Hastings Law Journal


The Note argues that the agricultural guest-worker program in the United States needs reform. U.S. President George W. Bush has talked publicly about the need for change since he first assumed office in 2ooo. The events of September II, 2001, however, brought what appeared to be promising discussions between President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox to an abrupt halt. Now, nearly five years later, meaningful changes are yet to be seen. Focusing on Mexican workers, the Note traces the historical roots of guest worker programs in the United States, analyzes the strengths and shortcomings of President Bush's proposal, and proposes that the Bush Administration adopt a longsighted approach to temporary agricultural workers that addresses the reality that no temporary work program is truly temporary. This means that the guest-worker program should provide a means for temporary workers to become permanent residents or citizens; be open to undocumented workers already inside the United States; offer benefits to employers that hire workers through the program and enforce strict sanctions against those who circumvent it; include wage and labor provisions; and finally, the visa should follow the worker, not the employer.

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