Politically, the presence of the Guest Worker program appears to be a bit of a Catch-22. And I still lean in favor of passing the bill at large, if only because the status quo, miraculously, is even worse and I support anything that will get the millions of undocumented workers here on the citizenship track. But the really obnoxious thing about the Guest Worker program specifically is that it is a massive facade. Guest worker programs don't work. They never have, any place they've been tried. And why would they? When people move here and work for years, they understandably gain an affinity for America. All the more so when the alternative is grinding poverty in an unstable Latin American country. Why on earth should we be surprised that they're going to want to stay here rather than go home when their number is up? It's mind-boggling.
The only reason the guest worker program is in the bill is as a compromise so that Republicans can go home and not admit to letting millions of Latin Americans into the country with a chance to become citizens (gasp) and voters (shudder). From any objective standpoint (aside from pure partisanship--the GOP doesn't want tons of new minority voters entering the country, but it may not matter as they're on the verge of blowing the Latino vote for the next decade anyway), it is far better for everyone if immigrants can became stakeholders in the American dream. That requires the prospect of citizenship. It's better for American workers if immigrants can negotiate for wages and hours on a level playing field, something that
The Guest Worker program will fail, because the same incentives which would drive someone to become a guest worker in America will also cut against them returning home when they're done. And since this program isn't exactly a historical anomaly, I have to assume every person voting in favor of it knows its going to fail. But what really aggravates me isn't that the law won't work, or that lawmakers are passing it knowing it won't work. No, what's really going to burst a blood vessel is when, in five or ten years, the same Republicans who demanded the inclusion of the provision use the utter failure of this bill as an example of why "amnesty" doesn't work or some other such non-sense. Crafting plans guaranteed not to succeed, then using them as examples for why the entire surrounding ideal is a bad idea, is a time-honored and repulsive tradition (Social Security privatization, anyone?). This is a train-wreck we can spot a mile away, and when the explosion comes don't let anybody let the GOP dodge its responsibility for the fall-out.