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Q: immigration reform ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: immigration reform
Category: Relationships and Society > Government
Asked by: cert124-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 30 Jan 2005 21:52 PST
Expires: 01 Mar 2005 21:52 PST
Question ID: 466170
when (year, month) the president's immigration "guest worker program" becomes a law?
Subject: Re: immigration reform
Answered By: adiloren-ga on 31 Jan 2005 01:36 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you for the interesting question. President Bush has proposed a
plan for immigration reform that includes a "guest worker program". He
has continued to support the proposal after his reelection and it
looks as if he plans to push hard for it in the future. It definitely
has an important place in Bush's agenda.

However, as of right now, the President's proposal is just that, a
proposal. To become law, his proposal will first have to become a
bill, introduced in Congress, and eventually passed through both the
House of Representatives and the Senate.

Judging by the current poltical climate, the passage of a future bill
reflecting the president's proposal looks unlikely. There is strong
Republican opposition to the plan and it looks as if it may be
difficult to craft a coalition strong enough to get the bill passed.

In fact, once there is a bill (which is expected later this year) it
looks likely that it may not even be heard during this congressional
session, as the chairman of the relevant committee strongly opposes
the president's proposed guest worker policy.  Therefore, a future
bill on the matter may not even be debated on the floor until 2006, or
even later.

Some believe that Bush has enough political capital, or clout, with
the Congress to push the bill through by forming a bipartisan
coalition. If he can get Republican Bush backers on board and a large
faction of Democrats to also support the proposal, he may have a large
enough voting bloc to overwhelm the mainly conservative opposition.

Judging from past Bush successes, the best case scenario is that a
bill will be drafted and introduced within the next year, debated on
the floor and passed, probably no earlier than early 2007. A similarly
devisive education proposal in 2000 wasn't passed until 2002 and
doesn't even go into full effect until the 2005-2006 school year.
Judging by that standard, even if Bush is able to pass a guest worker
bill, my educated guess is that it wouldn't take full effect until
2007 at the earliest and more likely around 2010.

Below I have provided information on the proposal, the potential for
its passage and the likely time table for passage of such a bill. I
hope this helps. Please request clarification if you need any
additional assistance with this question.

Background Information:

President Bush's Guest Worker Program

"*Workers illegally in the United States will be invited to enter a
temporary labor program and provided a guest worker visa for three
years that can be renewed once.
*	Those workers can apply for permanent residency in the United
States. The guest worker status will not confer on them any
preferential consideration. Those not granted residence must return to
their country of origin after their guest worker visas expire.
*	Employers must establish they cannot find U.S. workers to fill their
openings before hiring guest workers.
*	Guest workers are accorded full wage and employment rights. 
*	Increase the annual green card limit, currently set at 140,000." background page on the guest worker proposal

Current Guest Worker Programs

You can track congressional bills here:


A Potential Bill?

The congress has yet to introduce a bill on guest workers and it is
not expected to do so this year.

Guest Worker Plan Divides Area's Lawmakers
Lakeland Ledger, FL - Jan 19, 2005

<<"I don't want to make a commitment that I would support it until I
see the final wording in the bill, and as I have said before, we don't
even have a bill yet," she said. "And this idea may very well create a
massive bureaucracy as well."
With the split even within the dominant Republican Party over the
president's proposal, most do not expect a bill for guest workers to
come out of Congress this year, but a related issue may pass quickly,
Putnam said.
"Border protection -- tighter patrols, more personnel and the
elimination of consular ID cards from foreign embassies -- could move
very quickly this year because of the security problems that must be
solved," Putnam said. "But the guest workers issue is too complicated
and very detailed. They have tried working this through the
agriculture jobs bills for years. It's a big lift."
"Comprehensive immigration reform will be a tough sell this year," he said.>>

Key lawmaker hints at fight over guest workers
Tucson Citizen, AZ - Jan 27, 2005

"Bush has offered no details, leaving it to Congress to craft a bill."


Prior Guest Worker Legislation:

There was legislation introduced to the congress in 1993 on this
issue, but it was not passed. The wording of the legislation may
provide you with some idea of what a future bill may look like and who
its sponsers may be, possibly including the influential Senator John

Pending Immigration Legislation in Congress

"Kolbe-Flake-McCain (HR 2899, S 1461) 

*	Creates a new guest worker program with two new visas, H-4A and
H-4B. Undocumented immigrants can apply for H-4B visas, which last for
three years and do not lead to permanent residency. After the three
years are up, H-4B visa holders can apply for an H-4A visa. The H-4A
visa, which also lasts for three years, is also available to those
outside of the U.S. through employer sponsorship. After three years of
an H-4A visa, individual visa holders can petition for permanent
residency. Employers can petition for permanent residency for their
workers at any time during the three years of an H-4A visa."


Bush is strongly pushing for the proposal:

Bush Presses Guest-Worker Program
BY DANIELA GERSON - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 27, 2005

"Congressional Republicans anxious to block immigration reform will be
paying close attention to President Bush's State of the Union speech
next week, when the president will likely signal his level of
commitment to creating a national guest worker program.

Senate Republicans dealt a blow to his plan this week when they did
not include immigration as one of their top 10 priorities for the
upcoming term. But Mr. Bush asserted at a White House press conference
that immigration will be one of his priorities."

"But before he can move forward with this program, Mr. Bush will have
to fight for his own party's support.

"Immigration is to Republicans what trade has been to Democrats. It's
the issue that divides the party, and it's not predictable where
individuals stand," said Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the
Democratic Leadership Council and a former spokesman for Senator

Many House Republicans are opposed to the guest worker program, as
they fear political consequences.

Crossing Over: Bush's Other Battle
He hopes his guest-worker plan will fill jobs and build the party. But
is the GOP onboard?
MSNBC - Jan 29, 2005

<<Just a week after Election Day, Rove told reporters that immigration
reform?namely a temporary guest-worker program for undocumented
immigrants?was a vital part of Bush's political mandate. After all,
reform would help cement his "compassionate conservative" legacy.
"Family values do not end at the Rio Grande river," Bush said last
week. Rove also sees reform as a way of making inroads with the
Hispanic voters who are key to his strategy of creating a permanent
GOP majority. For members of Congress already nervous about Bush's
bold second-term agenda?especially Social Security?immigration is just
one more fissure in a united Republican front. "Nobody's re-election
hinges on passing it," says one Senate GOP aide. "Many fear they won't
be re-elected if they do pass it.">>


Many Republicans oppose changing guest worker laws. Passage of a bill
seems unlikely.

Bush faces GOP dissent on immigration proposal
SitNews, AK - Jan 29, 2005

"President Bush intends to push for major changes in the nation's
immigration policy despite misgivings voiced by congressional
Republicans that in some instances approach hostility.

The president this week announced plans to work with lawmakers on both
sides of the aisle to reform immigration laws even though Senate
Republicans pointedly refused to place the issue among the top
concerns on this year's agenda."

Bush will continue to pursue the plan, but it is likely to politically
devisive to be passed.

Guest Worker Plan in Doubt
Los Angeles Times - Jan 17, 2005,0,1445579.story?coll=la-home-headlines

"Even as President Bush stresses his commitment to reworking the
nation's immigration laws, some key supporters on the issue say it is
so politically divisive that they doubt he can achieve his goal, given
the administration's ambitious agenda.
In interviews last week, Bush insisted he would pursue legislation
that would legalize some of the estimated 8 million undocumented
immigrants in the United States by granting them temporary worker
status. Under his plan, illegal immigrants could apply for legal
status and, if they qualified, could stay in the country for as long
as six years."

There are many political barriers to passing the guest worker bill.
Conservatives largely oppose it and the chairman of the Judiciary
Committee has stated that the bill will not even be considered until a
restriction on drivers licenses is passed. That bill won't even be up
for debate until later this year.

Republicans Squaring Off Over Bush Plan on Immigration
New York Times - Jan 26, 2005

"Party conservatives, however, have strenuously opposed a guest worker
plan since Mr. Bush introduced the idea in 2001, even staging a losing
revolt over its inclusion in the party platform at the 2004 Republican
convention. Many conservatives call the president's ideas "amnesty" -
a term Mr. Bush disputes - because his plan includes ways for
currently illegal immigrants to obtain temporary worker permits.

On Wednesday afternoon, Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the
Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,
again introduced a measure to block illegal immigrants from obtaining
driver's licenses.

At a news conference, he said the committee would not consider other
immigration proposals, implicitly including the president's, until his
own measure passed. A similar measure was removed from a bill to enact
the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission last year. Senator Jon Kyl,
Republican of Arizona, is expected to introduce a driver's license
restriction this year."

The conservative opposition to Bush's guest worker proposal makes it
likely unworkable, according to this collumnist.

Strange Politics
CBS News - Jan 28, 2005

"The president's immigration proposals are probably unworkable. A
conservative base bristles at the idea that perhaps as many as 20
million illegal aliens now reside in the U.S. There are no proposed
enforceable mechanisms such as stiff employer fines for unlawful
hiring. Closing the border is never mentioned. Yet how are we to avoid
a continued illegal presence in tandem with a legal guest-worker
program without stern coercive measures -- as if suddenly one million
aliens annually will cease coming north because they did not qualify
for the program? "

Republicans have collectively told Bush that are unlikely to vote for
the immigration bill, making passage difficult.

Bush Promotes Agenda to GOP Lawmakers
New York Times - Jan 28, 2005

"Before leaving for the retreat Thursday, Representative Deborah Pryce
of Ohio said Republicans were not about to tell Mr. Bush that any of
his proposals could not pass this year, except for his proposal for a
guest-worker program in which currently illegal immigrants might be
eligible. Still, the president told the Republicans at the retreat
that he would continue to push for that program."


Other barriers to passing a guest worker bill:

Even Bush's most loyal backers don't support the proposal. 

Bush, backers part ways on immigration reform 
The Washington Times- January 21, 2004

The "war on terrorism" makes the guest workers proposal a hard sell.

Be our guest?
AZ Central 2004

"In a time when the war on terror is the government's top priority,
there is little to indicate much will change in the future when it
comes to workplace enforcement of immigration laws."

Is the President's support enough to pass the bill?

Despite the concerns above, some believe that Bush has enough power in
Washington to push the bill through sometime this year.

Bush seems to be making immigration reform a primary issue on his
agenda. It will face stiff conservative resistance, but Bush could
pass it if he forms a bipartisan coalition and uses his political
capital to push hard for it as a top priority.

Guest-worker plan needs Bush's backing
The Republican, MA - Jan 19, 2005

"Bush has said in several recent interviews that he is serious about
pursuing immigration reform, including establishing some kind of
guest-worker program for undocumented immigrants who are already here.
And he is going to face fierce opposition from members of his own
party on this one."

"Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., have
recently been working together to try to build bipartisan support in
the Senate for immigration reform. While that work will not be easy,
finding backers in the House will be an even more formidable task.

That's where the president's command of the bully pulpit will be most
important. Bush demonstrated time and again in his first term that he
could gain the support of wavering GOP lawmakers when he really wanted

He'll have to do that again with immigration. "

Some seem more optimistic about the bill's passage, believing that
with Bush's support, it can be pushed through soon. From what I have
read, there is no bill regarding guest workers currently being debated
in this congress, despite what this report suggests. It is likely that
a bill will soon be introduced however.

Philippine News Online, Philippines - Jan 12, 2005

<<Congress has been considering a bill (since January 2004) to grant
amnesty to people presently in the U.S., who are out of status, to
legally work as long as they have an employer as their sponsor.

President Bush again stated that this was not a program granting
permanent legal status or U.S. citizenship, but there was the
possibility that the ?guest workers? could get in line to apply for
permanent residency ?like other legal immigrants in the past.?

He stated that a guest worker policy was simply ?recognition of
reality? and would avoid driving otherwise law-abiding aliens under
ground. There will be considerable opposition by some members of the
Republican Party in Congress. However, past experience has shown that
the President?s strong support for any program will likely result in
final passage ?sooner rather than later.?>>


Education as a case study of Bush agenda items being passed:

Bush Education Plan Details (for comparison regarding time taken to pass)


Related Information:

Guestworker Programs, Employment & Training Administration (ETA)

Center for Immigration Studies (Guest Worker Topic Page)

Federation for American Immigration Reform

US Commission on Immigration Reform

American Immigration Center - US Immigration & Citizenship Kits

Center for Immigration Studies

National Immigration Forum

Immigration Advisory Service

The Immigration Home Page (Immigration Law)


Again, thanks for the question. I'm sorry there is not a simple
response to it. But there is really no way to predict when a this type
of proposal could become law in the American political system. We can
only account for the political factors and keep observing the

Best of luck in your pursuits!

-adiloren (ga)

Clarification of Answer by adiloren-ga on 31 Jan 2005 01:41 PST
I made one mistake in my response. The McCain bill was actually
introduced in 2003, not 1993.

Clarification of Answer by adiloren-ga on 31 Jan 2005 20:33 PST
Thanks you very much for the generous tip and high rating. I will
update this response as the situation develops in the congress. I
follow politics very closely, so I'll keep you posted on how this
turns out..

Best regards, 
cert124-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $40.00

Subject: Re: immigration reform
From: pinkfreud-ga on 30 Jan 2005 22:04 PST
This may be of interest to you:

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