It’s been an interesting, if slow, news day. This Washington Post Op-ed piece is well written and makes a good case for the temporary worker visa. What makes this stand out is the link that Sebastian Mallaby makes between immigration and development in poorer countries. The print edition of the Wall Street Journal also ran a similar article that follows a Mexican family of guest workers who elect to live in Mexico even when they have the option of staying in the U.S. Both pieces emphasize an important, and often overlooked, point in the immigration debate: people who have the option to come and go as they please often do not settle permanently in the U.S.
Our current immigration systems views newcomers not as temporary laborers, but as aspiring American citizens. In general, it’s a good idea to provide a path to citizenship for immigrants, but citizenship should not be the only path for anyone who wants to work in the U.S.