, in his usual thoughtful
Dr. John Tanton, founder of the Federation for
American Immigration Reform (FAIR), put together
twenty-four questions about any guest worker program
that need answering by guest worker advocates:
- Will spouses and children be able to accompany
the guest worker? Just
minor children, or adult ones as well?
- Will any or all of the above be able to demand
government services in the language of their choice,
President Clinton's Executive Order 13166? Will
the workers be required to have at least a minimal
working knowledge of English?
- Will the children be
eligible to attend school, and if so, at
whose expense? In what
language(s) will they be educated?
- How will health care services - including birth
control - be provided and paid for?
- Will any
children born in the United States,
automatically become U.S. citizens?
- Will the workers be eligible for the Earned
Income Tax Credit? Will children
remaining in the home country count as
deductions when calculating the EITC benefit? How
will the number of dependents claimed be
- Will IRS and Social Security charges be deducted
from their wages? Will they be eligible for
Social Security benefits, either here, or later
in their home country? How many quarters of work
will be required for eligibility? (Six years equals
24 quarters, less than the 40 quarters required for
- Will workers be permitted to marry? Will those
marry a U.S. citizen, or have a child while
here, be able to stay beyond the six-year period?
Would a man who
fathers an "illegitimate" child qualify
for citizenship on petition by the child when it
reaches legal majority?
- How about
Worker's Compensation and unemployment?
- If the job for which the worker came to the
United States evaporates or otherwise disappears,
will workers be required to take a different job, or
returned home? If relocation is required, who will
pay the expense? Will they be eligible for
unemployment? If so, who pays the premium?
child labor laws apply, especially in the
- Will the workers be able to purchase a car, and
obtain a U.S. drivers license? If so, will they be
required to purchase
automobile insurance, and will this be
available to them at a cost they can likely
- Will children be eligible to
attend college? If so, at what tuition rate:
in-state or out-of-state?
minimum wage laws apply? How about the
- Will the workers be free to
unionize to demand
improved wages and conditions?
- Will there be requirements for
immunizations, and initial and periodic health
clearances? On what schedule?
- Will workers come under any
contract? If so, enforceable in what courts?
Will public defenders be provided? At whose
- What system of identification documents will be
- If conditions have not
improved in the home country after six years,
what are the chances that the guest workers will go
home? Did the guest workers imported from Europe
after World War II go home when they were no longer
needed, or did they stay and send for their families
to join them?
- Will workers and their adult spouses be able to
- How will the workers (and families) be
housed and fed?
- Will workers be permitted to
travel home at will?
- Given these difficulties, won't most employers
of the illegal aliens still
- Taken as a whole, isn't this really just a
We know the answer to that last
question, but we are fearful that the answer will be
another huge amnesty with no border security.
Winning the current immigration
reform debate means controlling our borders and not
legalizing those who came here illegally. The
outlook is desperate.
greed of the businesses that have paid Congress to
turn a blind eye to the growing immigration problem for
40 years has created
11 to 20 million illegal aliens here. Many of their
legal relatives already here seem to think more is
The self appointed ethnic lobbies
like La Raza and LULAC then piled on, with big money
from many leading US corporations, and with the
religious leaders like
Cardinal Roger Mahony of LA and many well-meaning
bleeding hearts, this powerhouse, self-interested
coalition so far has beaten back the objections of the
80 percent of us citizens who want real border
We average citizens are without
PACs. We have the power of the polls to discipline
our 2 major parties. But since both of them are on the
payroll of this open border coalition, winning will
be elusive—in the short run.
As I write this on Wednesday night,
hangs in the balance in the Senate. America as a
whole, however, has long since voted no.
Donald A. Collins [email
him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.