Jose Luis Vazquez and Elia Garcia know what they're talking about when they predict that new immigrants crossing the border under the U.S. Senate's temporary guest worker program won't go home.
They each came over illegally more than a decade ago. They have children, jobs and houses - a life that would be difficult to dismantle because of a date on the calendar.
...But some immigration experts say temporary worker programs have never worked in free market societies, because as workers become used to higher wages and start to assimilate, they don't want to go back. It's even harder to return once children are born here, making them automatic Americans, and the Senate bill allows for spouses of workers also to obtain visas.
"I think the general conclusion of everybody who has studied guest or temporary worker programs is that they are never as advertised," said Michael Teitelbaum, a demographer with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York. "They are never temporary programs, nor are the workers temporary."
Fewer than half the "Bracero" workers brought in to work the farms in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War went home, said Vernon Briggs, a labor economist at Cornell University.
"These things are a disaster," he said. "They don't stop illegal immigration. What they basically do is encourage people to keep coming."
...Fourteen years later, [another illegal alien] has two children who are U.S. citizens and a life she says is rooted in America. She hasn't been the few miles back to Mexico, and says it would be wrong to send people back who have contributed years of their life to the U.S. culture and economy.
"We have had to fight, we have children who are accustomed to life here," she said. "It is too much to ask that it all be just temporary."
Immigration · Wed, 06/14/2006 - 10:52 · Importance: 1