Temporary Worker Bill Absurd On Arrival On Capitol Hill
February 20, 2004, 04:00 AM
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President George W. Bush is, as the saying goes, "up to his ass in alligators."

A February 15 USA Today/Gallup poll shows Bush losing to both Senators John Kerry and John Edwards by ten points. Among the Bush albatrosses are Iraq, jobs, the deficit, the budget and his treasonous guest-worker amnesty plan.

You gotta wonder if Bush wishes he hadn`t promised the moon to his good buddy Mexican President Vicente Fox. As we all know so well, Fox gets testy when he doesn`t get his way on "migratory matters."

The Congressional debate regarding the Bush plan is off to the races. On February 12, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border, Security, and Citizenship held its initial hearing on "Evaluating a Temporary Guest Worker Proposal."

Forgive me for concluding that the fix is in. Judge for yourself. In all, ten testified. Here are excerpts from three subcommittee members:

bulletU.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee: "Many U.S. employers of aliens have difficulties in finding Americans to fill jobs performed by illegal aliens. These jobs range from agriculture to construction to the carpet industry in my home state." 

bulletU.S. Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT): "In most circumstances, allowing essential foreign workers to remain on a temporary visa may be sufficient. However, we must not preclude the possibility of ever extending greater compassion to persons in extraordinary circumstances and who possess the qualities we desire in all Americans." 

  • U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "… the President should endorse … S.1545, the DREAM Act, a Hatch-Durbin bill that this Committee has passed, which would provide legal status to some undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, and which would allow states to offer them in-state tuition. Second, this Committee should take up S.1645, the AgJOBS bill, which Senator Craig and Senator Kennedy have introduced with widespread bipartisan support. Their bill would make it easier for agricultural employers to find workers, and for workers who are here illegally to earn legalization through their important contributions to the U.S. economy."

And here are comments from six others who testified:

  • Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security: "The President`s proposed Temporary Worker Program is a bold step, aimed at reforming our immigration laws, matching willing workers with willing employers, and securing our Homeland. The President`s proposal holds the promise of strengthening our control over U.S. borders and, in turn, improving homeland security."

bullet Eduardo Aguirre, Director U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services: "This is not an amnesty program…. it creates ongoing opportunity for individuals abroad to apply to come temporarily to the United States and legally fill jobs that American workers will not fill, thereby presenting long-term, viable alternatives to the risks associated with illegal immigration."

bullet Steven Law, Deputy Secretary of Labor: "As the President has indicated, under the current system we know that millions of hard-working men and women must live in fear and insecurity in a massive undocumented economy."

bullet Charles Cervantes, General Counsel, U.S.- Mexico Chamber of Commerce: "The Chamber applauds the efforts of the President to give some type of relief to the millions of undocumented workers already here as well as to US employers who are unable to find able and willing workers in this country and yet who cannot afford to wait years for a qualified alien worker to obtain permanent resident status." 

bullet Richard R. Birkman, President, Texas Roofing Company of Austin on behalf of the National Roofing Contractors Association: "Like many of the family-owned member companies of NRCA, Texas Roofing Company has found it difficult to meet its labor demands solely through relying on the domestic workforce. In fact, I would estimate that 95 percent of my workforce today is Latino, most of whom were not born in the United States." 

  • Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of Migration Policy Institute gave a long-winded rambling, Teddy Kennedy-esque defense of amnesty: "Many of today`s illegally resident immigrants have already spent years in the country, are parents of citizen children, qualify for but are unable to receive their immigration benefits in a timely fashion and are working at jobs that are permanent in every sense of the word."

Only the last to appear, Doctor Vernon Briggs, Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, accurately testified about the true consequences of guest worker programs.

I quote here Briggs` last paragraph but strongly urge you to read his entire testimony:

"Except in national emergencies, guest worker programs are bad public policy. They may meet the short terms pleas of private interest groups, but they can never meet the higher standard of being public policies that serve the national interest."

I spoke with Briggs to get his sense of the hearings.  He said: "I was disappointed that no one before me mentioned that the US has 34 million low income workers—that is, workers making less than $8.70 hourly. The last thing we need is more unskilled labor."

Added Briggs: "I tried to emphasize that any variation of a guest worker program is simply the wrong thing for America. Historically, they have all failed. Some seemed surprised to hear my pointed criticisms. And I was surprised at how superficial the overall testimony was. For example, there was no mention of the impact this might have on schools or local communities."

"Most importantly," Professor Briggs continued, "employer sanctions have to be at the core of any guest worker program. And they must be enforced. Realistically, our jails should be full of employers who routinely hire illegal aliens. And treasury coffers should be overflowing with money generated by fines on unscrupulous employers."

"The good news," Briggs concluded, "is that nothing is going to happen this year. So we can continue to build momentum against the guest worker plan.

"And based on the mail I got from irate citizens who saw my testimony on C-SPAN, there is a lot of frustration out there."

Americans have an eight-month window of opportunity to hammer home to their incumbent Congressional representative that his re-election hinges on working to defeat guest worker legislation in any form.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.