Immigration reform needed
RE: A new civil rights movement is born in America (Writers on the Range, April 14)While I have a great deal of respect for those like Hector Gonzales and others who have overcome adversity and through hard work bettered themselves and their families, I think it a travesty and an insult to compare the recent demonstrations to the heroic civil rights movement that has made such progress in rectifying the abuses of blacks and others in the U.S. over the last several decades. There are some very big differences: Blacks were citizens of the U.S., originally brought here against their will; illegal immigrants are not citizens, and came here against the country’s will. While all of humanity deserves to have “certain inalienable rights …” supported and protected by their governments, I don’t recall seeing anything in our constitution guaranteeing unrestricted immigration nor the rights of U.S. citizenship to those who violate the laws to get here. While the U.S. was indeed built on immigration, the world and this country now have far more people than a century or two ago. There is not unlimited land (water, clean air, etc.) as there once was. The simple fact is, there are too many people in the world and the problem is growing with the population. And any successful country that tries to be the promised land for all of the world’s (billions of!) impoverished, displaced, or oppressed will be overwhelmed. It may not be fair – there is no question we Americans are among the most privileged in the world. But those not lucky enough to be born here or who are not skilled, patient or determined enough to play by the rules in getting here simply must find a way to improve their own countries – unless we are willing to have our own completely transformed. The U.S. cannot possibly be a relief valve for all of the corruption and lousy economic policies that are the reasons why nations remain poor. By letting them flood us and send money back home, we are aiding the gangsters and oligarchs, abetting their continued depredations and subsidizing crime and incompetence, perpetuating terminal policies abroad. The rights of the citizenry of a sovereign nation include the ability to protect and reap the benefits provided by its citizens’ creation and sustenance of that nation’s culture, economy and environment. And while I do not question the fact that most immigrants, legal or otherwise, contribute to both the culture and economy, the continued population growth of the U.S. – caused almost entirely by immigration – undoubtedly puts increasing pressure on the environment we all (at least most of us) would like to protect. And even the culture and economy can not absorb and benefit from unlimited additions to the population. Therefore, those who choose to come uninvited do so at to a significant extent at the expense of others – both those here already and those who would attempt to follow the rules in coming here in the future. My opinion may not be politically correct. But, before calling me “insensitive” or worse, consider the difference between those (like myself) who may strongly support increased levels of legal immigration but oppose the unlimited and illegal variety – and the true xenophobes and bigots who oppose all sorts of immigration and are prejudicial towards minorities of all sorts. I’ve heard many eloquently expressed and emotionally compelling arguments as to why (to quote Kevin Spellman’s recent letter) “… ree movement of people is an inalienable right for all human beings … a necessary cornerstone … from which democracy and open markets are built …” But, I would ask him and others: Have you considered all the consequences their arguments necessarily imply? Are you ready for our population (and gas prices, and health care costs, and …) to double and double again in your lifetime? And before asserting that we need the cheap labor to fill the jobs Americans won’t take, have you considered the idea that maybe we need to increase the (effective) supply from within? Perhaps by raising the price of labor, and with it the incomes of those willing to take jobs if at a living wage, we might just might begin to strengthen our eroding middle class.Immigration can continue to enrich this country while improving the lot of those who come here – but let’s do it the right way. If we’re going to reform the laws (and we need to), let’s make the legal process work and enforce everything outside of it.
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