Any GOP candidate hoping to strengthen the party’s demographic appeal and to reform our immigration system so that it encourages opportunity would be wise to confront the issue of guest-worker programs. These programs not only represent a betrayal of free-market, pro-civic conservative principles; they also offer a political trap for Republicans.
As they currently exist, guest-worker programs tend to be a species of crony capitalism in their creation of a caste of workers without full access to the free market. One of the defining features of a guest worker is that she cannot bargain for her labor with the same flexibility and freedom of a legal permanent resident or a U.S. citizen. This disadvantage distorts the free market and undermines the position of the average worker. Guest-worker programs allow the rich and connected to pit worker against worker in order to have an economic race to the bottom.
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