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Guest worker program conspicuously missing from Obama's proposed immigration reform

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Those hopeful that the immigration reform will be complete and in action at the end of this yearmay be in for a rude awakening.  Politicians may look like they are compromising and working hard writing an outline for the proposal, but they are reportedly not making much progress. It is a long shot that Congress will pass immigration reform as soon as the end of this year.

The bad news for undocumented immigrants is this takes away the change for them to get right with the law and eventually live a normal life as U.S. citizens. This comes as good news for those who oppose legalizing undocumented immigrants for fear of competition with their work ethic or them influencing the culture in the country. The problem is no longer limited to Republicans who do not agree with Democrats, but with the President’s draft of his version of the immigration reform plan. This draft took four years to write and yet is shorter than any other piece of legislation. “Here's what is in the plan: more border security, a requirement that employers use an electronic system to verify if prospective hires are eligible to work, and a long path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.”

The plan in itself seems simple with allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for a special protective status to avoid deportation but that will take eight years to get legal permanent residency and then another four or five years to become a citizen. What is not in the plan is a guest worker program that Republicans have consistently insisted on to be included in the mix. The fact that this component was completely left off has turned many Republicans who were keen on adapting to the immigration reform off to compromise. Sen. Marco Rubio who was leading the Republicans towards the new immigration plan called the plan “dead on arrival” in Congress.

In the time for Congress to create a new guest worker program for the agriculture industry where the workers would have adequate access to health clinics, livable housing, and workers compensation in cases of injury, economists say the incentive for them to participate will be over. The cost of hiring workers and providing so many benefits does not profit the business. These same growers who claim the new guest worker program would be too costly complain they are unable to find American workers to pick their seasonal fruits. The guest worker program is important not only to the agricultural workers in the country, but to the Republican Party to pass the legislation. With the recent changes in the political arena, it looks as though no one will get what they initially wanted.

If you have questions regarding how immigration reform might affect you in 2013 or beyond, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.

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