Thursday, March 09, 2006

Guest workers

The Senate Judiciary Committee has today begun debating the sort of guest worker program that Bush has proposed as a solution to the tensions involved in illegal immigration: on the one hand the need for more workers in certain industries including agriculture but also including high-tech industries; on the other, the need to control the number of people coming into the United States and the demands they might make on our economy--I'll leave it as an open question whether immigrants create or take more value in our economy, though I have my opinion.
The proposal suggested would allow people to come to the US for three years and, perhaps allow them to renew this once, but then they would be required to return to their home countries. It seems that this is supposed to avoid the sort of difficulties that have arisen with, for instance, Germany's guest worker program, which has created a permanent Turkish underclass within--and separated from--German society. But it is wholly unclear how a temporary underclass of people who both are not citizens and
cannot become or apply to become citizens--since this is a part of the proposal as well--is a better solution. We are essentially saying to the poor or specially skilled citizens of other nations that we need them, but that we don't really want them, and that we especially don't want them to stay around long enough to gain higher incomes or become the sorts of people that we might have to pay attention to. This is to devalue these people as people, and look at them simply as economic necessities. It is a halfway house between allowing immigration and reforming our own economic and labor policies that has the vices of every possible solution and no real virtues in human terms. Moreover, it is simply ridiculous to think that at the end of a person's term in the US, s/he will cooperatively return to the place s/he was so eager to leave. Not only is it humanistically problematic, the whole proposal seems predicated on a lie.

3 comments:

topak said...

crazy_talk

Maybe we should have limits on natural citizens too. That, after a certain number of years of presumed comfort in the USA, unless you pay/apply for a certain status, volunteer for the armed services, or know someone who knows someone, you'd have to be exported to another country to keep the "ideal" class/type/color/race/orientation type of red-blooded patriotic americans in power.

/crazy_talk

Aren't we supposed to honor our guests as we would wish to be so? Isn't that the lesson of Soddom & Gammorah?

Tyler said...

I think you should forward your crazy talk onto the government. I wouldn't be surprised if someone got behind it.

The lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah is just what you have said it is; but unfortunately many religious conservatives (and religious liberals) have a tendency to forget any of the socio-moral lessons of their religions. For some reason, many people seem to believe that morality is purely a matter of one's private actions and not a matter of what ought to be done in the broader society.

topak said...

Crazy_talk is also behind the movement to add get a constitutional ammendment banning heterosexual divorces. If marriage is ONLY between ONE man and ONE woman. Then they'd better stick to it, or they would be hypocritical bigamists who should be taxed more for their licentiousness.