An excellent column by Robert J. Samuelson in today's Washington Post. We Don't Need 'Guest Workers'
Here are the key quotes (emphasis added).
"Since 1980 the number of Hispanics with incomes below the government's poverty line (about $19,300 in 2004 for a family of four) has risen 162 percent. Over the same period, the number of non-Hispanic whites in poverty rose 3 percent and the number of blacks, 9.5 percent. What we have now -- and would with guest workers -- is a conscious policy of creating poverty in the United States while relieving it in Mexico. By and large, this is a bad bargain for the United States. It stresses local schools, hospitals and housing; it feeds social tensions ...A persuasive argument from a respected economist, not a racist or an angry nationalist. Illegal immigration must be stopped. Not managed or regulated but ended. Why do we want millions of unskilled people who do not speak or read English? We don't.
"It's a myth that the U.S. economy "needs" more
poor immigrants. .... They're drawn here by wage differences, not labor "shortages."
"President Bush says his guest worker program would "match willing foreign workers with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs." But at some higher wage, there would be willing Americans.
"Business organizations understandably support guest worker programs. They like cheap labor and ignore the social consequences. What's more perplexing is why
liberals, staunch opponents of poverty and inequality, support a program that worsens poverty and inequality. Poor immigrant workers hurt the wages of
unskilled Americans. The only question is how much.