|Guest Worker Program, Legalization, and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The issue of guest worker program, legalization of undocumented immigrants, and
immigration reform is a touchy one and reaches across traditional party lines.
On one thing almost everybody seems to agree: the whole U.S. Immigration system
desperately needs a drastic overhaul. The current system is disfunctional, sometimes
irrational, and has created several years of backlogs. Add to that the divisive issue of
an estimated 8 to 11 million (but some say 14 to 20 million) illegal aliens currently
living in the United States and the debate has the potential to become a hot and highly
Back in 2005, President Bush prodded Congress to come up with a Guest Worker
program to match willing foreign workers with U.S. employers who could not fill jobs
with qualified, willing, and able U.S. workers.
In 2006, a year of mid-terms election, the issue proved contentious, ripped apart both
the Democratic and the Republican parties, and saw The House and the Senate pass
two very different bills proposing different ways to deal with the issue. Bills do not
become law until the same provisions are approved by both the House of
Representative and the Senate and signed into law by the President, so nothing was
really accomplished, but the legislative work shed light as to the solutions proposed
and the arguments proffered by the different camps..
The House billed took a strong, enforcement only approach that many derided as
being nothing else than political pandering and an attempt at stalling the Senate Bill.
The Senate had earlier adopted a much more flexible and comprehensive stance and
attempted a version that would allow for legalization, under certain circumstances, of
those already here without proper documentation, and a guest worker program to
allow business to temporarily hire foreign workers after unsuccessfully attempting to
recruit U.S. workers.
After the 2006 elections, it remains to be seen how the new Democratic will approach
the issue of comprehensive immigration reform and whther or not to increase the
quotas of both professional and unskilled workers allowed in to the country each year.
The stalemate means that as of this writing nothing has been accomplished in
Washington. While this is not surprising, the gridlock is increasingly hurting U.S.
businesses that are facing a lack of H1-B visas for professionals in specialty
occupations and a multi-year backlog for most categories of employment-based
To complicate things, the dynamic of the issue has transcended the traditional party
lines and within each parties there are now staunch foes and steadfast advocates of
comprehensive immigration reform. Now that the Democrats have gained control of
both the House of Representative and of the Senate, however, there seem to be better
chances of passage of interim relief legislation and possibly of a comprehensive
package of reforms.
While the debate rages on, it must be noted that the current system seems to satisfy
nobody in particular, and that stepping up enforcement within the current legislative
framework does not provide an effective way to match willing workers with willing
The situation is further aggravated by the aging U.S. population and the projected
bankruptcy of the US Social Security Trust Fund. In a pay-as-you-go system of
entitlement funding, allowing few or no foreign workers means that a shrinking labor
force is shouldering an increasingly large proportion of retirees. If the current level of
legal immigration is not adjusted, expect the tax burden on the U.S. workers to
increase proportionally with the exponential liability of an unfunded Social Security
Additionally, protectionism has historically proven to drive up costs and drive down
productivity. In a global economy, it is therefore foreseeable that a stagnant and
noncompetitive workforce will render U.S. goods and services increasingly more
costly and increasingly less competitive.
On issues such as these and many other immigration policies, different minds come
to different conclusions, of course, and these are just the opinion of the author.
For further information, you can read:
Immigration Reform, Legalization, and Guest Worker Program: a letter to ILW editor by
Giuseppe Scagliarini, Esq.
Letter to ILW on immigration reform, legalization and guest worker program by
Giuseppe Scagliarini of October 2005
Read President Bush' Statement on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
President Obama's Plans for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Letter from Senator Jack Reed to Giuseppe Scagliarini, Esq. on Immigration Reform
My reply to Senator Reed on Immigration Reform.
Letter from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse to Giuseppe Scagliarini on Immigration Reform
What does this mean to you?
If you are among the millions of men and women who could benefit if any of these
initiatives are enacted, the best way to help yourself is to stay informed. Read national
and local newspapers, listen to radio or television news. Visit our website often as we
will try to announce major initiatives of importance to immigration law. Of course,
nobody is able to tell whether any of these measures will materialize. However, we
predict that these issues will be pushed on the forefront of the national political debate
and will be tackled by Congress in one way or the other in the near future.
As it happened with the temporary revival of 245(i) adjustments, which made
adjustment of status possible for applicants who had accrued unlawful presence in
the U.S., those who will stay current may have more opportunities to take advantage of
any new law.
Do not hesitate to contact us should you decide to schedule a consultation or if you
feel you need professional assistance with your case.
Law Offices of Giuseppe Scagliarini
|Giuseppe Scagliarini, Esq.
37 Harrison Avenue
Newport, RI 02840