When President George W. Bush unveiled his temporary foreign workers plan on Jan. 7, he got cheers from his carefully selected invitees in the East Room of the White House.
But he's getting jeers from everyone else, from Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
We are told the plan was originally sketched on a napkin before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by then-Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda at a dinner attended by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
The plan looks like it was hastily resurrected so that the president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, would "make nice" to Bush at their meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. But the Bush plan raises more questions than it answers.
Will all 10 million illegal aliens now in the United States be entitled to get a temporary worker card? Will the millions who don't apply for a temporary worker card be deported?
How many times can the temporary worker card be renewed, once, twice, 20 times?
Because the president said, "It will have an end," will the workers be deported when the card expires? Will local authorities cooperate with the Federal Government in arrest and deportation?
Bush promised "financial incentives" for "temporary workers to return permanently to their home countries after their period of work in the United States has expired." Will this become another burden on U.S. taxpayers?
The dictionary defines amnesty as a general pardon for offenses against the government, and illegal aliens committed crimes by entering the United States illegally and then using fraudulent documents to get a job. The Bush plan excuses them from prosecution and punishment, so isn't amnesty the proper term, or shall we call it stealth amnesty?
The amnesty of 1986 was promised to be a one-time deal, but it proved to be not a deterrent but an invitation to attract more illegal aliens, so we now have four times as many illegals as we did then. Can anyone believe that the Bush amnesty will be any different?
Will those who get temporary worker cards also get driver's licenses? If so, what kind of ID will be acceptable?
Bush's plan includes support for the State Department giveaway package called "totalization," a bureaucratic code word for a plan to make illegal aliens eligible to receive Social Security benefits even though they committed fraud in using a Social Security number or failed to pay into the system for 10 years (40 quarters) as U.S. citizens must do. Will illegal aliens who get temporary worker cards be treated better than Americans who fail to comply with Social Security regulations?
Will the temporary foreign workers be entitled to bring all their relatives into the United States? Will children born to temporary workers be granted U.S. citizenship and be eligible for welfare benefits and the right to bring all their relatives into the United States.?
Why does anyone pretend that the United States needs workers when government statistics report that there are 9 million unemployed Americans and that the country is experiencing a jobless economic recovery? Will the temporary workers plan be another racket benefiting employers like the H-1B visas, which were based on an alleged labor shortage that never existed and clearly is nonexistent now, to continue bringing in foreign workers to displace U.S. citizens?
The president said his plan will "match willing foreign workers with willing American employers ..." Will we take "willing workers" from Iraq, Iran, Libya and Cuba? Should the U.S. government run an employment service for the world?
Should U.S. workers be forced to compete with the literally billions of people in foreign countries who are "willing" to work at a fraction of U.S. wages? If a corporation advertises for software engineers at a salary of $20,000 per year and no U.S. citizens apply because current salaries are up to $100,000, will the corporation be justified in hiring "willing worker" software engineers from India?
The model for a guest worker program is the German experience, which proved that guest workers are not good guests, bring in many relatives and create a new subordinate caste of unassimilated foreign workers. Is this the social structure we want in the United States?
The concept of creating a class of temporary foreign workers is fundamentally immoral, anti-immigrant, and un-American. It gives people who violated our laws preferences over those who obey the law.
Most of the temporaries will never become U.S. citizens and climb the economic ladder to become part of the middle class like immigrants of previous generations. Instead, the temporaries will remain a permanent subordinate class of people doing menial work, people whose very presence will depress the wages of all U.S. citizens.
The Zogby poll reports that 65 percent of Americans disagree with amnesty, 58 percent want to reduce immigration, 60 percent believe present immigration levels are a "critical threat to the vital interests of the United States," and 68 percent want to deploy troops to the border to curb illegals.
Bush's action may be popular with corporate donors, but it won't sell on Main Street America. The California recall should have taught the lesson that pandering to illegal aliens is a loser on election day.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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