Peter DeFazio (D-OR) makes some sense on guest worker schemes
Posted Thu, Feb 9, 2006 at 4:45 am
That U.S. Rep. voted for HR4437 and - surprisingly for a Democrat - he makes some sense in "Amnesty won't fix immigration woes":
America has a proud heritage as a beacon for the dispossessed and oppressed, who come from around the world for a shot at achieving their dreams.
However, a nation that does not control its own borders is not secure. We need to know who is coming into our country, and we must keep out people who are not authorized to enter. With 500,000 or more people entering illegally every year, the status quo is not acceptable...
...I am not convinced there is a labor shortage that requires the importation of 550,000 or more guest workers every year, as envisioned by the immigration reform bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. - which also allows family members to come along, doubling or tripling the number of new arrivals. Only after improving wages and working conditions and proving that no Americans are available for the job should an employer be able to recruit guest workers.
I am concerned that guest worker proposals will continue to erode the wages and working conditions of tens of millions of Americans and legal immigrants. The Commission on Immigration Reform, created in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, reported, "Guest worker programs have depressed wages" and reduced employment opportunities for "unskilled American workers, including recent immigrants," who can be easily "displaced by newly entering guest workers."
Other studies, including research by the National Research Council and the liberal Economic Policy Institute, show immigrants under guest worker programs are paid 15 percent to 33 percent less than U.S. citizens, even in highly skilled jobs, driving down wages for all workers.
All workers deserve the protection of labor laws. In fact, existing guest worker programs already nominally provide such protections, but they are not enforced. The lack of enforcement has reached crisis proportions. I don't believe that will magically change under a new guest worker program...