This new program would also allow the guest workers in the program to return home freely and often, which could lessen the pressure for many who work here temporarily to bring their families to the U.S.
So, how does the U.S. benefit?
By focusing on job program reform and opening up jobs to more guest workers, it does the following:
It takes amnesty off of the table. Those who have come to the U.S. don't get rewarded with citizenship and benefits for skirting the rules and breaking the law, but it creates a reasonable solution to deal with the more than 11 million undocumented workers who are already here;
It reduces border-patrol costs. The reason we have people sneaking over the borders is to find jobs. Creating an open jobs program cuts down those trying to sneak across any border to just the unsavory few, making their intentions clearer and border security more focused, but less expensive;
It creates a long-lasting solution. It solves the problem permanently, so we don't need to waste resources on debating it each year;
It generates extra revenue that benefits U.S. citizens. It allows for more people paying into the federal tax system;
It stops redistributing U.S. citizen tax dollars to non-U.S. citizens. It clarifies that those who don't follow the legal path to citizenship don't get U.S. citizen tax-sponsored benefits; and,
It creates a more robust work force. It brings in needed skilled and unskilled workers in areas where there's a mismatch.
While our focus should, of course, be on jobs for U.S. citizens, the reality is any caps on workers in a new guest worker program will have the trade-off of more workers trying to enter the country illegally. Not to mention that, as noted above, there are more than 11 million working here illegally already. Let the free market allow for organic supply and demand to be sorted out. Then, we can see to what areas skill retraining efforts need to be directed for our citizen labor force.
Jobs are the lure for potential immigrants. Jobs are also the centerpiece of solving our immigration issues in a way that is permanent, cost effective and reasonable. Any politician who ignores this will end up putting politics over progress and common sense, once again.
Commentary by Carol Roth, a "recovering" investment banker (corporate finance), entrepreneur/small-business owner, investor and author of "The Entrepreneur Equation." Follow her on Twitter @CarolJSRoth.