Nicole Jacoby


Part I of this Note describes West Germany's post-war Gastarbeiter [guest worker] program from 1961 to 1972. Part II focuses on the long-term results of the Gastarbeiter program, with special emphasis on the legal status of Turkish Gastarbeiter in Germany. This assessment concludes that guest worker programs inevitably result in the permanent settlement of foreigners in the host country. If not properly anticipated and planned for, this settlement leads to social stratification and political divisiveness. Part II also presents for comparison U.S. immigration policies and their effect on Mexican immigrant workers. The section asserts that the United States over the past two decades has implemented a de facto guest worker policy, which led to many of the same adverse consequences wrought by Germany's Gastarbeiter program, including the permanent settlement and subsequent marginalization of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Part III concludes that temporary worker programs, formal or de facto, have irreversible and adverse sociopolitical consequences for their participants and the countries that adopt these policies. Accordingly, this Note cautions against the adoption of a formal temporary worker program in the United States and argues that the permanent legalization of undocumented immigrants is the most judicious means of reversing recent trends.