LETTERS to the Editor 

Another Side

Near the end of Michael Graham's March 14 editorial, "No Comprende," he describes his point of view on immigration as "xenophobic, nationalistic, Neanderthal." In this, he is correct. In all other respects, he is wrong.

The thrust of Mr. Graham's argument was that the U.S. should aggressively pursue illegal immigrants, whom he calls criminals. He ignores the fact that immigration is inherently a peaceful activity, and that it is only a crime because Lyndon Johnson and his successors didn't want too many dark-skinned, non-European people coming here.

Prior to President Johnson's signature on the blatantly racist Immigration Act of 1965, the U.S./Mexico border had been essentially open. Mexican workers entered and left the country largely in response to supply and demand. The unintended result of this law (and subsequent increasingly draconian legislation) was to make border crossing so perilous for impoverished job-seekers that they stopped making the return trip home. Thus, by seeking to limit the "problem" of dark-skinned visitors from the south, lawmakers created the conditions that led to the long-term illegal residents about whom Mr. Graham complains. More recently, in an attempt to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining Medicaid, the 2006 Deficit Reduction Act created the stipulation that Medicaid applicants must provide "satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship." We don't have to look far to see the results of that ill-conceived law. On March 12 of this year, the New York Times reported that, "Georgia now has 100,000 newly uninsured U.S. citizen children of low-income families. Many of these children have missed immunizations and preventive health visits. And they have been admitted to hospitals and intensive care units for conditions that normally would have been treated in a doctor's office."

When I eat at one of the new Mexican restaurants on Remount Road, I don't see immigrants stealing jobs and perpetrating violent crimes. I see people coming to this country, working hard, starting businesses, and pursuing the American Dream just as generations of immigrants to this country always have.

Immigration is not a problem, it is the source of our phenomenal success as a country. On the other hand, passing laws against peaceful activity doesn't solve issues, it creates them. The fastest way to stop illegal immigration would be to repeal the antiquated quotas on immigration and allow people who want to come to this country for a better life to do so legally.

At the base of the Statue of Liberty stands a plaque inscribed with words that summarized what our policy of immigration once was, and should be again:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

In my humble opinion as a U.S. citizen (with documents to prove it), it's time to open the golden door, and shut Mr. Graham's pie-hole.

Alexander Fox

Okay, Smarty

The problem with Moredock's article ("The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour," Views, Feb. 28) is that the author has confused the cure for the income disparity with the cause. Education is the root of the gap. Graduate from college and be on a pedestal. Fail to graduate and be relegated to a lower class. By class I do not mean income, but degree of education. What happens to those who don't enter into the new "high society"? They're cut off, as so many jobs now require that you graduate from college. Your degree has become your royal blood, your pedigree as an aristocrat. All of these jobs that require a college degree are naturally exclusionist; the nonaristocrats go to lower and lower paying jobs. Our blind worship of college graduation is creating a system of haves and have-nots, between those who are deemed "educated" and those not (thus paid and regarded a lot less). The best-positioned educationally recognize this and perpetuate this neo-aristocracy by educating their offspring. Those less well-positioned to become members of "high society" get left behind. Everyone's a potential neo-aristocrat; it's just much easier for those in the upper class to get in. To get a college degree is to get a transfusion of all-American royal blood. The income disparity must be addressed by helping those who don't get this transfusion.

Hollan Kreil


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