In the early 1990s I had a conversation with Peter Brimelow, author of "Alien Nation" and one of the staunchest immigration critics. "You know, Linda," he said, in his charming British accent that betrays his own foreign roots, "we could end illegal immigration at once if we enacted a program that made all the illegals guest workers." Today, I suspect, Brimelow and others would attack such a plan as amnesty.
Well, you don't have to suspect it, Linda, you can read it right on VDARE.COM (or pick up the phone for that matter).
As it happens, and unlike most of the immigration reform community, I have indeed long been interested in a guest worker program. I think the prospect of a substitute source of temporary cheap labor could cause the businesss lobby to snuffle off out of the immigration enthusiast coalition like the blind, selfish, savage shrew it so much resembles. The we could get legal numbers down. Immigration patriots have to learn to divide and conquer.
But the guest worker program I envisaged was not for people who have already entered the county illegally. I think Americans should get to chose who they want in their own country.
When you give guest worker status to people who have entered the country illegally, you are giving them an amnesty.
Even more importantly, as we've said repeatedly, YOU CAN'T HAVE GUEST WORKERS UNLESS BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP IS ABOLISHED. Otherwise, the guest workers will have "anchor babies" and never leave.
While we're quoting each other, I myself remember telling Linda (who is also charming, by the way) that I had made this birthright citizenship point to the immigration enthusiasts' then-favorite economist, the late Julian Simon, after he proposed a guest worker program in a New York Times Op Ed piece in 1995. Simon, who was one of those people who unhesitatingly lie their way out of awkward debating corners, replied that he'd never thought of it.
Linda received this news with justified cynicism. "That's exactly what he said to me when I raised it with him", she said.
So Linda knows about the birthright citizenship problem. Why doesn't she mention it now? (Ask her).