There have been a number of guest columns in the paper recently expounding on the idea that immigration has made this country great, which is true in the main aspect.
But some argue that anyone who has objections to immigration, in its current state, simply hates people with brown skin, i.e., anyone from Mexico or other countries further south.
Some even want open borders, arguing that we need more immigrants.
Dan Freeman, in his guest column, (“A modest proposal for immigration,” The Daily News, Feb. 11) said, “more extensive border enforcement and building walls, as advocated by some politicians, is a waste of time and money.”
Yes, we do pride ourselves as being a nation forged with immigrants from all over the world.
That diversity has enriched this country.
The U.S. currently allows more immigrants annually (roughly 1 million) than all other nations combined.
But that is the number that come to this country legally and go through the cumbersome process of becoming American citizens.
They leave their countries to pledge allegiance to this one.
They assimilate, learn our language and customs, study to become citizens and become part of this “great melting pot.”
Or they remain here for long periods to work (think professionals such as doctors, high tech experts, etc.), with legal visas renewed as necessary.
The illegal immigrants who have been streaming across our southern border for decades are another matter.
This swarming from the south (11 million and growing) has caused all sorts of social and economic problems that have nothing to do with the massive xenophobia in this county.
The problems are caused because they cannot easily assimilate, as legal immigrants have.
There are two reasons for this, (1) there are too many unskilled and uneducated illegals coming too fast across our border, and (2) they have no legal status and so they live in the shadows, always afraid of exposure and deportation.
The economic burden on state governments is that illegals are something of a dead weight in two of the biggest costs that states have — health care for indigents and public schools.
Most illegals don’t have insurance and simply show up at hospital emergency rooms. Schools have difficulty staying up with costs of a steady increase of alien students whose parents do not support the schools (don’t pay property taxes).
Across the country, unscrupulous businesses pay below minimum wage levels to non-skilled immigrants desperate for work, which causes a downward affect on wages.
The same effect spills over into some skilled trade jobs. For example, more illegal immigrants are getting into construction work such as carpentry, plumbing, roofing, etc., where contractors hire them at lower wages than they would pay otherwise.
Social problems are mainly those of nonassimilation.
There are boroughs in every metropolitan city of any size, from Texas to California, where a significant percentage of that population does not speak English, the language of our nation.
These economic and social problems caused by illegals are huge and must be addressed in comprehensive immigration reform. And yes, Dr. Freeman, that means closing our borders as a major first step. No other nation on earth allows people just to walk into their country.
The sad fact is that if unlimited numbers of illegals continue to cross our border they will, at some point, cause a great divide of this country — two different societies speaking two different languages, at loggerheads with each other.
Bob Fields lives in Santa Fe.