America's Guest Worker Program

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Up and down his Latin America tour, and especially in Mexico and Guatemala in the last two days, President Bush has been peppered with questions about US immigration policy. He's promised Mexican president Felipe Calderon to push again this year for reform.

At the heart of Bush's reform proposal has been an enormous guest worker program. But the United States already has a guest worker program. And this week, a big report from the Southern Poverty Law Center calls guest work in the USA "close to slavery."

This hour On Point: we'll hear their charge, and look at guest workers and immigration reform in the United States.

Quotes from the Show:

"No matter what is written in paper, in reality, there is a systematic abuse of guest workers by their employers." Mary Baeur

"The disparity between employer and worker in this system is so vast that chronic abuse is almost inevitable." Mary Baeur

"One of the real sticking points of Bush's vision for immigration reform are the terms and conditions of the guest worker program." Daniel Restrepo

"Certainly there are some people who may not comply with rules and regulations. But the vast majority of [agricultural guest] workers are not enslaved." Daniel Bremer

"Part of the problems the report talks about happened in the home countries of the workers." Daniel Bremer


Maura Reynolds, White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, traveling with President Bush in Latin America

Mary Baeur, director of the Immigrant Justice Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, author of new report "Closet to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States"

Daniel Restrepo, director of the Americas Project at the Center for American Progress

Daniel Bremer, president of Ag Works, Inc

Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies

This program aired on March 14, 2007.


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