Must Read: Univited Guest Working

By The News Mar 12, 2007

Many immigrant workers in America quickly meet the ugly truth behind guest worker programs touted by the Bush administration that promise descent paying jobs. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s recent report shows that instead, these workers are: • routinely cheated out of wages • forced to mortgage their futures to obtain low-wage, temporary jobs • held virtually captive by employers who seize their documents • forced to live in squalid conditions • denied medical benefits for injuries

In his 2007 State of the Union Address, President Bush called for legislation creating a "legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis." Doing so, the president said, would mean "they won’t have to try to sneak in." Such a program has been central to Bush’s past immigration reform proposals. Similarly, recent congressional proposals have included provisions that would bring potentially millions of new "guest" workers to the United States…

Under the current system, called the H-2 program, employers brought about 121,000 guestworkers into the United States in 2005 — approximately 32,000 for agricultural work and another 89,000 for jobs in forestry, seafood processing, landscaping, construction and other non-agricultural industries.

This report is a must-read as Congress begins debating immigration legislation in the coming months…