How Many Will Die if the AFL-CIO Can Scrap the Guest Worker Program?
Earlier today, Ana Avendaño of the AFL-CIO said a guest worker program wasn't an important part of immigration reform. And as I've pointed out in several posts in recent days, the AFL-CIO has been doing everything it can to ensure a guest worker program is as small as possible and so difficult to use that it wil largely be non-existent.
But maybe she should remember the more than 5,500 people who have died crossing the border over the last fifteen years as enforcement has tightened. Just this past year, the death rate accelerated by 27%. So many people are dying because we don't have a guest worker program and people take their chances out of sheer desperation to work. The AFL-CIO talks about preventing workers from being exploited, but not having a legal way for companies to hire workers is a far worse alternative.
The recent National Foundation for American Policy report on this subject says it all:
In 2007, Congress debated and failed to pass an immigration reform bill. "Poison pill" restrictions on a new temporary visa program favored by businesses have been cited as a key reason for the bill's failure. Since the failure of Congress to pass immigration reform legislation in 2007, more than 2,000 people have died near theSouthwest border. If another 5 years goes by without Congress approving new legal temporary visas for workersit is predictable that an additional 2,000 people will die simply because they wanted to work in America.
I'll say it again. The AFL-CIO is supporting legalizing workers already here because they know that train has left the station and they don't want to be perceived as being anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant. They know they will continue their downward membership spiral unless they appeal to the millions who will be legalized. But they also are kowtowing to their existing member unions who want to keep out future immigrants by whatever means possible. And they're trying to deflect attention from this fact by saying that the Republicans and the Chamber are trying to kill a bill. But I'm a pretty loyal Democrat and can tell you this is baloney.If we don't get a guest worker program, it will be the AFL-CIO's fault and if we don't get a guest worker program immigration reform will fail. And the AFL-CIO will then spend its time and resources trying to convince everyone they had nothing to do with it.
The unions need to get on board in favor of a reasonable and generous work visa program so we can finally get control of our border, end the needless dying and make sure America's employers have the workers they need to keep this country moving.