From Examiner.com, Alison Peek, Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner, 6 Jan 2012.
The proposed initiative for the November California ballot modeled after Utah immigration legislation is not a guest-worker program, according to Maria Machuca, spokesperson for United Farm Workers.
“Guest worker programs bring workers from other countries to do temporary work and then send them back to their country of origin when the work is done,” according to Ms. Machuca. The UFW does not support the expansion of guest-worker programs.
Ms. Machuca maintains there is not a shortage of workers in California, but a shortage of workers who can work there legally. She believes, “The California Opportunity and Prosperity Act seeks to give those undocumented workers already working in California a way to work here legally,” said Ms. Machuca. “The UFW supports that effort because it would expand the rights and protections of farm workers and other workers who are already here working very hard.”
Utah’s program is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2013, but faces a battle in the upcoming legislative session in Salt Lake City as well as a possible challenge in the courts. Enacting the law would also require one or more federal waivers.
Opposition to Utah’s legislation considers the program to be “amnesty” because the undocumented are here illegally and should not be allowed to live and work in Utah, even after qualifying for and going through the registration process and paying a fine.
The real issue is the need for immigration reform on a federal level. The US Constitution (Article 1, Section 8) and subsequent rulings by the Supreme Court puts the responsibility for immigration and naturalization squarely in the hands of the federal government. It is hoped that an initiative from a state the size of California will influence Congress to finally act.