Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs [Updated December 11, 2006] [open pdf - 228KB]
"At present, the United States has two main programs for temporarily importing low-skilled workers, sometimes referred to as guest workers. Agricultural guest workers enter through the H-2A visa program, and other guest workers enter through the H-2B visa program… The current discussion of guest worker programs takes place against a backdrop of historically high levels of unauthorized migration 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 migration. The consideration of any proposed guest worker program raises various issues, including the following: how new program requirements would compare with those of the H-2A and H-2B programs; how the eligible population would be defined; whether the program would include a mechanism for participants to obtain LPR status; how family members of eligible individuals would be treated; what labor market test, if any, the program would employ; whether the program would be numerically limited; how the rules and requirements of the program would be enforced; and what security-related provisions, if any, would be included."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32044
TRAC Immigration: http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/