Everything old is new again

The legalization of the millions of illegal aliens who are residing in the United States — the bestowal of American citizenship on them — would be unjust and unwise for many reasons. Most Americans believe this to be the case; indeed, it is the sole reason for the refusal to acknowledge the substance of this critical component of the “comprehensive immigration reform” that that the president advocates. When described more accurately, it goes under the name of amnesty. The details of the amnesty program advocated by the administration are even more foolish than the idea of amnesty itself (as suggested by point 4 of the White House fact sheet, but also as elaborated at greater length elsewhere by adminstration spokesmen).

The same applies to the administration’s advocacy of a guest worker program. The American guest worker program of 1942 to 1964 appears to be one of those secrets of history that it is somehow rude to mention in polite company. Nevetheless, Victor Davis Hanson reviews the history of the bracero program in Mexifornia and briefly criticizes it in columns including “Reviving guest worker program is fruitless,” “A quick fix — do your own dishes” and “‘Guest’ worker wilderness.” Fans of popular music may recall the Woody Guthrie song “Deportee” (melody by Martin Hoffman); the song decries the cruelty of the bracero program from the perspective of the Mexican guest workers. Hanson writes: “[H]onor and remember the noble braceros, but please don’t bring back that age of heartbreak.”

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