Question: Based on historical lessons, what should America’s public policy be regarding immigration?
Answer: To begin with, it should not be what we have today. America’s current immigration policies and programs are ineffective, inconsistent, unfair, divisive, and harmful.
Should legal immigration be stopped? Of course not. The government needs to consider and decide regularly on the appropriate levels and types of legal immigration that are in the best interests of the country.
Should illegal immigration be stopped?
Of course it should—or at least limited to the lowest level possible. The country needs to get control of illegal immigration. And what about the proposed temporary guest worker program? The bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which reported to the U.S, Congress and President in 1997, advised in the strongest language against the kind of temporary worker programs that are currently again being promoted by various advocates and politicians, including President George W. Bush.
Such programs, the U.S. Commission wrote, would be ’a grievous mistake.” They concluded that temporary worker programs for lesser-skilled and unskilled workers exert particularly harmful effects on the US. Such programs, for example, have depressed the wages and working conditions of US workers. Foreign guest workers are also more exploitable than lawful US workers, particularly when an employer threatens deportation if workers complain about wages or working conditions. Moreover, the Commission stressed that guest worker programs fail to reduce unauthorized migration and often the guest workers themselves remain permanently and illegally in the country.
As I have stated before, I strongly believe that illegal immigration must be stopped and that begins with securing our borders. After that we need to address how to resolve the millions of illegal immigrants that are already in the U.S.
Dr. Chamie's answers to other questions at can be found at http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/06/ten_questions_w_1.html and http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/06/addendum_to_ten.html.