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I am not a Latino, and so I don't pretend to speak for them.  For that reason, I ask: would Latino Americans prefer a "guest worker" program vs. no immigration reform bill (with a path to citizenship) passing during the second Obama term?  Stated simply, would a "guest worker" scheme be better than nothing, better than the status quo?

I ask the question because it seems quite apparent that the current Republican Congress members (whether through a Senate filibuster and/or the House "majority of the majority" rule) will not pass an immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship component.  We can pretend otherwise.  Republicans can delay and dodge, but, if we are honest, at present the only achievable immigration bill will be some form of a "guest worker" bill - - something which is already being described as a "Non-Permanent Legal Resident."

It is a status which will be "legal," but it will not entail citizenship, voting, SS, Medicare or (probably) Obamacare, among other things. It will be "legal" and presumably eliminate the fear of deportation. It will allow a "resident" life in the U.S. - - something like a "green card," but also presumably less in terms of security.  At bottom, it will be a "guest worker" status - - however advertised.  And a "guest worker" program has been a long Republican aim, not a compromise on their part.

For myself, I think this is a fundamentally bad idea and a corrosive precedent.  But I also recognize that I am considering policy somewhat (but not entirely) abstractly, rather than as a direct/personal/family experience.  Plainly, the opinion of the community most affected should be given great weight.  So what does the hispanic community think?  Is it a "path to citizenship" or bust?  Or does the Republican "guest worker" plan hold any appeal as a compromise?

I ask because I also think this will be the core question for the Left: smartly compromise or smartly fight longer? If a bi-partisan, immigration reform bill is is a guest-worker program, is that pragmatic progress?  Or is it dumb policy and capitulation?  Why not start the debate?  

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Comment Preferences

  •  First, I disagree with your premise. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    Substituting "guest worker program" for fundamental immigration reform won't resolve any of the issues we have today.

    Secondly, I think Republicans do see the writing on the wall (i.e., their own future demographic demise if they cannot get their act together).

    Lastly, I have to object to your characterization of Latino-Americans being the only, or primary, interested group.  Every ethnicity is concerned with this, including the not too small group of Irish, etc, etc, etc, etc, everyone.

    "Latinos" are not just one monolithic group.  Older Cuban-Americans don't think like younger Cuban-Americans, don't think like Northern Mexican immigrations, don't think like southern Mexican immigrants, don't think like Guatemalans, don't think like indigenous Guatemalans who don't speak Spanish, don't think like .... on and on.

    Everyone has their own take.

    Bottom line:  People who have been living here for a long time and who have not committed serious crimes need to have a path to citizenship. Children brought here by their parents need to have a path to citizenship. "Temporary residents" here legally for 20 years need to have a path to citizenship.  If the Republicans won't allow that to go through, we can look forward to fewer Republicans after the next election cycle.

    Immigration law is vastly more complex that just who needs to be able to work here or not. Or providing cheap labor to companies who can hold the threat of deportation over their heads to avoid disclosure of myriad worker abuses.

    Are you aware of how many times the US and Mexico have had guest worker programs and the aftermath of those programs?  Might be good to check into the history and what happened.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 11:26:44 PM PDT

    •  I disagree with your premise (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dodgerdog1

      I don't believe you disagree with me since I wrote "I think [a guest worker program] would be a fundamentally bad idea and a corrosive precedent."  For that reason, I am not advocating a "guest worker" program.  I am pointing out that a guest worker program is the only thing Republicans are debating at the moment, notwithstanding the lip service paid to "immigration reform."  Before I oppose that, however, I am curious for the views of people more directly affected by the debate.  

      I agree that many different groups are directly affected, and meant no disrespect by soliciting views of Hispanic-Americans.  I do think, however, that the debate disproportionately affects that group, and that was why my question was directed to them.

    •  His premise? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dodgerdog1

      He didn't even say that, he said the opposite in fact.

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