Sunday, July 08, 2007

A bad argument against a guest worker program

The argument that says that it is cruel to expose foreign workers to America with a stated limit is infuriatingly chauvinistic and wrongheaded. It implies either a) there are no people who would like to make money in America and then return with that money to their homeland or b) nobody exposed to the greatness of America ever wants to return home. Both implications are insulting to the majority of the many people worldwide who would love the opportunity to make more money and send it home to their families or save it for their future back home. Imagine if Korea, the country where I live, took the same tack, assuming that all foreign workers were clamoring for permanent residence. Since Korea is still only concerned with being a country for ethnic Koreans, the entire massive English teaching industry that brought me and countless others over would be restricted to hiring only ethnic Koreans from other countries and thus completely crippled. There are plenty of legitimate arguments against a guest worker program, the most salient to me being the likelihood of abuse of the rights of such workers, but there is nothing un-American about it. To take an applicable example from venerable old Wikipedia
The years 1910 to 1920 were the high point of Italian immigration to the United States. Over 2 million Italians immigrated in those years, with a total of 5.3 million immigrating between 1820 and 1980. About a third of them returned to Italy, after working an average of 5 years in the US.

Sounds like a reasonable term to me.

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