Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Market-Driven Guest Worker Program Essential

After months of negotiation, the Gang of Eight has brought forth a comprehensive proposal on immigration. There has been a mostly collective sigh of relief that finally something may be working in Washington. But, of course, the interest groups of the left and especially the right are beginning to see flaws. And, the Chechen brothers didn’t help.

The legislation, “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” is designed to solve a host of problems that have been trouble since the last run at the issue in 2006. And, it’s politically sophisticated, with major elements of it in alignment with public opinion. The legislation has several aspects aimed as internal security; i.e., border security, identifying 11 million illegals, employment verification and visa tracking.

But if there is a weakness, it’s embedded in the guest worker program.  In a national poll conducted the end of March, voters recognized the guest worker program may be the most critical part to a long-term solution and that the program should be driven by market forces and not government caps and quotas.

Three questions in the recent Ciruli Associates and public Opinion Strategies (POS) national voter poll capture the public’s awareness of the importance of guest workers and their preference for the program to be directed by employer demand.

Without a viable market-driven and employment verified guest worker program, Americans realize border security will fail as the economy ultimately drives most immigration, especially illegal.

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