Corporate Desires vs. Anti-immigrant Fervor: The Bush Administration's Dilemma

by Jean Hardisty

George W. Bush accomplished a near-miracle when he united the various factions of the Republican Party behind his candidacy in the 2000 presidential election. To do so, he convinced them to put aside their differences in order to recapture the White House from the "Clintonites" and to finish the Reagan revolution. But holding that fragile coalition together, while recruiting enough new voters to actually win the 2004 presidential election, is a tough challenge. This issue illustrates the political box that Bush now must negotiate.

The neophyte Bush took office with a parochial immigration agenda based on his familiarity with the Texas-Mexico border and his political affinity with Mexico's new neoliberal President Vicente Fox. Both are free-market enthusiasts who understand that the border tensions that extend from California to Texas are problems begging for reform. Bush speaks some Spanish and has used it in his courtship of the Latino vote in Texas. A serious program of immigration reform, especially if it appeared to favor the acceptance of Mexican workers, presumably would bring Bush Latino votes.

This bid for votes seemed to be as far as Bush's thinking had progressed when he began floating the idea of a qualified amnesty, more appropriately known as legalization, for undocumented Mexican workers who are not registered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). His seemed to advocate funneling them into "guest worker" programs and then sending them back to Mexico when their contracts expired. He and members of his administration also held out the possibility of citizenship at the end of guest worker service for those who have been long-time residents. This idea was popular with Vicente Fox, some Latino groups, and Bush's agribusiness and other corporate supporters,who'd been lobbying for years for expanded agricultural and high-tech guest worker programs.

Legalization for the Undocumented

After taking office and floating his idea of temporary amnesty for undocumented Mexican workers, coupled with expanded guest worker programs, Bush soon began to back away from his initial proposals, despite President Fox's enthusiasm for the plan. On September 5, 2001, as President Fox visited the White House, he referred to the need for the two presidents to reach "an agreement on migration" within the year. The next day, as he addressed Congress, Fox reiterated his call for "regularization" of illegal immigrants from Mexico in the United States. Bush, for his part, spoke about immigration in general terms, making no promises.1 It seems that Bush only belatedly recognized the strength of organized anti-immigrant sentiment within his party's right wing. Since legalization of undocumented immigrants is anathema to this sector, they oppose it with political passion.

Americans for Better Immigration (ABI), a website that produces "immigration scorecards" on politicians and opposes immigration and "forced population growth," complained about the vagueness of Bush's statements on immigration and rated him as a supporter of legalization - a damning accusation. On their website, ABI said that Bush "showed a basic lack of knowledge" and "appeared embarrassed about being so obviously ignorant about an important policy issue."2

Rightist anti-immigrant groups repeatedly raised several arguments in opposition to amnesty:

  • Because guest workers will not return to Mexico, as stipulated in current guest worker proposals, temporary amnesty linked to a guest worker program will permanently increase the number of immigrants who remain in the United States.3
  • Amnesty for undocumented immigrants rewards the "lawlessness" of their entry into the country. Instead, the INS should be strengthened so as to be able to identify and prosecute all undocumented immigrants.4
  • Amnesty will provoke a backlash among White voters because the costs of supporting immigrants' health care and education fall largely to White taxpayers, who, on average, earn higher incomes and therefore pay more in taxes.
  • Any newly legalized Mexican workers will have primary loyalty to Mexico, not to the United States. This "dual loyalty" presents a threat to U.S. sovereignty because these new residents might place the interests of Mexico ahead of those of the United States.5
  • When the federal government encourages population growth through relaxed immigration policies such as amnesty, it works directly against the interests of a clean and safe environment. Anti-immigrant groups point to immigrants' "larger families" and "lower living standards," which, they claim, explain immigrants' role in disproportionately polluting the environment and increasing the U.S. crime rate.6
  • Immigrants take jobs from native U.S. workers, adding to the number of unemployed U.S. workers.
  • Immigrants slow innovation in technology because they provide low cost manual labor. If employers were forced to hire more costly workers, they would feel increased pressure to develop new technologies to replace those more costly workers and also increase productivity.7

The Republican Courtship of Latino Voters

Could Bush have been ignorant of the opposition his amnesty proposal would arouse within his own party? Perhaps he was compelled, if ever so temporarily, by his desire to win support within the Latino community. The Bush presidential campaign understood that immigration has powerful symbolic resonance within the Latino community. As an indicator of respect and accountability, politicians must take up the issue of immigrant rights and show appreciation for the contributions made by Latinos to the U.S. economy and culture.8 During the campaign, Bush's nephew, George Prescott Bush, worked tirelessly to reach out to and win over Latino voters. "P," as he is called, is the son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Mexican-born wife, Columba Garnica Bush. His flawless Spanish and good looks made him a virtual rock star within the otherwise stodgy campaign team. He embodied a message the Bush campaign was intent on communicating: there is a place in the Republican Party for Latino voters and here is an example of a young Latino who is fiercely loyal to the Bush Republicans.9 Both the presidential candidate and his nephew took pains when campaigning in California in April, 2000 to distance themselves from Governor Pete Wilson's anti-immigrant positions.10

The combination of the Bush campaign's rhetoric and George W. Bush's interest in immigration reform early in his presidency raised hopes within immigrant rights groups. So it was especially disappointing to those immigrant rights advocates who had seen hope in Bush's proposals when he began to back away from those proposals after the Right's anti-immigrant forces mobilized.

Several rightist groups that oppose increased immigration argued that the amnesty proposal would not help Bush with Latino voters.11 For example, in a 2001 Center for Immigration Studies study, "Impossible Dream or Distant Reality? Republican Efforts to Attract Latino Voters," James G. Gimpel and Karen Kaufman argue that because Latinos vote overwhelmingly Democratic, the amnesty and guest worker programs would only increase the number of Latino voters, but not the percentage of them who vote Republican. They argue that, with increased education and tenure in the United States, Latino immigrants, with the exception of Cubans, become more, not less, Democratic. Further, Gimpel and Kaufman argue that there is no indication that a political party's position on immigration influences Latino votes. They conclude, "most Latinos join with other Americans in the belief that the current level of immigration is too high."12

Immigrant rights groups have countered with their own statistics. The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute published a statement in 2001 that critiques the Center for Immigration Studies report. According to an Institute survey, 41 percent of Latino voters say that their party affiliation is "not strong." The authors argue that the Bush administration could take Latino support away from Democratic candidates by acting on issues of key concern to the community, especially amnesty for immigrants.13

The Role of Senator Phil Gramm

While President Bush is often seen as the architect of the administration's policy proposals on immigration and immigrants, especially because of his "special relationship" with President Vicente Fox, in reality the driving forces behind immigration policy are three legislators: Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), and especially Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX). At the end of the 2000 Congressional session, Berman and Smith proposed a bill that provides for guest workers to be put on a track to permanent residency and possible citizenship, if they work a certain amount of time in the fields. In exchange, growers would not be required to provide housing for guest workers and minimum wage requirements would be relaxed. The proposal was opposed by Gramm and, with the inauguration of George W. Bush, it was scrapped. Gramm, though he is often vilified by the most extreme of the anti-immigrant voices as too pro-immigrant, is actually the most influential right-wing voice among immigration policy-makers.14 Before the events of September 11 halted the debate over immigration reform, it was Gramm who worked most closely with the administration and appeared to wield strong influence over administration positions.

Gramm opposes legalization, saying that it would pass only "over his dead body." Instead, he favors a guest worker program that would issue temporary visas to Mexican workers when they enroll, then would send them back to Mexico after a specified length of time. Gramm's plan does not include an option for providing permanent legal status for workers.15 His policy would both satisfy agribusiness's desire for cheap labor and give a nod to President Fox's desire for Mexican workers to have legal access to U.S. jobs and continue to send billions of dollars back to their families in Mexico. It would also create a tighter system of INS surveillance of Mexican farm workers, which would presumably allow for more accurate tracking of their movements and greater control over their repatriation to Mexico. In 2001, Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho proposed a Gramm-friendly guest worker bill with no amnesty provision. It would allow permanent resident status for undocumented farm workers who work for 150 days of the year for each of five years, a difficult demand for seasonal workers. Only work in the fields would count.16

Sen. Gramm has announced that he will be leaving the Senate when he completes his term in 2002. A number of legislators will most likely vie for leadership on this issue when Gramm departs, such as: Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) (Vidalia onion fields), Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) (tree growers), Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) (sugar cane), and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), Sen Larry Craig (R-ID), Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), and others from states with strong agricultural interests.

Earlier Guest Worker Programs

The guest worker program that Gramm supports is similar to those proposed in an August 2001 meeting by the Bush administration in high-level talks between the Fox administration and Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of State Colin Powell. At that time, Ashcroft, Powell, and their Mexican counterparts announced a "shared commitment" to some form of guest worker program.17 Public statements issued after this meeting and one the following month between Fox and Bush make no mention of the history of guest worker programs in the United States. Because past guest worker programs are seldom discussed by policy-makers, many people are unaware that the United States has had a very large guest worker program in the past, and it currently has a fairly modest one for farm workers and high-tech workers.

Since the time of Alexander Hamilton, U.S. policymakers have recognized the value of cheap and willing immigrant labor, and throughout most of the 19th century, U.S. legislation was designed to encourage immigration. Employers complained of a decline in the labor supply during the Civil War, a pattern that repeated itself during subsequent times of war.18

The Bracero Program, a system of formal and informal agreements to bring contract workers from Mexico to work in the United States, began in 1942. It was augmented in 1943 by the H-2 guest worker program. Both programs were intended to replace workers who had left farm work and railroad jobs to enter military service or take better-paying production jobs related to World War II. In 1951, Public Law 78, a formal Bracero labor-contracting scheme to replace farm workers during the Korean War, was passed and implemented. The Bracero and H-2 programs lasted until 1964, and were consistently characterized by problems of worker exploitation and employer abuse.

U.S. agribusiness grew along with the Bracero program, and between 1942 and 1960 it increasingly took over farming. Acreage was consolidated into larger and larger "farms" during the early years of the Bracero movement. Describing California during this period, researcher Ernesto Galarza writes, "The holding and management of land was increasingly dominated by large units as the small, multiple-crop family farm withered."19 As a result, the political clout of agribusiness interests steadily increased during this period.

Growers manipulated farm workers, especially with the ever-present threat of deportation, and used them to undercut unionization efforts in the 1940s and 1950s. Although on paper no bracero could replace a U.S.-born worker, that rule was openly flouted. Braceros were used to harvest cotton, sugar cane, sugar beet, grapes, lettuce, and other fruits and vegetables. In each case, this was very hard physical labor under brutal conditions of heat and exposure to pesticides. Under U.S. law, 10 percent of their wages were to be sent by their employers to a bank in Mexico while they were under contract as braceros, to be paid back to them when they returned to Mexico. On March 1, 2001, four former braceros filed a class action suit in San Francisco, alleging that the money was never paid and that they are owed the withheld money plus interest. Even if this suit is successful, in 2002 only one million of the five million affected braceros are still alive to benefit.20

Congressional hearings on the conditions of braceros, held from 1953 until 1958, demonstrated the divide between those who supported the Bracero Program and those who wanted it shut down. Supporters of the program included many agricultural and growers' associations and argued that Mexican agricultural workers were needed as a result of a labor shortage created by the Korean War and changes in employment patterns following WWII.21 They also argued that braceros were highly motivated, excellent workers, who by law, were provided better living conditions than other workers, and that the Bracero Program was a method of helping the Mexican people because employment put money into the hands of Mexican workers.22 Those who were opposed the program, included a number of Democratic Congressmen, the National Catholic Welfare Committee, and the American Friends Service Committee.23 They countered that no scarcity of labor existed, that international braceros were exploited through low pay, high company store prices, and arbitrary firings, and that foreign aid for Mexico would be a better method of aiding Mexicans.

As the Bracero Program grew, some unions, such as the National Farm Labor Union (NFLU), and its successor, the National Agricultural Workers Union (NAWU), opposed it, undoubtedly because the growers used braceros to lower wages of farm workers and to break strikes whenever unionized farm workers staged a strike.24 But it was Edward R. Murrow's 1960 CBS documentary "Harvest of Shame," a moving account of the exploitation and degradation of farm workers that brought the Bracero Program out of the shadows and heavily influenced public opinion against it. In 1964, Congress rescinded the Bracero law.

Current Guest Worker Programs

Although the Bracero Program was closed in 1964, the H-2 visa program, initiated in the early 1940s primarily to secure sugar cane workers and heavily backed by the U.S. Sugar Corporation, continued, and remains a government program to this day. The H-2 visa program, which applies to workers from all countries rather than Mexico alone, allows employers to hire "foreign" workers on temporary visas. In the 1980s, the H-2 program was split up into the H-2A program, initially for agricultural guest workers, and the H-1B and H-2B programs for non-agricultural workers. Under H-2A, not only farm workers are given temporary visas, but also workers in the fast food industry, taxi drivers, nursing home attendants, janitors, construction workers, housecleaners, restaurant and hotel workers, cannery workers, and employees of poultry and meat processing plants. H-2A workers must work for one specific employer, who must document that a U.S.-born worker is not available to fill the job, and workers must leave the country after 11 months.

The H-1B guest worker program gives temporary visas to various categories of workers in "skilled specialty occupations," including professional and high-tech workers. Employers favor this program for its ability to attract very highly skilled workers from other countries to work in the United States. without conferring the right to apply for citizenship. In the 1990s, the high tech sector was booming in the United States and unemployment in it was low, but since 2001, when the United States entered an economic recession and many high-tech workers began to be laid off, anti-immigrant organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) began calling for H-1B workers to be deported.25

The H-2B guest worker program gives temporary visas to permit a worker to perform a specific job. The employer must request the worker and obtain certification from the Department of Labor that U.S. workers are not available. H-2B workers are allowed to stay no more than one year and their job must have an end date. By law, the worker must be paid a wage equal to, or exceeding, the minimum prevailing wage (set by the state where the work is done) for workers in the same position.26

In 1986, when a shortage of farm workers was predicted, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). This Act contained a provision assuring growers of a continuous supply of agricultural workers and established the Commission on Agricultural Workers (CAW) to assess its outcome. The legislation was intended to slow illegal immigration, improve the lives of agricultural workers, and protect the interests of U.S. farmers. In fact, it has succeeded only in protecting the interests of farmers.

All in all, the conditions of past and current guest worker programs, especially those applying to agricultural workers, resemble forms of indentured servitude, a practice supposedly long repudiated in the United States. H-2A, H-1B, and H-2B workers must work for one specific employer and are not eligible to remain in the United States beyond their specified periods of employment. If fired or laid off, they cannot seek other work, but must go back to their country of origin. An H-2A worker must be careful not to be identified as a "problem worker," or he or she won't be brought back the next year. Also, H-2A workers are not entitled to disclosure of the terms of their employment during recruitment, to safe transportation, or to access to federal courts. Although the H-2A program provides some protections regarding wages and housing, exposés published in The Charlotte Observer and Mother Jones magazine paint a grim picture of desperate farm workers who must endure abuses in silence or flee to an underground life as an undocumented person.27

A 1997 Department of Labor survey found that three out of five of all farm workers live below the poverty line.28 Contemporary guest worker proposals do nothing to improve farm workers' wages and working conditions. The GAO and the Congressional Research Service have reported that farm workers have at least twice the average national unemployment rate.29 According to the Sacramento Bee, in 2001 the California Central Valley counties, where most California farm workers live, had an "enormous oversupply of labor," with an unemployment rate of 13.5 percent in Tulare County and 9.5 percent in Kern County.30 Farm workers have not shared in the benefits of global trade. Many federal and state laws designed to protect workers exclude them from coverage or subject them to special exceptions. Examples include overtime pay, occupational safety and health protections, unemployment compensation, collective bargaining rights, and child labor protections. Farm workers often do not even attempt to appeal to the justice system for fear of being fired. Minimum wage laws often are not enforced.31

After the passage of IRCA in 1986, the practice of growers using farm labor contractors (FLCs) to supply farm help accelerated. Because the FLCs act as middlemen between the growers and the workers, growers now do not directly hire farm workers and are rarely any longer responsible for their housing. In most cases, the FLCs, rather than the growers, have been made solely liable for immigration violations under IRCA. With intense competition among FLCs, they underbid each other, and growers are drawn to the lowest bid and thus the lowest pay and benefit cuts for workers.32

The Future of Guest Worker Programs

Because existing guest worker programs are characterized by these abuses, farm workers' advocates have in general opposed the renewal or expansion of guest worker programs. But in 2000 they and their Congressional allies agreed to a program that would lead to permanent residence for guest workers in the United States. However, when some Republicans, led by Senator Gramm, objected, the plan died in Congress. Then, with the arrival of the Bush administration, the debate over guest workers and undocumented immigrants revived in Congress and within the administration. George W. Bush quickly experienced first hand the conflict over this issue within his right-wing political base. Corporate employers, as well as individual rightist libertarians, support the practice of laborers crossing borders into the United States, in part because it increase the quantity and/or "productivity" of workers available to U.S. business. But cultural conservatives oppose immigration, claiming it profoundly alters the "American cultural character," which they believe to be based solely on so-called Anglo-Saxon values and practices. Two associations of business interests that favor expanded guest worker programs are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC). Opposing them are large anti-immigrant groups such as the Virginia-based American Immigration Control Foundation and the Washington, D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The strength of the culturally conservative groups within the Right, and therefore within Bush's constituency, is bound to hamper the administration's efforts to accommodate its corporate supporters.

As a result of these ideological splits, the ongoing political struggle over immigrant rights and guest worker programs is not likely to occur along strict party lines. Among both Democrats and Republicans, there are those who oppose and those who support guest worker programs, as well as immigrant rights.

On the workers' rights side, immigrants' rights groups are generally ambivalent about guest worker programs, usually favoring them only when they provide workers with protections and access to permanent legal residency. These groups advocate for increased rights for immigrants and actively oppose the mistreatment of guest workers. Occasionally groups that tend to be liberal on related political issues will align with anti-immigrant groups in opposing guest worker programs because they "take jobs from native workers" or "harm the environment" by producing increases in population.33 For example, a conservative caucus of Sierra Club members, known as Sierrans for US Population Stabilization, has tried repeatedly to force a change in Sierra Club policy in favor of greater limits on immigration into the United States. They argue, unsuccessfully to date, that to protect the U.S. environment, both birth rates and immigration must be reduced.34

Immigrants' rights advocates believe that in order for a guest worker program to be a just program, it must meet a number of requirements. The United Farm Workers, for example, insists that, in any acceptable and fair guest worker program, workers must always be allowed to accrue time toward obtaining permanent resident status. Further, "foreign" workers should have the same workers' rights as those guaranteed to U.S. citizens, such as the right to choose an employer, organize in unions, and voice and pursue grievances. Immigrants rights groups also oppose the separation of families through guest worker programs that do not allow spouses and children to accompany a guest worker, who may be in the United States for two or more years. Preserving family unity has always been a major goal for immigrant advocates. And finally, legalization programs and fair and just guest worker programs must apply to all nationalities.

Labor unions are usually not supportive of guest worker programs because they allow employers to hire workers at sub-union wages and use immigrant workers to break strikes. But as U.S. unions have turned their attention to organizing immigrant workers, they have become sensitized to the needs of these workers. As a result, it is now more common to see labor unions supporting legalization for immigrant workers who are here in the United States, but still rare for unions to advocate for expanded guest worker programs.35

None of the guest worker programs currently under consideration would provide guarantees of full rights for immigrant workers. As Charles Kamasaki, a senior vice president of the National Council of La Raza, has said about guest worker programs, "We think workers are inherently exploitable if they don't have freedom to move and freedom to quit."36 Even a conservative publication such as The National Review acknowledges that, although most proposed guest worker programs include an impressive number of protections for workers, because those protections are rarely enforced, these programs are unlikely to alter the history of constricted rights for guest workers.37

The Effect of September 11

Immigrant rights groups have been seriously harmed by the events of September 11. The association between the attacks and immigrants in the minds of voters has created a complex shift in public sentiment about immigrants. On one hand, many leaders, including many political leaders, urge tolerance for immigrants, especially Arabs or those mistaken for Arabs, who might be unjustifiably blamed for September 11 or associated with terrorism or terrorists. On the other hand, there is a new wariness of all "outsiders" and a circling of the wagons to protect U.S. safety and security. Phyllis Schlafly is just one of the many right-wing voices calling for the closure of U.S. borders on the grounds that both legal and "illegal" immigrants "endanger America" because they bring terrorism, disease, and advance Mexico's "longtime goal to open the U.S. border."38 The anti-terrorism legislation pushed through Congress by the Bush administration in 2001 contains new restrictions on immigrants. The very name of Bush's counter-terrorism office, the Office of Homeland Security, expresses an inward-looking nationalism.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush is temporarily free of the tensions between his agribusiness and other corporate supporters and his supporters in the anti-immigrant sector of the Right. In this atmosphere, legislation that truly addresses the needs of immigrants seems unlikely to pass. Even agribusiness, with its heavy-handed lobbying for cheap labor through guest worker programs, will garner little support in a declining economy in which unemployment among U.S. workers grows weekly.39 And in the case of high-tech workers, the collapse of that sector of the economy, which deepened the 2001 recession, has led to a backlash against the H-1B program.40 So long as expanded guest worker programs and legalization programs for undocumented immigrants are unlikely to be advanced in Congress, the Bush administration won't have to resolve its internal contradictions, leaving immigrants in their current marginalized and vulnerable position within U.S. society. As Cathi Tactaquin of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says, "We are now having to address a re-invigoration of the 'national security' framework on immigration. This not only delays much-needed reforms, but puts a number of issues back on the table, including increased border enforcement, lack of due process, racial profiling, and a resurgence of harassment and hate crimes against Arabs, South Asians and others."41

Immigrant rights groups have been here before. Not only after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but during nearly every national crisis, immigrants have faced scapegoating, harassment, and intolerance in many forms. But immigrant rights groups are strong, well networked, and increasingly sophisticated, and they have some important allies in Congress. They understand their work as a long-term project and will not be defeated by the setback to their progress that has resulted from the September 11 attacks.

Thanks to Pam Chamberlain and Mitra Rastegar for research assistance and Elly Bulkin for editorial assistance.

End Notes

1. See Eric Schmitt and Ginger Thompson, "Mexico Takes Small Steps to Improve U.S. Ties," New York Times, September 5, 2001; Ginger Thompson, "Mexico President Urges U.S. to Act Soon on Migrants," New York Times, September 6, 2001; and Ginger Thompson, "Fox Urges Congress to Grant Rights to Mexican Immigrants," New York Times, September 7, 2001.

2. Americans for Better Immigration, "President George W. Bush On Immigration Numbers And Forced Population Growth," June13, 2001. (August 22, 2001).

3. See John O'Sullivan, "The Vex of Mex," National Review, August 20, 2001: 20-24.

4. See Statement of Roy Beck for the Immigration and Claims Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, May 15, 2000. Roy Beck is the Executive Director of NumbersUSA.

5. Voice of Citizens Together (press release),"Gramm Moves to Sell Out U.S. Says Voice of Citizens Together," Jan. 11, 2001. (August 15, 2001).

6. See Roy Beck, "To Help Environment, We Must Curb Growth," The Boston Globe, July 22, 2002: D8.

7. Mark Krikorian, "An Examination of the Premises Underlying a Guestworker Program," Testimony prepared for the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, June 19, 2001. Mark Krikorian is Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

8. Michele Waslin, "Immigration Policy in Flux," NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. XXXV, no. 3 (November/December, 2001): 35.

9. Massie Ritsch, "The Bush With Muy Guapo Appeal," Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2000.

10. Jake Tapper, "P. is for pretty boy," July 22, 2000. (January 9, 2002).

11. See Peter Skerry, "Why Amnesty is the Wrong Way to Go," The Washington Post, August 12, 2001.

12. James G. Gimpel and Karen Kaufman, "Impossible Dream or Distant Reality? Republican Efforts to Attract Latino Voters." Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder, August 2001. (January 9, 2002).

13. Tomas Rivera Policy Institute,"A Critique of 'Impossible Dream or Distant Reality?' Latinos and Party Alignment in the 21st Century," August 22, 2001. (January 9, 2002).

14. For criticism of Gramm by an anti-immigrant group, see a press release from Voice of Citizens Together, "Gramm Moves to Sell Out U.S. Says Voice of Citizens Together," Jan. 11, 2001. (August 15, 2001).

15. "U.S.-Mexico Guest Worker Program: A Prospectus," the office of Senator Phil Gramm, no date. (July 19, 2001).

16. David Bacon, "Braceros or Amnesty?" Dollars and Sense, no. 238 (November/December, 2001): 13.

17. Eric Schmitt, "U.S.-Mexico Talks Produce Agreement on Immigration," The New York Times, August 10, 2001.

18. Kitty Calavita, Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I. N. S. (New York: Routledge, 1992), 4.

19. Ernesto Galarza, Merchants of Labor: The Mexican Bracero Story (Charlotte, VA: McNally & Loftin Publishers, 1964), 107-120.

20. Sharon Obsatz, "World War II's braceros seek withheld wages," Scripps-McClatchy Western Service, April 15, 2001.

21. See Richard B. Craig, "Interest Groups and the Foreign Policy Process: A Case Study of the Bracero Program" (Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, Columbia, 1970) 192-193.

22. Ibid, 197-200.

23. Opponents included George McGovern (D-SD) and Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), Senators Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) and Paul Douglas (D-IL).

24. For an account of union organizing in California in the decade of the 1950s, see Ernesto Galarza, Farm Workers and Agri-business in California, 1947-1960 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1977).

25. "Economic Downturn: INS Policy on H-1B Holders Shows Folly of 'Guest worker' Concept; Workers Won't Leave; INS Won't Make them," US Newswire, June 28, 2001, p1008179n7215. Also see Jube Shriver, Jr., "High-tech Layoffs Cause Furor over Foreign Workers," Boston Globe, Nov. 25, 2001: A2.

26. Information about temporary visas is available at

27. Leah Beth Ward, "Desperate Harvest," The Charlotte Observer, October 30, 1999. (January 9, 2002); Barry Yeoman, "Silence in the Fields," Mother Jones, vol. 26 (January 2001): 40.

28. Richard Mines, Susan Gabbard, and Anne Steirman, A Profile of U.S. Farm Workers: Demographics, Household Composition, Income and Use of Services (Washington, DC: Department of Labor, April, 1997).

29. General Accounting Office, H-2A Agricultural Guestworker Program: Changes Could Improve Services to Employers and Better Protect Workers (Washington DC: by the author, Dec. 31, 1997) GAO/HEHS-98-20; Linda Levine, Farm Labor Shortages and Immigration Policy (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, April 10, 2000, updated June 13, 2001) RL-30395.

30. Andy Furillo, "Pulled Up By The Roots," Sacramento Bee, July 22, 1001.

31. Barry Yeoman, op. cit.

32. Andy Furillo, "Toiling Under Abuse," Sacramento Bee, May 20, 2001.

33. David Stoll, "In Focus: The Immigration Debate," Foreign Policy In Focus (an internet publication of the Interhemispheric Resource Center and the Institute for Policy Studies) vol. 2, no. 3 (March, 1997). (January 9, 2002).

34. The website address for Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization is Also see Launce Rake, "Sierra Club Votes Down Proposal on Population Control," Las Vegas Sun, May 2, 2001.

35. See David Bacon, op. cit.

36. Quoted in Jerry Kammer, "Visas urged to make migrant workers legal," The Arizona Republic, April 20, 2001.

37. John O'Sullivan, op. cit., 22. "A guest-worker program like the H-1B visa program would give it (Big Business) a relatively tame workforce with a short time horizon, few other options of employment, and little incentive to unionize."

38. Phyllis Schlafly, "Security Starts at Our Borders," The Phyllis Schlafly Report, vol. 35, no. 4 (November, 2001).

39. The "need" for Mexican laborers to work in the fields and factories of the United States has for some time been contested by those on both sides of the immigration argument. The Library of Congress Congressional Research Service finds that agricultural counties exhibit comparatively high rates of unemployment. Rather than a reflection of employment patterns in a seasonal industry, this seems a year-round phenomenon. During the peak month of June, just 58% of farm workers held farm jobs. This would indicate that agribusiness demands for immigrant farm workers reflects a reluctance to raise wages and improve working conditions to attract available U.S. workers rather than a shortage of workers. See Linda Levine, op. cit. The data collected for this report covered documented and undocumented workers.

40. Jube Shriver, Jr., "Layoff Cause Furor over Foreign Workers," Boston Globe, November 25, 2001: A2.

41. Personal correspondence, October 17, 2001, on file at Political Research Associates.

This article first appeared in Defending Immigrant Rights: An Activist Resource Kit, published by Political Research Associates, © 2002.

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