Guest Worker Program

An unprecedented approval on the part of Texas Republicans means there may be a call for a national guest-worker initiative. The GOP, known for a tough stance on many immigration issues, have now taken a stand that may win them approval from Hispanic voters. The changes to the Republican platform are not binding. In fact, the platform may be more of a political statement.

A bill that would have created a state guest worker program already failed to pass last session after being introduced. Rep. Aaron Peña’s House Bill 2757 would have created a commission to oversee the Migrant Worker Visa Pilot Project. Opponents of the bill said that jobs should first go to unemployed citizens and green card holders, however. Other opponents stated that guest worker programs could lead employers to take advantage of lower-wage employees.

Nevertheless, the changes to the platform do show an interest in addressing the concerns of Hispanic voters. The change, however, may alienate some of the more conservative members and supporters of the party. Some have already critiqued the changes. Although some Republicans feel that immigration change is needed, some members and supporters have stated that they would have liked more conversation about the types of immigration reform that should be encouraged.

The new changes to the political platform were negotiated over months. The changes call for a national program which would bring workers from outside the US in cases where jobs are available.  Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and other supporters of the platform suggest that the proposed national program would be good for the economy because it would address worker shortages and would also help solve some immigration issues.

Some Democrats in Texas called the move as nothing more than pandering to voters, throwing Hispanic voters a concessional while not supporting the DREAM Act and other legislation that could help solve immigration issues.

Just one year ago, conservative legislators in the state were close to passing legislation which would have given local police more authorities in enforcing immigration rules. Ultimately, the bill was allowed to lie rather than making it to the governor’s desk. Some claimed that time had been allowed to run out on the proposed law while others claimed that there was simply not enough time to pass the law.

Implementing a nationwide guest worker program will likely be met with some of the same opposition as House Bill 2757. Nevertheless, supporters of the Republican party have praised the party for making some changes which would potentially permit some foreign nationals to come to the US for jobs and a better life.