Guest Worker Program
Bush suggested a program for guest workers in 2004 to help bring labor to the United States. Many speculate that it was Bush’s way to give back to illegal immigrants.
Bush spoke out about the importance of immigrants in shaping America’s future and their contributions to the American economy. Americans have a long tradition of welcoming immigrants into their country. They are able to integrate well into American culture. Bush stated that the U.S. has been a role model for other countries due to the rapid growth of immigrant populations. As they work long hours and take on challenging jobs, the contributions of immigrants are evident. Many immigrants are entrepreneurs, and they often open their own businesses that contribute to the U.S. economic growth. Bush drew on his own experiences as a Texan in order to highlight how Mexican immigrants he had known have made a positive impact on the country. He said that immigrants bring with them certain values such as family, work ethic and independence. Bush also mentioned the thousands of immigrant soldiers currently serving in the military. Although they may not be of American descent, this does not stop them from taking advantage of the many opportunities this country offers.
Bush stressed the positive qualities of immigrants and the fact that the United States is dependent on them. He suggested that the current immigration system be changed. Employers take advantage of illegal immigrants’ current situation by paying them less than the minimum wage, sometimes forcing them into inhumane conditions. Numerous hardworking illegal immigrants fear being deported due to the nationwide raids. Many undocumented immigrants live in fear of being reported to authorities and could be deported. This can lead to many problems, including not reporting crimes to authorities. Bush said that the United States is limiting its resources to patrol the border in order to stop illegal immigrants from entering the country. This hinders the overall effort of the United States and causes resources to be wasted. Bush argued that a better immigration system is needed to allow more people to live the American Dream.
Many immigrants arrive in America with the intent of making their lives better through the many opportunities available. Many immigrants find themselves in jobs that aren’t popular with American workers. Illegal immigrants often suffer abuse and make great sacrifices in order to reach the United States. Sometimes they are also exploited. Fears of deportation often mean that abuses and exploitation go unreported. Bush criticized the country’s current immigration system and stated that the laws are unfair and need to be made more humane. Bush’s proposal for a temporary worker program would allow foreign workers to fill jobs that Americans are not often willing to consider. A company cannot hire a foreign worker under the guest worker program unless they make reasonable efforts to find an American employee to fill the job vacancy. If the job is not filled, the employer may then attempt to hire an immigrant with a valid work permit. Employers must only hire people with valid permits. Employers must also report information about their guest workers to the government. Permits are granted for three years and can be renewed if they meet certain conditions. Anyone who violates any laws or requirements will lose their permit and face deportation. Employers who violate the guest worker program’s work laws will face severe penalties from the government.
Participants in the guest worker program must register and pay a fee. The fees and registration required would vary depending on whether the person is currently in the country or abroad. Participants would receive a temporary worker card to help them identify themselves. The U.S. government could also work closely with foreign governments to ensure that foreign workers have incentives to return home after their work permit expires. A way for temporary workers to receive credit for work done in America, which can be applied to their retirement system in foreign countries, is also possible. Temporary workers could also contribute part of their earnings towards a retirement savings plan. Although the 2004 guest work program was rejected, it is believed that the guest worker program will be one of the most important immigration issues to be addressed in the coming year. The 2007 bill for immigration reform included the guest worker program, but it was not passed by Congress.