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A Temporary Worker Program: a Necessity for Labor and Immigration

In: Social Issues

Submitted By bpowell1014
Words 1302
Pages 6
November 22, 2010

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” -Emma Lazarus

A Temporary Worker Program: A Necessity for Labor and Immigration
In the United States, the labor movement and immigration have a history marked by frequent times of turmoil and less frequent times of harmony – that is, according to Dr. Janice Fine, Professor of Labor Studies at Rutgers University. On October 6, 2010, I attended her lecture titled, “A Movement Wrestling: American Labor’s Enduring Struggle with Immigration” at CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. The lecture provided a historical look at how the labor movement has viewed immigration over time. Generally speaking, during times of low immigration, also known as “low flow,” the labor movement views immigrants as allies because they are seen as prospective recruits for unions whose strength and numbers are weakening. However, during times of high flow, the labor movement views immigrants as a threat to American jobs and financial security (Fine 24). It is no secret that such views are primarily projected towards undocumented workers who are in the U.S. illegally. As such, a major struggle between labor and immigration currently exists. However, within this struggle, a mutually beneficial relationship between labor and immigration can a be formed via the establishment of a temporary worker program which will strengthen the overall American labor movement, address our country’s illegal immigration crisis, and provide a legal path to citizenship for undocumented workers.
First, it is important to understand the scope of the problem with undocumented workers in the U.S. Since 2006, the population of undocumented workers...

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