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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

It is disheartening that The Nation publishes articles that fail to dig below the surface on an issue that is as crucial to the nation's future as mass immigration.

The United States is probably currently environmentally unsustainable, with its population of around 308 million. The Pew Research Center projects we will grow to 438 million by 2050, 82 percent of that growth due to mass immigration (2008). Waxman-Markey would reduce greenhouse emissions 80 percent by that date. Does anyone really expect that to happen in the face of 40 percent growth? It's not a case of shifting deck chairs on the Titanic, because immigrants' ghg emissions grow an average of fourfold after arrival here (Center for Immigration Studies, 2008).

Then there's the issue of mass immigration taking jobs from the most deprived American workers (as well as a lot of computer programmers and the like). César Chávez understood that an oversupply of cheap labor would undermine his workers' wages, which is why he denounced illegal immigrants to the INS. Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times's most compassionate columnist, also understood this when he looked into it.

The thing he probably was not aware of was the impact of chain migration, or he would not have advocated amnesty for those already here.

Then there is the impact on US education in immigration hot spots. A friend of mine, a hard scientist of high national repute, then at UC Santa Barbara, had a daughter in the third grade at the local public school, which was 80 percent immigrant. He was appalled to learn one day that his daughter was in the thirty-fifth percentile in math, so he rushed in for a teacher conference. "Not to worry," he was told. "Your daughter is the star of the class."

The Nation's editors need to quit being soft-headed about this issue. They also need to realize that, like support for amnesty, opposition is bipartisan. I cast my first presidential vote for George McGovern, and my latest for President Obama. I stumped in New Hampshire for Kerry in '04. The only time I voted against a Democrat for president was John Anderson in 1980. There are plenty more like me. Even a plurality of Americans of Hispanic extraction think there is too much immigration, according to a very recent Zogby poll.

Those who want to help the world's underprivileged should work on ways of helping make their home countries more livable and more economically viable. We can't bring them all here, and we owe our own underprivileged the opportunities to get ahead. But America's poorest, most of whose parents made better wages packing meat ($25/hr [inflation-adjusted] then, as opposed to $8/hr today), assembling cars, building homes, etc., for obvious psychological reasons can't hope to compete for today's s--- wages with Third World natives for whom these wages represent wealth.

David Holzman

Lexington, MA

Mar 23 2010 - 11:53pm

Web Letter

A focus on immigration ignores the deeper problem with Mexico's economy--monopolization. The legalization of undocumented immigrants in the United States plays right into the hands of Mexico's plutocrats like Carlos Slim and others who use their wealth to control the Mexican presidency and legislators. An honest concern for Mexicans who suffer economically would demand an end to those monopolies and a fair distribution of Mexico's wealth.

Bud Ilic

Bloomington, IL

Mar 23 2010 - 4:28pm

Web Letter

I think our current immigration policy is backwards. Instead of allowing in educated immigrants legally we are allowing in uneducated immigrants illegally. Educated immigrants would create more jobs, open more businesses, drain fewer dwindling resources and provide a bigger contribution to the tax base. Educated immigrants would provide more valuable human capital to help America face the challenge of the twenty-first century.

Unfortunately, we have chosen the opposite path. We allow in, illegally, uneducated immigrants who can't speak English (our common bond), who place a huge drain on public resources and commit an inordinate amount of crime.

Ironically, both the right and left of the America political spectrum contribute to today's upside-down policy. The right likes the cheaper cost of the uneducated immigrant, while the left views the uneducated immigrant as a new member of the entitlement class who will continually vote for those who feed government dependancy.

A sound immigration policy to make America stronger would require all immigrants to:
1) Speak English
2) Have an IQ (as measured by a standardized test) of at least 120
3) Purchase and maintain at their own expense a healthcare insurance policy
4) Have a job, an enrollment in an accredited college, or the sponsorship of an American citizen for a period not to exceed one year while they get a job
5) End anchor immigration
6) Not receive any public welfare benefits.

Let's make America a magnet for the world's best and brightest, we can't afford any less.

Mark Sullivan

Newark, DE

Mar 21 2010 - 7:17am

Web Letter

This highly biased pro-illegal alien, pro-amnesty article conveniently forgets to provide the many reasons for why amnesty should not be granted, why the illegals should be sent back to their home countries and why we need to enforce our legal immigation levels and enforce our immigration laws.

The US population is growing at more than 3,000,000 annually and will reach over 450,000,000 by 2050, and then rise to 600,000,000 or more by 2100. This population growth is due overwhelmingly to immigration and to the large numbers of children that immigranst (both legal and illegal) have. A significant percentage of the legal immigrant population has educational and skill levels below those of American workers, and among illegals the percentage is even more substantial.

The US is in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The "real unemployment rate" is estimated at nearly 20 percent, and among blacks it's estimated at nearly 25 percent, and Hispanics at more than that. Teenage unemployment is also over 25 percent.

Population growth is causing the depletion of natural resources, particularly water and land, and the loss of habitat for various wild animals, several of whom are on the endangered species list.

Forecasts for oil are that there are shortages looming in the not-to0-distant future. High gas prices and/or shortages are set to be part of this nation's future economic equation.

We have lost a sizeable amount of the manufacturing economy in this country due to outsourcing and downsizing, and we can expect, according to Alan Binder of Princeton University, to lose as many as 20,000,000 or more jobs due to continued outsourcing. Wage levels have stagnated or have been falling for decades, especially among the lower-earning segments of the working population.

Immigration, and especially illegal immigration, of low-skilled workers affects the lower income level of the American population disproportionately.

A recent survey found that more than 50 percent of immigrants (there was no distinction between legal and illegal) are on public assistance.

Why do we need more poor people, when we are drowning in an economic crisis and increasing numbers of Americans are out of work or can find only part-time work, and states and localities are facing budgetary crises due to the strains put on their abilities to fund these social services?

When are Americans like you folks who read The Nation going to realize that high levels of immigration and illegal immigration are simply importing more and more poverty, which is going to create future economic hardships for many, many Americans and may potentially destroy this country's social and economic infrastructures?

Leslie F. Smith

Rockville, MD

Mar 20 2010 - 1:12pm

Web Letter

I am glad these individuals were able to use the situtation here in the United States to help themselves, and find a job to support their families back in Mexico. They decided to have a create a family, some of whom were born here in the United States.

They are now asking that because they were hard-working individuals, they be granted citizenship. They broke the law when they crossed our borders, and entered the US illegally. They broke the law when they used false papers (some American's name and Social Security number to get a job). They broke the law when they filled out a driver's licence form, if they didn't just drive without a licence, or insurance. Were their children using fake names and identification papers to go to school, that's another crime the parents committed.

Most states take away the right to vote from American citizens who commit serious crimes. A felony conviction will result in the loss of the right to own or use a firearm. There is more than one price to pay for the commission of a crime in the United States.

But with this issue, many are willing to turn a blind eye to the transgressions of these illegals, who in order to stay here and work, have broken on average a dozen laws, and rush to grant them citizenship.

What is really going on here? What is the real agenda behind those individuals here in the US that are pushing this policy so hard? Americans who commit a crime are punished. Illegals who commit a crime are rewarded. The inmates are really running this asylum.

Bill Maher

Fairfield, CA

Mar 20 2010 - 11:55am

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