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“Guest workers should not be able to receive welfare benefits,” Mr. Matthews said. “Those with children should be able to enroll them into public schools — they do that now — perhaps with an upfront charge. But they would be paying state and local taxes to help cover those costs. They could also be required to have a very basic health insurance policy to minimize dependence on the health care system.”
That leaves the burning question of what to do about illegal immigrants who have been here for many years. The answer, Mr. Matthews said, is not to give them a special path to citizenship.
“There is no political consensus to either deport them or allow those who broke the law by coming here to become citizens,” said Mr. Matthews. “Those who have been living in the U.S. illegally for years could enroll in the guest-worker program just like others -a path to legality, not citizenship.”
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About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
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