Congressman Jack Kingston Conference Call
We pointed out that everyone in Washington seems to start from the premise that the country needs a guest-worker program. We asked why this notion is considered a given? Do we really need to import low-skilled workers and if the U.S. needs to import workers, how many do we need?
Kingston believes the country does need a guest-worker program, but that the actual numbers will depend on business need by industry. The Congressman cited percentages of the workforce currently comprised of illegal immigrants - agriculture 24%, cleaning industry 17%, construction 14% and food production 12 percent. This is certainly proof of employers and immigrants breaking the law, but it doesn't prove the U.S. lacks a sufficient labor pool to fill these jobs. Kingston related anecdotes from constituents telling him they couldn’t compete without hiring hard-working, but cheap illegal labor.
In relation to the various guest-worker programs being floated in Washington, we pointed out these programs were actually guest-family programs – the guest worker plus the spouse, the children and grandma. We asked how do any of these programs reduce the current number of illegal aliens in the country and going forward how would these new laws or programs help us control the flow of immigration?
Kingston described the guest-worker program he favored as one requiring the registration of all presently employed illegal aliens and the return of their non-working family members to their country of origin. From then on it would be a match between an employer and a foreign worker capable of filling the job.
We expressed doubt that family members would leave, but Kinston said if we truly want a guest-worker program than we have to get serious about only allowing just the guest-worker into the country. The Congressman did recognize the drain illegal immigrants have on local recourses, especially funds for emergency rooms and public schools, but he didn’t explain how new programs would change the present situation. The main concern seemed to be about achieving ‘clarity’ for the illegal immigrant.
For more on the immigration discussion and other topics covered on the call please see:
Mary Katharine Ham (HughHewitt)
Human Events Online
Right Wing News
Townhall.com’s Capitol Report