Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs [Updated June 8, 2004]   [open pdf - 159KB]

"The current discussion of guest worker programs takes place against a backdrop of historically high levels of unauthorized immigration to the United States. Supporters of a large-scale temporary worker program argue that such a program would help reduce unauthorized immigration by providing a legal alternative for prospective foreign workers. Critics reject this reasoning and instead maintain that a new guest worker program would likely exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration. The consideration of any proposed guest worker program would appear to raise a variety of issues. Among them are the following: how would the requirements of any new program compare to the requirements of the H-2A and H-2B programs; who would be eligible for the program; would the program include a mechanism for participants to obtain LPR [legal permanent residents] status; how would family members of eligible individuals be treated; what labor market test, if any, would the program employ; would the program be numerically limited; how would the rules and requirements of the program be enforced; and what security-related provisions, if any, would be included. This report aims to provide an analytical framework for evaluating low-skilled guest worker proposals. It is not intended to serve as a legislative tracking report. If warranted by legislative developments, the tracking of relevant bills in the 108th Congress will be handled in a separate product."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32044
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