Letters to the editor
A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
The real question: How much more can the U.S. take?
Editor, The Times:
What was not said in "I never wanted to come back here to live," [Times, page one, April 6] is more important than what was said. The narrative of the lengthy story is that immigrants who break the law coming to the U.S. are deported, and thus penalized unfairly for doing so. Why? The headline says it all: They don't want to go back!
A financially struggling Seattle Times paid a reporter and photographer to go all the way to Mexico to find this out. A short paragraph may have contained the question most deserving of the prominent two-and-a-half pages devoted to this story. A local immigration officer is quoted as saying, "This country can't absorb them all." The question: Can it?
In 1972, the Rockefeller Commission said "there was no advantage to the U.S. having more population" than existed then, which was 260 million. Traditional census undercount has us now at about 307 million. How many people can this country absorb without dire consequences?
The writer of this story ignores the costs of that impact on this nation and this region, and instead focuses on the deportees' plan to return. One can only wonder why The Times would consider that front-page news.
— Richard Pelto, Kenmore
Thank you for recognizing the humanitarian crisis in Mexico through Lornet Turnbull's stories on Ana Reyes and her family. The humanitarian crisis on the U.S. side of the border appears in the form of unnecessarily cruel policies around enforcement, detention and deportation. These cruelties abound, from denying parents about to be deported a contact visit with their children to mandatory 10-year immigration holds — bars to re-entry.
However, it is encouraging to know that some local government officials prefer to create ordinances that give all residents safe access to services rather than to grab the easy revenue stream of federal dollars that come from housing immigrants in their jails.
Our humanitarian crisis can be abated by informed people who affirm the human dignity of immigrants and who tell their officials to fix a broken system. There are hundreds of thousands of Ana Reyeses. When I read what she and her children, particularly her American daughters, face, I am more convinced in the economic, cultural and moral arguments that call for a more just and humanitarian reform of America's immigration laws.
— Mark McGregor, director of "Posada," an immigration documentary, Santa Clara, Calif.
Illegal immigration a choice, not a disease
Illegal immigration is a choice, not a disease. It is caused by Americans with the capital to persuade our elected representatives to keep this cheap and desperate labor force in place. To hell with living wages for non-Ivy League U.S. workers. Slavery would not have been possible without our Founding Fathers' appetite for cheap labor; picking cotton and shoveling were not at the top of George Washington's or Thomas Jefferson's to-do lists.
No demand equals no supply. Rocket science? Naturally, any compassionate person can empathize with a deported person's position. What's next? U.S. citizenship for anyone who can touch U.S. soil like Cuban refugees?
— Dick McLemore, Fall City
The blame game
Predictably, The Times does another pro-immigration triple-whammy issue in my Sunday paper. I am bombasted for multiple pages about the plight of Ana Reyes and her children. Because of the wimpiness of our border enforcement, we have created a situation where Reyes can float around for 17 years without consequence. Well, boo hoo. I don't feel guilty at all.
If you want to put the blame on someone, put it on Reyes for having children when she knew full well that she could be deported on any given day. What kind of a person just wanders into another country and acts like they can live there their whole life without ever making a motion to be a legal citizen?
The Times acts like there is an extra amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing free citizenship to anyone who can just walk across the border.
— Jeremy Dunn, Everett
Help our own, then help others
Before I feel too sorry for illegals who violate our laws and get jobs in Tacoma working for boat builders who hire illegals for $20 an hour, I will feel sorry for others who live here and cannot do as well.
My youngest son, a citizen born here, with a high-school diploma, should be so lucky as to get that job. He worked full time in a Seattle hospital, paid union dues, made minimum wage and got no health benefits. Life is really tough sometimes. But as Americans, we have to follow the law and we are held to it.
Bottom line: This country needs to do whatever it can to educate our own kids, and then pay them a living wage so they can survive here and be productive citizens.
— Lynn Durfy, Seattle
More than 6 billion people live on Earth. Five billion of them could benefit financially by moving to the U.S. Four billion are poorer than the average Mexican, such as Ana Reyes.
Every year, 2 million immigrants come to America. Every year, the world's population increases by 75 million.
As sad as it is, we cannot save the world from overpopulation, poverty and bad government. They must save themselves.
— Linda H. Thom, Coupeville, Island County
More sad truths from Ground Zero
The story about Ana Reyes says, "For all the attention illegal immigrants get in the U.S. — from those who believe they're a drain on social services to advocates who say they do the jobs Americans won't — little is known about what happens to them after they're ushered by U.S. immigration authorities through revolving doors into Mexico's border towns."
Boo hoo! I'm drowning in tears! I live in California, Ground Zero for illegal immigration. According to a recent report by Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, it costs Californians $10.5 billion a year to educate, medicate and incarcerate illegal aliens. I'm on a fixed income and could lose my home to higher property taxes.
As for "doing the jobs Americans won't," that's a lie. Americans are displaced from the work force because employers are addicted to taxpayer-subsidized cheap labor.
— Haydee Pavia, Laguna Woods, Calif.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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