An effective Temporary Work Visa (VTT) should be created to allow Mexican citizens to stay in the United States to work for a limited period of time. Like the one created in recent years, but still at a more concessional level, As the possibility of renewal. The visa would authorize work for a definite period, such as the three-year period, and as already mentioned would be renewable for an additional period; It would allow multiple unlimited entries as long as it is current; Would allow full mobility between employees and sectors of the economy and would give the right holder the right to receive “national treatment”, something that the one created has not granted.
Mobility would be essential for workers to exercise complete freedom to change jobs for better income, Under the theory that the best protection against underpaid wages and poor working conditions is the freedom to seek a better offer. At the general level, mobility would allow labor supply to flow to meet changes in demand. National treatment would consist of the same protection under the law as domestic workers receive. This would ensure that temporary foreign workers do not enjoy unfair legal advantages or suffer disadvantages.
Mobility and national treatment would protect migrant workers from the abuses that occurred with guest worker programs in the past. The fatal flaw of Bracer’s program and other proposed programs is that they tie the worker to an industry or employer, leaving them at the mercy of their bosses. The best model for VTTs should be the standard work permit document known as Form I-688B, which is issued to foreign-born residents who can work in the United States.
The number of visas issued should be sufficient to meet the demand in the US labor market. Using the current estimate of undocumented worker incomes, 300,000 annual visas would be a reasonable starting point. The distribution of visas can be rationed through an application fee. The fee must be high enough to cover costs and regulate demand, but low enough to bring illegal traffickers out of the market, perhaps in the neighborhood of $ 1,000. If a black market reappears or persists, it would be an indicator that the quota should be lowered or the number of visas issued should be increased. This income would be used to sustain the program and any surplus must be distributed among state and local governments to cover the expenses incurred by the presence of low-skilled workers. If 300,000 visas are issued at $ 1,000 each, there would be an income of $ 300 million. Visas should be placed on the basis of prices, not government agencies exposed to corruption.
A program must be created to allow undocumented workers already in the country to obtain legal status based on years of work and other productive behavior. Undocumented workers who are already there must receive VTTs immediately as long as they register with the government and are not a threat to internal or national security. Those who have lived and worked in the United States for more than a certain time must be able to apply for permanent residence and finally citizenship. Legal status must be conditional upon not having committed serious crimes. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt promised a Democratic bill that would “provide undue legalization to undocumented immigrants who have resided here for more than five years, worked there for two years, and abided by the rules.” Like new entrants, undocumented workers already in the country would have to pay the application fee; If 4.5 million Mexicans receive legal status, and each pays a fee of $ 1,000, the federal government would receive a payment of $ 4.5 billion. Again, the money would be used to cover costs and to distribute it to other levels of government that incur related but not so direct costs. This legalization would not be a simple repetition of the 1980s amnesty. Workers would not be granted permanent residence automatically. All immigrants could receive temporary visas valid for a limited period. To obtain residency they would have to request through the existing channels; Would not receive special treatment, but would be prosecuted along with legally qualified candidates. Requests would have to be processed in a timely and efficient manner, following the 180-day guideline proposed by President Bush.
For practical reasons, legalization should begin with Mexican immigrants; Given its location and the number of its workers already present in the United States, Mexico is by far the most important country of origin of immigration. The Mexican government is eager to work with the American to implement a successful program, and their cooperation will be necessary for the program to function while safeguarding US national security and Mexico’s economic and social security. Our long land border with the United States and the growing trade traffic stimulated by NAFTA argue in favor of legalizing what is already an integrated labor market in North America.