Panel Discussion: Perspectives on the Bush Administration's New Immigrant Guestworker Proposal
Singh, Kirpal, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy
MARCH 30, 2004
On January 7, 2004 President Bush announced his plan to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants in the United States. (1) This plan is quite ambitious. The plan allows for the estimated 8-14 million illegal immigrant workers within the United States to apply for a legal temporary worker status within the United States for a given amount of time. (2) The temporary worker status would purportedly afford these currently undocumented workers the same employee benefits given to those who are legally employed within the United States. (3) In February, the Department of Homeland Security attempted to give more form to the proposal. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, officials stated that workers and their families, after undergoing security clearances, would be given temporary worker permits for a period of three years (4); workers would be allowed to renew their permits indefinitely and be allowed to apply for permanent legal residency (5); and finally, temporary workers would be allowed to travel in and out of the country. (6)
The plan has stirred considerable debate since its announcement. (7) In conjunction with the University of Denver College of Law's Diversity Week 2004 entitled "Other Views: Education v. Confrontation," (8) the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy sponsored a panel discussion on the Bush administration's new immigrant guestworker proposal.
The panel consisted of the following members: Pat Medige, Managing Attorney of the Migrant Farm Worker Division of Colorado Legal Services, President of the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, and a member of the Board of Directors, El Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores (Humanitarian Center for Workers); Regina Germain, Visiting Professor, Immigration Clinic, University of Denver College of Law; and Mariana Diaz, Consul for Political and Economic Affairs, Consulate General of Mexico in Denver. Starting on the next page, the following comments and outlines are elaborations on the discussion that occurred that day. …