Think of it, an immigrant from Mexico, or Ireland, or any country gets a U.S. guest worker visa for three years, worked hard, likes America, gets to renew the visa for another three years and then has to quit the country. A lot of American dreams take shape in six years, three years, even a few months in our country. They can be born thousands of miles from our admittedly all too porous borders.
President Bush is correct in his view that tossing out as many as 12 million undocumented and illegal immigrants is impractical. We support his idea of a guest worker program if it can be designed to offer something more beyond merely an extended working visit to the 50 states. The entire underpinning of the American immigrant story, its very heart and soul, is that hard work and obeying the law can take the individual somewhere in life. That somewhere has often been called the America dream. Take away the dream and all you have is a worker living day to day, shorn of ambition, devoid of thinking any bigger than the next few hours or maybe days.
That isn’t the America made great by people arriving from the four corners of the earth. That isn’t America at all.
If a guest-worker program proves to be a workable stopgap measure, something that brings some order to the present state of unacceptable chaos and insecurity along the border with Mexico in particular then by all means give it a go. But it can’t stop there. The American dream should have no limits placed upon it even if, in the long run, it is made available to fewer people than was the case in the years when immigration was seen as an essential component of our nation’s security and prosperity.