secure the border effectively, we must reduce the
numbers of people trying to sneak across. Therefore, I
support a temporary worker program that would create a
legal path for foreign workers to enter our country…"
Primetime address, May 15, 2006
The President claims the remedy for
illegal immigration is to legalize it. That`s like
saying that the remedy to rape is consent.
But Mr. Bush`s "temporary"
worker semantic sleight of hand, intended to legalize
12-20 million illegals
mostly from Latin America, is only half of the
pincer attack on American workers now shaping up in the
The full story: employers can use
the Senate`s guest worker program to import millions of
indentured cryptoslaves from
Southeast and South Asia- while simultaneously
Latin Americans to continue to immigrate illegally.
America has had intermittent
experience over the years with "temporary worker
programs," much of it sordid.
Liberal saint Edward R. Murrow`s shocking 1960
Harvest of Shame led Congress finally to
eliminate the emergency WWII Bracero system
Another notorious guest worker
program has played a starring role in the
Jack Abramoff-Tom DeLay scandal, as I pointed out in
my recent VDARE.COM blog item about the
indentured servitude system in the semi-autonomous
American Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:
George W. Bush, “Temporary Workers,” and Jack Abramoff.
Unlike garments sewn in Asia, those
pieced together in this US possession in the Pacific
could display the
"Made in USA"label and avoid paying import duties. But
Congress also gave the Saipan government the privilege
of setting its own immigration policy. So it established
a guest worker program. Tens of thousands of women were
imported to toil in sweatshops within barbed wire
enclosures. Some who got pregnant were forced to have
abortions by their employers. Others were assigned to
Jack Abramoff was paid $9 million
to persuade former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay not
to let the House to follow the Senate`s lead in cracking
down on these abuses.
DeLay saw the Northern Marianas as
a pathbreaking role model for American immigration
Lou Dubose and Jan Reid reported in their 2004 book
The Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money, and the Rise of the
from the trip and a reporter pressed him about
sweatshops in the Marianas, he said, `I saw some of
those factories. They were air-conditioned. I didn`t see
anyone sweating.` Then he laughed. Inspired by the labor
model he saw on Saipan, he threw out a daring and
philosophical idea: the United States should establish
an identical `guest worker` program `where particular
companies can bring Mexican workers in.` The Mexicans
would be paid `at whatever wage the market will bear.`"
Leaving aside all the other
objections to a "temporary" worker program, such
as that neither the workers nor the program is likely to
be temporary, let`s just consider DeLay`s assumption
that all the
guest workers would be Mexican.
As evidence, consider an
often-overlooked point about the Northern Mariana
Islands scandal: none of the guest workers
was from Mexico. Sweatshop owners preferred
Asians to Latinos.
There is also a growing trend
toward hiring Asians in the existing H-2A guest
farmworker program. This suggests that the outcome of
the Senate`s guest worker program will not be, as is so
often claimed, to legitimize
Mexican labor, but to augment Hispanic illegal
immigration, which will continue, with legal indentured
interest groups who are pushing the Senate`s
worker plan are not so naive, however.
For example, many Asian countries
could be even more profitable exporters of low wage
Indonesia, for example, has 245 million people,
Pakistan 166 million, and
Bangladesh 147 million (most of these 558 million
Muslims). The population of the
Philippines is 89 million, Vietnam 84 million, and
Thailand 65 million, not to mention the 2.4 billion
China and India. (Overall, the population of Asia is
3.8 billion.) Per capita income in those countries
range from $2,100 in Bangladesh and $2,400 in Pakistan
to $6,300 in rapidly growing China and $8,300 in
And, are Asians harder workers than
Latin Americans? It`s hard to say for sure—Asia is an
awfully big place. But no doubt more than a few
employers think so.
From the point of view of
unscrupulous American companies, the problem with using
unskilled Asian labor has been that it`s much harder to
sneak illegally into this country from across an ocean
than from across the Sonora Desert.
It`s not just the Pacific Ocean
that`s a barrier. If there hasn`t yet been much legal
immigration into America from a particular country, it`s
harder to get an
illegal immigration conveyor belt underway. For
example, although there are a quarter of a billion
Indonesians, few have so far found their way into
America legally, which makes it hard for anybody to
illegally immigrate from there to here because they have
so few Indonesian relatives in America to help them out.
The Godfather demonstrated, when you are
engaging in illegality, it`s
nice to have family on your side).
But once a guest worker program
brings in a critical mass of legal Indonesians, illegal
immigration from the archipelago will become more
So a "temporary" worker
program looks like the perfect solution to unethical
businesses. Rather than try to
swim ashore from tramp freighters, Asian workers
would get to fly conveniently into
LAX. But if any of them cause trouble for the boss,
he can throw the ingrate out of the country to encourage
Meanwhile, Mexicans and
Central Americans can continue to
sneak into America, easily evading the token 370
miles of border fence approved by the Senate last week.
(It would leave 80 percent of the frontier unfenced.)
Both legal and illegal unskilled
immigrants would continue in demand. The more
restrictions Congress piles on guest workers to prevent
Northern Marianas-style abuses – such as last week`s
successful amendment to the Senate bill requiring union
wages be paid on
private guest worker jobs – the more expensive guest
workers become, so the more profitable will remain
reader sent me this
revealing article about the H-2A system by Lornet
Turnbull in the Seattle Times (2/20/05):
men, mostly poor farmers from rural Thailand, were the
first foreign workers brought to Washington to pick
fruit under a decades-old federal guest-worker program
meant to fill labor shortages in agriculture.
Thais` sudden appearance in the orchards of Eastern
Washington could signal the start of a shift in the
state`s agricultural work force…
think foreign guest workers are the answer for now,
until the next big thing comes around — like
mechanization,` said John Verbrugge, orchard manager
at Valley Fruit in Wapato.
Funny, but mechanization of farm
work used to be the
current big thing
… until cheap immigrant labor came along.
get workers whose immigration status and loyalty are not
in question. And when the harvest is as big as it was
last year, they know these workers — their English
limited and their movements largely controlled — will
show up to work…"
The supply of Asians is enormous
and is desperate to get here:
Thai workers who came to Washington were men in their
20s and 30s, on H-2A visas that are often issued for up
to three years. Most are farmers from a country where
agriculture employs half the population. Some told state
government officials they paid amounts up to $8,000 to a
recruitment company in Bangkok to get the jobs in the
And here`s the bottom line: Thai
, excuse me, "temporary workers"
have a "lower runaway rate."
procurer] says he isn`t whipsawing one group
against another and in the past has brought workers from
Mexico and Central America as well as Asia.
He said the Thais have a lower runaway rate
than the others and are more productive." [Emphasis
runaway rate. Have we come to this?
If you can
get yourself into the U.S. illegally, as Mexicans can
quite easily, you may well be better off as an illegal
alien than as a guest worker:
"`You have more freedom as an illegal because you can
move from one job to another. If you`re a guest worker,
your ability to change is very limited.`"
So the purpose of the new guest
worker program backed by the Senate is not to
provide a legal alternative for Mexicans who would
otherwise sneak in.
No, the purpose is to allow
American employers to tap the enormous labor supply of
impoverished Southeast Asian and
Southern Asians—while continuing to encourage
Latin Americans to illegally immigrate!
Further, in the long run, a guest
worker program encourages illegal immigration from new
countries, such as Indonesia. Which means that even if a
future Congress, in a fit of sanity, were to eliminate
guest worker programs, the Cheap Labor Lobby would still
benefit from flows of illegal immigrants from new
American workers will be caught in
a pincer. But pincers can be broken – at a price. What`s
at stake here is the entire tacit understanding between
labor and capital that has made the American free
enterprise system work.
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and