Oct 19 2005
Rival Guest Worker Bills Proposed in the U.S. Senate
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on comprehensive immigration reform. However, leading
officials in the House and Senate have stated that they are highly interested in addressing issues related to enforcement and
border control prior to dealing with assisting undocumented workers become legal immigrants under programs such as the
guest-worker program, proposed by President Bush.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), along with many House GOP leaders, stated that a major immigration proposal is too
much to handle at one time; instead the U.S. should focus on border security and law enforcement.
Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are currently backing a bill that would require illegal immigrants to return
to their home countries to apply for a proposed guest-worker program. This program would give them temporary work visas;
however, immigrants would be required to return to their home country for at least one year after that visa expired. This is
an attempt to enact some form of penalty against those who have entered the U.S. illegally.
On the other side, Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) have proposed an alternate bill that would allow
illegal immigrants to apply for new work visas and, quite possibly, gain permanent legal status over time without the
requirement of deportation.
The Kennedy-McCain bill is quite an interesting proposal and is widely supported by many business leaders throughout the
country. The bill would ensure that a variety of businesses that rely heavily on this worker pool would be able to continue
business as usual and, at the same time, motivated workers would be able to obtain legal status.
The proposed bill is a win-win situation for all involved and would be a creative and positive solution to concerns over the
influx of illegal immigrants gainfully working in the U.S.