Combine the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act with a Guest Worker Program to Manage Border Influx
The US Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations encountered 178,622 migrants between ports of entry during the month of April, the highest monthly number in 21 years. The majority of these migrants are single adults who are trying to come here to work and pursue economic opportunities significantly greater than those available in their home countries. Most of them have no legal pathway to migrate here without waiting 10-20+ years. The vast majority of these individuals are sent home immediately.
The surge in migrants crossing the southern border is impeding lawmakers from making progress in fixing other aspects of the US immigration system, even those which have wide ranging and majority public support, like creating a legislative solution to allow DACA recipients to earn permanent legal status.
“There’ll be no immigration reform until you get control of the border,” said Republican Senator Lindsay Graham recently, who has sponsored bipartisan legislation to allow DACA recipients to earn permanent legal status.
Meanwhile, US businesses continue to struggle to hire the workers they need in industries like construction, service, retail, and agriculture, while the input costs for supplies and materials they use continue to increase.
This situation creates a need for sensible legislation that will improve the federal government’s operational control of the border and also funnel economic migrants into a guest worker program so that they can fill the jobs that Americans are not taking and aid the US’ economic recovery.
The most immediately accessible solution, which already has bicameral and bipartisan support, is the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.
The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act would establish four regional processing centers in high traffic border sectors, increase the number of immigration judges, asylum officers, and ICE and Border Patrol officers, and implement policies that prevent unaccompanied migrant children from being released to sex offenders and child abusers, among other policies.
Combining this bill with a currently non-existent program for “low-skill” immigrants to obtain guest worker visas at the border so that they can come here and work legally for a specified amount of time, while being properly identified and taxed, would greatly improve US capabilities to manage the current surge of migrants at the southern border. Passing this combination of legislation would also aid the US in its economic recovery from COVID-19.