Guest Worker Programs Curb Illegal Immigration

A study conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) demonstrates that a functional agricultural guest worker program that enjoys wide use among employers benefits the entire nation through a significant reduction in illegal immigration, according to the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA). Examining records from an immigration program that allowed Mexican workers to enter the United States to work in agriculture from 1942 until 1964, the study refutes immigration opponent claims that guest worker programs promote illegal immigration.

The study identifies a 95-percent drop in illegal immigrant apprehensions after the program became widely used. Perhaps even more significant was the fact that apprehensions of illegal immigrant workers skyrocketed 1,000 percent in the years following the end of the program, according to ANLA.

“The American Nursery & Landscape Association advocates that effective immigration reform includes revising the H-2A agricultural guest worker program not only to reduce employers’ growing dependence on an unverifiable labor pool, but also to reduce pressures that lead to illegal migration in general,” says ANLA Executive Vice President Bob Dolibois. The association has led the drive for immigration and guestworker reform through the formation of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR).

ACIR supports pending legislation known as the “AGJobs Bill” (S. 1645 and H.R. 3142). This bill is an historic agreement among worker advocates, agricultural employers and labor unions concerned about immigration reform. It streamlines labor acquisition processing, bases wages on market conditions, and grants legal protections to ensure workers are not exploited. AGJobs also includes a path for illegal workers to come out of the shadows and earn permanent legal status through future work and lawful behavior.

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