Washington Post Op-ed: 'Guest Workers' Won't Work - Mike Cutler speaks
I have met with and debated many folks who have divergent views where the illegal immigration crisis is concerned. One of the people I often disagree with has been Tamar Jacoby. We have locked horns, on occasion about a number of concepts and issues where illegal immigration is concerned. Consequently, it was with real interest that I read the op-ed piece she had published in today's edition of the Washington Post. I have attached her piece below. What is interesting is how much I have to agree with her on much of what she had to say. First of all, I agree with the title of her piece, "Guest Workers Won't Work." I am, indeed, opposed to a guest worker program that will enable illegal aliens who are illegally in our country to gain lawful status and succeed in gaining lawful employment in our country. I have explained my reasons for this on many occasions, but suffice it to say that we can quickly establish a list of why this is wrong-headed. I will start out by reiterating my "Top 5 list" as to why such a program will not work and then continue on to explain why I agree with her on other issues and, as you might expect, disagree with her on others.
5- The amnesty program of 1986 was supposed to get the then estimated 1.5 million illegal aliens out of the proverbial shadows so that they could participate in our society openly and bring rationality and real order to the immigration system. We now know that more than twice that number or more than 3.5 million illegal aliens availed themselves of that opportunity to legalize their status in our country. Since then anywhere from 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens rushed to fill those very same shadows, apparently expecting that what worked for the "class of '86" would work for them so that they too could "graduate" from being illegal aliens to becoming resident aliens and ultimately citizens of our country. (Many politicians such as Senators McCain, Kennedy, Specter and Clinton, to name a few are apparently eager to make this happen.)
4. If we are unable to remove the millions of illegal aliens who are currently illegally in the United States, how will we police this system and make certain that these "Temporary" alien guest workers leave when it is time for them to go?
3. The GAO just released a report that makes it clear that the arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is charged with adjudicating various applications for immigration benefits including the granting of resident alien status and the conferring of United States citizenship upon aliens along with many other applications for a wide variety of benefits, USCIS, is hopelessly overburdened with its myriad responsibilities and consequently, fraud is a major problem for that bureaucracy, as are allegations of outright corruption. This is the same bureaucracy that would be in charge of administering any guest worker amnesty program. (Emilio Gonzalez, the director of USCIS has offered to hire temporary employees to help clear the expected avalanche of applications that a guest worker amnesty program would undoubtedly engender. If there are integrity problems now, imagine what that would do to integrity!) Furthermore, although various proposed bills such as Senator Specter's bill would require that aliens who would apply for a guest worker amnesty program would have to have been physically present in the United States since January 4, 2004, with millions of applications to be adjudicated, how would our bureaucrats be able to determine the truthfulness of statements contained in these applications? There are fewer that 3,000 special agents of ICE that would be able to conduct field investigations into statements made on these applications, provided that ICE stop all other work that is essential to national security and law enforcement needs. This would really amount to an open invitation to aliens from all over the world to come here and claim to have been here for the requisite period of time. We would have no way of making certain that such applications are truthful. We saw this same problem in the amnesty of 1986 which is most likely the reason that by the time the program wrapped up, we had given lawful status to more than twice as many illegal aliens as were originally estimated to be in the United States.
2. There are more than 6 billion people inhabiting our planet. A large percentage of them live below what any reasonable person would consider to be the "poverty line." This means that there are literally billions of people who would love to come to the United States to improve their lives. How many is too many for our country to absorb? Shouldn't our nation, as the "Super Power" and greatest democracy, that our politicians like to say we are, start demanding that rather than have countries such as Mexico send their citizens to our nation for a bright future, that they should be willing to do more to create a higher standard of living in their own countries so that their citizens do not have to come to the United States for a better future? What would anyone think about a family that told their kids to cross a busy street to break into a neighbor's home for food, rather than provide food for their children in their own home? Is that now what Vicente Fox is, in effect, doing with his citizens right now?
1. We are fighting a war on terror and we are also supposedly attempting wage a war on drugs. If our efforts to combat terrorism are as effective as our decades-long war on drugs has been, we are truly in deep, deep trouble! If we cannot secure our borders against illegal aliens, we surely cannot secure our borders against criminals such as violent gangs and especially against terrorists. Illegal immigration does not solely occur on the land borders of the United States. In fact, any state that has an international airport or a seaport is a border states. Immigration fraud that I alluded to previously is also a threat to national security. Janice Kephart, former counsel to the 9/11 Commission conducted a study and found that of the nearly one hundred terrorists who were discovered in our country from about 1990 until the attacks of 9/11, 59 utilized immigration benefit fraud to either gain entry into our country or embed themselves in our country as they made preparations to attack us. The 19 terrorists of the 9/11 attacks had, in the aggregate, some 364 separate pieces of identification to enable them to hide in plain sight. It is entirely possible that terrorists may well provide false names, if we implement a guest worker amnesty program, so that they will be issued new, authentic, identity documents that they can use to obtain a who slew of officially-issued documents such as driver's licenses, Social Security cards, credit cards, etc. This would give them free access to our nation's borders and secure venues such as airports, airliners, military bases, government buildings and others, thereby potentially facilitating future attacks.
Now that I have given you my "Top 5 List" let us consider a few other statements that MS Jacoby makes that I agree with. .
I have attached her own words below . I believe these conclusions I have attached below are entirely accurate and I commend her for her honesty and insight although I believe her estimate about the number of illegal aliens who are currently in the United States is lower that what I believe is the true number. I also disagree that it is difficult to for seasonal laborers to travel across our borders. When I accompanied Bay Buchanan to the U.S. / Mexican border several months ago, the term "fortified" did not come to mind! in Perhaps anyone who doubts this needs to pay a visit to the border regions of the United States and see just how open our borders are. It is not at all difficult to "commute" across our borders. But the rest of her assessment contained below is quite accurate.
"The problem with the guest worker idea starts with practicality: Appealing as it sounds to some, a time-limited program will not work. The adage is true: There is nothing more permanent than a temporary worker. Many of those who come to the United States for short stints will want to stay on when their visas expire, perpetuating the underground economy that the program is supposed to eliminate.
A Path to Permanent Citizenship Would Benefit Everyone This isn't just speculation -- look at the reality today. True enough, many young foreign workers initially come to the United States for what they think will be a short visit, and many do go home after a few years. But unlike past such workers, an increasing number are now staying on. This is partly a result of U.S. policy: Our efforts to fortify the border have made it harder for people to travel back and forth. But other, deeper forces are at work. The traditional flow of migrant farmworkers -- truly seasonal laborers, usually single men -- is giving way to a more diverse stream: both men and women, often with families, less rooted at home and more open to the lure of life in America.
Meanwhile, growing immigrant communities have made settling here a more attractive choice. Of some 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, only 2.4 million are single men, while nearly half are couples and many have children. Legal migrants are even more rooted.
The bottom line: It won't help to bring our quotas more into line with the size of the immigrant flow if we don't also craft a policy in keeping with the way these workers behave -- and today that means accepting the reality that many will want to settle permanently in the United States. "
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/24/AR2006032401719.html 'Guest Workers' Won't Work
Please take the time to read what MS Jacoby had to say and then consider what she believes is a realistic remedy. In essence she would have our nation provide millions of additional permanent visas to aliens who want to come here. In my judgement, this would be the wrong thing to do. Realize that the United States is a nation that produces very little within our borders. Realize that many Americans are under employed as well as unemployed. The next time you buy lunch at a fast food restaurant such as Burger King or McDonalds's and see an adult working there, ask yourself, how does he/she support himself by working there? Why would anyone take such a job if they have a family to support? How many of these employees came to their current jobs when they lost their much better paying jobs to unfair competition by illegal aliens or by outsourcing?
Finally, let me tell you what I observed as an INS agent during the amnesty of 1986. Many aliens who succeeded in acquiring lawful status in the United States, including a man from Mexico who had helped me as an informant, lost their jobs when they approached their employers with their INS-issued document and simply stated that now that they were here legally, they wanted to be paid at least minimum wages and be paid "on the books" so that they could be contributing to their Social Security accounts. The employers' answer was simple and to the point, "You are fired!" The unscrupulous employers did not go out of business, they simply hired the next wave of illegal aliens, many of whom are among those who are now demanding amnesty. There is no door we can shut. It is not possible to keep illegal aliens out of the United States. What is needed is an all-encompassing strategy that removes the attraction that draws the millions of illegal aliens into our country. As I stated when I have testified at Congressional hearings, "No one would break into an amusement park if they could not go on the rides and no one remains in the amusement park at the end of the day when they close down the rides and shut off the lights." I do not believe that we could or even should attempt to deport millions of illegal aliens, we simply need to make it impossible for those who are illegally in the United States to conduct themselves as though they were here legally. It is time to make the distinction between being a citizen and an alien clear. Additionally, we need to make the distinction between being legally and illegally in the United States clear as well. The term "immigrant" is being used by those, such as President Bush, to describe illegal aliens when, in reality the term immigrant means an alien who has lawfully immigrated to the United States. This was not a slip of the tongue, but I believe, a bit of "sleight of hand." George Orwell could not have done it better!
When those who would remove nation's our borders obfuscate the issue by such manipulation of words, it infuriates me and should have the same effect on everyone. The future of our nation is on the line. During the Clinton administration we were all left shaking our heads that the President of our nation was attempting to define the word "is" as he attempted to work his way out of a corner he painted himself into. We live in a democracy where we are supposed to have a government 'by the people.' It is time the politicians realized that the public is smarter than they seem to think we are. It is time for those who are in leadership positions conduct themselves as true leaders by demonstrating honesty and integrity. Half-truths and word games don't cut it!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
-michael cutler- MCutler007@aol.com