Publication Date

December 1986


"Temporary worker policy in the United States traditionally has been advocated as a means to meet shortages for labor - a demand problem. Over the past decade, however, there has been support for the use of such policies as a means of addressing illegal immigration - a supply problem. Despite the fact that experiences show that such endeavors actually foster illegal immigration, the drive for immigration reform in the 1980s was seriously encumbered with a variety of attempts both to expand existing and to add new temporary worker programs. This article reviews the evolution of temporary worker policy and indicates how efforts to admit more temporary workers complicated the immigration reform process. Indeed, it was not until the major temporary worker proposals were finally removed from the Simpson-Rodino Act - by the adoption of a highly controversial "second amnesty" program (i.e. the Schuiner Amendment) - that passage of legislation was achieved. Because this program functioned as a bargaining chip in the effort to establish a system of employer sanctions, it is unlikely that this expedient measure will set a precedent for future replication. Hence, it can be anticipated that efforts will eventually be made to revive temporary worker policy and, in the process, rekindle the debate over this contentious issue."


Suggested Citation
Briggs, V. M., Jr. (1986). The "albatross" of immigration reform: Temporary worker policy in the United States [Electronic version]. International Migration Review, 20, 995-1019.

Required Publisher Statement
Published version posted with special permission of the copyright holder, Blackwell Publishing.