Canada and Mexico Develop Guest Worker Program


The Canadian government offers a government-to-government agreement that Mexican officials view as a potential model for an expanded “guest worker” program in the United States. It could be a model for immigration reform.
The Obama administration needs to address the idea of guest workers, the population of 11 million illegal immigrants living in the US, and the inefficiencies of the current U.S. agricultural program, and the “50,000 seasonal agricultural visas per year” that the United States gives out. says in the article that Canada’s system, may offer a better model because “government officials partner with their Mexican counterparts to recruit workers, expedite visas, guarantee health and safety standards, and coordinate travel arrangements and pay.”  But, the Canadian program is only available to married men and their families must remain in their native lands.
Also, the article reported, “Once in Canada, the workers live like monks, sleeping in trailers or barracks, under contractual agreements that forbid them from drinking alcohol and having female visitors, or even socializing with other Mexican workers from different farms.” Such strict control and regulations bring labor rights to the forefront and might not be an effective strategy in the United States.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is also pushing President Obama for immigration reform. “Overall, nearly as many Mexicans are now leaving the United States, whether voluntarily or as deportees, as the number who arrive, a trend that has raised alarms of labor shortages in industries such as food service and farming that are historically dependent on low-paid migrants.” The shortage and transient numbers of laborers are a reflection of the shaky US job market, and large percentage of the laborers who are illegal immigrants.