Should the U.S. Allow the Guest Workers?
From the moment of its creation, the US was perceived as the fairy-tale place where the dreams came true. For centuries, it has remained the country where Lady Liberty greeted all the people, seeking for the life full of opportunities. It is worth mentioning that the metaphorical name of this country is The Land of Opportunities. Nowadays, the country is a destination not only for immigrants but also for the guest workers, who come here searching for the better job opportunities. However, the treatment of foreigners has drastically changed for the past years. Today, there exists certain confusion concerning the employment of the guest workers, because a lot of American citizens consider that such individuals pose a real threat to the native’s well-being as they take the jobs, and use the opportunities.
With the course of time, the American citizens have begun asking themselves a question of whether they really need the immigrants or guest workers at all. The data of the OECD state that 38% of the working population of the US is foreigners (45). The foreign-born residents of the country work in such spheres as fishing, farming, and forestry (39,7%), building and ground maintenance (29%), production (21,7%), construction and extraction (21,5%), and food preparation and serving (20%). One should take into account that an average immigrant earns 25% less than an average native worker (OECD 46).
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A number of the Americans consider that the presence of foreign workers depresses the wages and impedes important structural changes in the economy. Further mass hiring of foreign workers could undermine the U.S. labor system (Daley 64) and could result in a number of other problems. Moreover, such kind of business behavior shows the pejorative treatment of the American citizens. People think that someday, the guest workers might become the U.S. citizens, put down their roots in this country, and stay here forever. In this case, people should understand one crucial fact that it is much better for the country when such workers remain living there. They start buying different items and spending most of their income within the country; in such a way, they boost the economy. In the case people work in the US temporary only, they try to send the biggest part of their income to their native country. In such a way, there occurs the money drain.
Another issue that should be discussed is the legal obligations of the guest workers. A great number of American citizens criticize this kind of labor, as they consider that those people may violate the law and escape to their native country. Certainly, there are certain rights and obligations, which are unclear and need to be worked out. However, despite the fact that the guest workers come temporarily, they become the U.S. residents for a certain period; therefore, they should follow the American laws and regulations just as all the other citizens do. It is not a problem at all! They just obey the U.S. laws.
It should be emphasized that there exist certain advantages, which some of the U.S. citizens do not understand. The thing is that contrary to the conventional view of the guest workers as uneducated and uncivilized ones, the educational level among the recent guest workers is higher. The temporary work programs, which confer multiple advantages to the employers who hire the guest workers, might be rather high. It means that the US acquires cheap but professional employees. In fact, the temporary workers experience really difficult conditions, when they come to this country. They often must accept the terms of employment as dictated by their employer. The country makes the guest workers recruit for the unfilled jobs. But there exists an inability to change job freely, and this fact eliminates an important mechanism for safeguarding the labor standards.
A general inspection of the terms and conditions, under which the guest workers work, shows that they have to go through really tough experience. In most cases, they occupy those jobs, in which the U.S. workers do not want to engage. This fact exemplified that the foreign labor brings benefits to the country and these benefits ensure more satisfaction to the U.S. citizens than to the guest workers. In this case, the U.S. citizens should consider the question of what makes the U.S. workers agree to such labor terms and conditions. In most cases, the guest workers try to penetrate into the US, in order to earn money for their families, as it is impossible to do this in their country. Since its first days, the US has been a kind of a safe place for those, who wanted to start a new life. The American society is composed of the immigrants, who came here in order to improve their lives. It is difficult to understand how the descendants of those immigrants can forbid other people from acquiring temporary such an opportunity. It is simply unfair.
“In the United States, the basis of attachment and pride is clear. This has to do with the so-called American Dream: the belief that the United States is a land of opportunity, a land of freedom, the society of which has fixed idea that no matter where you were born you can reach the top” (Munroe 14).
Therefore, offering the guest workers an opportunity to join temporary the American community has become a tradition, which should not be violated. Otherwise, it violates the global image of the country and also its relations with the other nations. In such a manner, the guest programs strengthen the relations with the developing countries, and result in the general economic improvement. In fact, there are millions of workers in the developing countries who would like to move to the US in order to earn in one hour what they earn in a day or week at home. However, such level of wages is still lower than earns the average American worker. In this case, the country should open its doors wider to the low-wage workers. By the way, such kind of labor brings fruit for the native country of the guest workers, as the part of the wages that the migrants send to their country of origin can reduce the global poverty level. It means that such cooperation is useful for both the guest worker’s country and the target one (in this case – the US). “One World Bank model estimated that increasing the number of migrants from developing countries in industrial countries by 50 percent would lift the global economic output more than reducing trade barriers” (Haas and Hird 426). Moreover, while discussing the international relations, the example of Mexico should be discussed. There are a great number of guest workers from Mexico in the US today. It is much better to apply the guest working programs for the country, as in this case, the American officials have the data about the working force. These people are obeying the U.S. laws and may get the medical assistance in case of necessity. Moreover, such programs improve the relations between these countries. In the case of any guest workers’ restrictions, there are few chances that the Mexicans will stop coming to the US; they will do it illegally. It should be pointed out that there were few attempts to reduce the Mexican migration recently. The last was conducted by President Bush, who tried to strengthen the Mexican border in 2006. This initiative aimed at reducing the death rate. A number of researchers, however, consider that it was an unnecessary step. The Congressional Record (2010) states, “More fences would do nothing about those people, who come here legally and then overstay their visas. Unnecessary enforcement measures also harm United States relations with Mexico and other countries” (7). From the viewpoint of the international relations, providing jobs to the guest workers is the crucial step as it provides the country with the cheap workforce and simultaneously assists in improving the global economic situation.
While discussing the other threats associated with the issue of guest workers, the terrorist attacks should be mentioned. A number of Americans are afraid that the influx of guest workers could result in the increased risk of terrorist attacks, as terrorist would acquire more opportunities to slip into the country. However, it should be stated that there has always existed a threat of the terrorism, as the researcher Coppola (2011) states, “The chances of a terrorist attack will always exist” (204). There is no country, which could be 100% sure that it is terrorist-free. Unfortunately, there exist fierce individuals such as Osama Ben Laden, who do not have heart and can ruthlessly kill thousands of people. Nobody is secure from the terrorist attack today. However, restricting the guest workers’ entrance is not the way out. This step just deprives hundreds of people of an opportunity to earn some money and to improve their living. When the US denies somebody to enter the country, it usually loses a hardworking and faithful employee. Researchers Crane and Boaz (2003) discuss the issue of the immigrant and guest workers’ restrictions and point out,
None of the 19 terrorists who attacked America on September 11, 2001, came as immigrants. They did not apply to the Immigration and naturalization Service for permanent status. Like most aliens who enter the United States, they were here on temporary tourist and student visas. We could reduce the number of immigrants to zero and still not stop terrorists from slipping into the country on nonimmigrant visas. (634)
The US cannot just shut its borders for the tourists and newcomers; otherwise, it will become an isolated country very soon. Today, the US is an authoritative country, and it would always have its enemies, who will try their best to penetrate here. However, the way out in this situation is not restrictions, but improvement of the detection methods.
In conclusion, it should be stated that the influx of guest workers arouses great concerns. A number of the American citizens consider that it will result in worsening of the economic situation and labor relations with the employers. However, one should take into account that in most cases, the guest workers occupy the most undesired positions. For that reason, there is no actual threat to the American employees. Moreover, the guest working programs provide those foreigners with certain legal obligations. The country obtains their personal data and can easily find anyone in the case of the law violations. Moreover, hosting the guest workers is essential for the global well-being. Those people send some part of their wages to their Motherlands and increase the life level there. In the case of legal staying in the US, they spend their money within the country and also boost its economy. Moreover, there is the moral aspect, which should be taken into account. The country should not close the doors to those people who are striving to improve their living with the hard work far from the home. One should understand that restrictions will prevent only the honest people from arriving here. The terrorists and enemies will not be stopped by any legal limits. In general, the guest workers bring a number of benefits for both the US and the global community.