Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Scrap guest worker visa: Faulty reasoning?

Senator: Scrap Temporary Worker Program

The guest worker program, part of the immigration reform legislation currently in the Senate, is being criticized by labor unions and business groups alike:

Many labor unions say it would keep wages low and create a class of abused foreign workers. Some business groups call the leave-and-return element unworkable.

Sen. Dorgan, sponsor of an amendment to strike the guest worker program, is following the union line of reasoning:

"It is just a fiction that these are jobs Americans aren't willing to do," Dorgan said. "The fact is that the overwhelming majority of these jobs are currently done by Americans. The main reason that big corporations want a guest worker program is that it will drive down U.S. wages."

The "wages" argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny. We don't have to guess about the effect of guest workers on wages because the guest workers are already here and have been for a long time. It is hard to imagine how issuing a visa will change the existing economics of that segment of the labor market.

If having a guest worker program is a bad idea, those against it will have to come up with a better argument.

Trackposted to Pirate's Cove, Rightlinx, Alabama Improper, stikNstein... has no mercy, Big Dog's Weblog, and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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