S4 E11: Immigration and America's Labor Shortage – Are Guestworkers the Solution?

S4 E11: Immigration and America's Labor Shortage – Are Guestworkers the Solution?

Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Season 4, Episode 11

  • Nov 27, 2023 7:00 am
  • 53:29 mins

America is aging and many industries say they need more immigrant workers to do lower-skilled jobs Americans don’t want. Are they right? If so, how should we be looking at immigration and America’s labor shortage to find those solutions? And if immigration is not the answer, how will we fill the growing number of open positions in industries like healthcare and construction? In this episode of the podcast, we’re reframing the debate about immigration, with a closer look at short-term migration. We tend to think of immigration as being exclusively a permanent thing, but development economist Lant Pritchett says most immigration is intended to be rotational. Could immigration work better for America – and for the people who want to come here – if we significantly expand guestworker programs? We explore the history of guestworkers in the US, speak to someone who’s worked in America on an H-2A farmworker visa and consider the risks of expanding that program without significant reform. We hear about the need for better enforcement of existing immigration laws and border security. And we consider a proposal to meet America’s labor needs without more immigration. Podcast Guests: Bill Lowe, CEO of Chicago Methodist Senior Services Lant Pritchett, visiting professor at the London School of Economics, co-founder of Labor Mobility Partnerships Rebekah Smith, co-founder and executive director of Labor Mobility Partnerships Joe Martinez, co-founder and executive director of CIERTO Global Hector Benjamin Xoc Xar, former H2A visa worker from Guatemala Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass, author of "Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America"