Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Guestworker Programs: Do They Make Sense for America?

WASHINGTON -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter has just circulated his version of a bill to establish a vast guestworker program that would legalize millions of illegal aliens and import an unlimited number of additional workers from abroad, in addition to unprecedented increases in legal immigration. Its passage would set the stage for a conflict with the House of Representatives, which approved a comprehensive enforcement measure in December.

Supporters of a guestworker program need to answer some important questions:

Is the Department of Homeland Security capable of properly administering such a program?

What can past legalization and guestworker programs, both here and abroad, teach us?

What will be the cost to taxpayers of importing more unskilled workers and their families, and legalizing those here illegally (thus making them eligible for more government services)?

Is the American economy truly reliant upon the labor of foreign workers?

Is there no way other than legalization to address the problem of 12 million illegal aliens?

To assess these and other questions at the very start of the Senate's guestworker deliberations, the Center for Immigration Studies will sponsor a panel discussion featuring leading experts on the economics and administration of U.S. immigration policy. The luncheon panel will convene on Friday, March 3, in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club at 12 noon, and include:

Bill King, former head of the Border Patrol Academy and administrator of the 1986 illegal-alien amnesty on the West Coast

Philip Martin, professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, and former member of the Commission on Agricultural Workers

Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. An RSVP is needed for lunch; contact John Keeley at (202) 466-8185 or jmk@cis.org.

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