President George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and several others are promoting new laws that would grant amnesty or guest-worker status to millions of illegal immigrants living in the United States and to an indefinite number of foreign workers. All these bills should be rejected on moral grounds.
Inviting foreigners to come to America as guest workers is like saying: You people are only fit to work the menial jobs that Americans think they are too good to work. We will let you come into the United States for a few years to work low-paid jobs, but you have no hope of rising up the economic and social ladder.
The various bills differ in whether or when the guest workers will be expelled back to the poverty they came from, but the bottom line is to create a subordinate underclass of unassimilated foreign workers, like serfs or peasants in corrupt countries. That's not the kind of economy that made America great.
America welcomes immigrants who want to be American, who come to the United States legally, obey the laws and the Constitution, and learn to speak English. Most start with entry-level jobs, but they get the opportunity to rise up and realize the American dream.
France and Germany have demonstrated the folly of guest-worker economies. In France and Germany, foreigners were admitted to toil at low-wage jobs. Now, both countries host thousands of foreign residents who fail to assimilate, burden the social welfare system, and become more disgruntled and dangerous every year.
Amnesty or guest-worker programs in the United States would help to perpetuate Mexico's corrupt economic system, a system which makes a few people very rich, but a system that traps most Mexicans in abject poverty. Mexico's enormous oil reserves are state-owned, yet proceeds from their sale don't benefit the general population. And some wealthy Mexicans are glad when their unemployed countrymen can find work elsewhere.
An amnesty or guest-worker plan would reward lawbreakers. The guest workers would be exempted from punishment for breaking U.S. immigration laws by entering our country illegally, or by using fraudulent documents. And employers would be exempted from punishment for hiring them.
Some U.S. employers commit a double offense when they choose to pay illegal workers in cash to evade payroll taxes yet provide benefits to those same illegal workers. Government tolerance of this vast underground economy is unjust to honest businessmen and law-abiding taxpayers.
An amnesty or guest-worker program is unjust to the millions of people who complied with U.S. immigration laws, stood in line, and patiently waited their turn to win legal residence in the United States.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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