[June 09, 2006]

Guest workers aren't cheap; they're expensive

(Copley News Service Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)George W. Bush entered the White House in 2001 hoping he would be remembered in history books as the education president who raised public school standards with his No Child Left Behind Act. It now looks like his legacy will be "No illegal immigrant left behind."

The White House Web site is currently advertising, in both English and Spanish, Bush's congratulations (applaudo) to the U.S. Senate for passing what president called bipartisan (bipartidista) and comprehensive (integral) immigration reform (reforma). In fact, this Kennedy-McCain (aka Hagel-Martinez) bill might be the worst and the most expensive bill ever passed by the Senate, and it should be an embarrassment to any Republican who voted for it.

The media have reported on the sections that grant illegal residents amnesty (aka path to legalization or earned citizenship). But the media have censored out of their news reports the sections that are 10 to 20 times more costly and far more dishonest than playing games with the word amnesty.

In large print, the 795-page bill announces its "temporary guest worker" plan. Those words are lies because the fine print in the bill converts these workers, who are given H-2C visas, into permanent residents with the right to become citizens after five years.

The plan will start by importing 200,000 H-2C workers in the first year. The H-2Cers can immediately bring in their family members on H-4 visas, without any numeric limits and without being required to have a physical, and they will also get permanent legal residence and citizenship.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this bill would import 7.8 million immigrants, and convert another 11 million current immigrants, legal and illegal, into U.S. citizens over the next decade. The Heritage Foundation estimates that 66 million new citizens will be added to the current population over the next 20 years. The number would accelerate as the racket called family chain migration allows more new residents to bring in more and more relatives.

The bill gives these temporary workers some preferential rights that U.S. workers do not have. These new temporary workers can't be fired from their jobs except for "just cause," they must be paid the prevailing wage, and they can't be arrested for other civil immigration offenses if they are stopped for traffic violations.

The bill assures the preference of in-state college tuition (something that is denied to U.S. citizens in 49 states), and certain types of college financial assistance will be available to illegals at the state's option. As minorities, they might even get affirmative action preferences in jobs, government contracts, and college admissions.

After the so-called temporary workers and their spouses become citizens, they can bring in their parents as permanent residents on the path to citizenship. Although the parents have never paid into Social Security, they will be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits, and in 46 states they will be eligible for full Medicaid benefits after five years. Siblings and adult children (and their families) will be given preference in future admissions.

The demographics of the so-called temporary workers are expected to be similar to those of the illegal immigrants already in our country. More than half will be high school dropouts, they will work low-paid jobs that require payment of little or no income tax, they are 50 percent more likely to receive taxpayer-funded government benefits than natural-born households, and they have a 42 percent rate of out-of-wedlock births (all of whom, of course, will be granted automatic U.S. citizenship).

Estimates of the cost to the taxpayers of this gargantuan expansion of the welfare state are at least $50 billion a year over the long term. U.S. taxpayers will pay for entitlements to these tens of millions of low-income families, including Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit (cash handouts of up to $4,400 a year to low-wage households), public schooling and lunches, the WIC program, food stamps, public housing, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

The push is on from the White House to get Senate and House conferees to reach a compromise between the Senate Kennedy bill and the House Sensenbrenner bill. Compromise with the bill sponsored by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., is a non-starter because, in the words of the adage, you can't make a silk purse out of sow's ear.

President Bush just told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he wants to "shape the future." The Senate bill would, within 20 years, result in about 25 percent of our population being foreign born (most of them non-English-speaking high school dropouts).

Kennedy and McCain's "temporary guest workers" would give America a future like France, which is staggering under the weight of multicultural guest workers who never went home and bloated taxpayer-funded welfare entitlements.

It's time for Americans to reject the artificially concocted Bush-Kennedy-McCain "bipartisanship" and go with the 58 percent of Republican senators who voted against the Kennedy-McCain bill and the 88 percent of Republican House Members who voted for the bill by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

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Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and the author of "The Supremacists." She can be contacted by e-mail at