Monday, March 27, 2006

The Answer Is More Worker Visas

Tamar Jacoby:

The Manhattan Institute and the National Immigration Forum recently conducted a series of focus groups testing two contrasting options: a guest worker program or a more traditional immigration plan based on the idea of citizenship. The results ran sharply counter to the expectations of policymakers in Washington. Democrats and Republicans alike overwhelmingly preferred the citizenship model for reasons of both principle and practicality. It might make sense initially, these voters said, to admit workers on a provisional basis. It might also make sense to create incentives for the more transient to go home at the end of their work stints. But if they worked hard, put down roots and invested in their communities, wouldn't we want to encourage them to stay? Don't we want immigrants to assimilate? Don't we want to attract the kind of hard-working, committed folks who plan for the future and invest?

The answer is, of course, that we do. This isn't just the American way, it's also the antidote to many of our worst fears about immigration: Sojourners with no stake in the future are going to be much less likely to learn English or buy their own homes or make an effort to move up on the job.

Sure, a citizenship plan looks like a bigger gamble; like the workers, the changes that come with it will be permanent. But surely it would be better to face up to that change and shape it in a way consistent with our values. Rather than a one-size-fits-all guest worker program, we need a system that leaves room for workers to choose, welcoming those who feel they belong and who work their way up and make our country stronger as they do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any studies that come out of the Manhatten Institute and have anything to do with Tamar Jacoby are highly suspect. She is nothing but an open-borders, cheap labor shill. I don't think she much cares about immigrants one way or another but she is keen to have a huge workforce of compliant poor labor.

3/27/2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger HispaniCon said...

I know exactly how you feel. I am highly suspicious of Mark Krikorian and Steve Camarota.

3/27/2006 9:33 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Why are you suspicious of Krikorian? How do you compare him to Tamar Jacoby? Is it because they are on either extremes?

3/29/2006 2:54 AM  

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