In your own words
Wow. I love reader feedback. Good thing, because I got a lot of it in response to my column on immigration reform that ran in May. So for the past few months, I have been sifting through the responses — the majority of which were well-written and persuasive. Some, as you can imagine, were from readers who didn't really know what track immigration reform should take, but nonetheless wanted to blow off some steam. Either way, I enjoyed all of the e-mails and wanted to share a few excerpts with the rest of you.
I will admit that the current system of immigration is not working. Granting amnesty to millions is not the answer. This country is great because of the melting pot of immigrants, but what really makes it great is that each and every one of those immigrants went through some kind of process that informed them of our history, helped them learn our common language and basically helped them to blend into society and be able to move up the ladder, not stay at the level they entered the country at. I am a native-born citizen (three generations from the boat that brought my ancestors over from Germany), but my wife is a naturalized citizen originally from Canada. She, you would find, is even more adamant about it than I that the citizenship process continue as it is at least [for] the most part. People do not get ahead by keeping their own language and resisting the common language of a country, it's basically a hold-back that people use on minorities.
… I see and admire the work ethic of the Hispanic workers around our area and have considered using H2B, but have been able to fill my needs with local labor even if it wasn't perfect timing from time to time. I hope with promotion of the possibilities of our industry that we can interest more people in an admirable, enjoyable career and keep more labor in U.S. citizens, and if the hard-working Hispanics or any other ethnic group can work as hard at learning more about our culture and history and language, I would gladly hire them as citizens as well. I just feel that the reason people want to be in the [United States] is freedom and opportunity, and that comes with a price — that price is a regimented citizenship process, not a giveaway. A giveaway cheapens being a citizen and cheapens everything any U.S. soldier has fought for!
Thomas L. Wambaugh, PCH; CLP
I read in the paper that [illegal immigrants] might have voted in last week's elections, and oh, what an outcry. But judging from the record low turnouts at the polls, I say let 'em. Someone's got to make electoral decisions for us, since apparently, citizens don't want to. Perhaps those who've crawled through mud and dodged vigilantes to get here will actually appreciate the privilege.
Hello, I just got to read the May 2006 edition of Grounds Maintenance when I came across your wonderful editorial.
If I can, here's my two cents even if it's a bit late.
I have been encouraging flea market vendors that still sell those NYPD caps that the latest craze in fashion headwear are INS caps. Just a few of these being worn at the many construction sites along the Grand Strand in South Carolina would scare away a lot of [illegal immigrants] who would work for lower wages than [Americans] who rightfully need the work.
…Now ask yourself this: Just how many of those Congressmen and Senators that talk about stopping [illegal immigrants] from entering the country belong to country clubs that practice in the hiring of those who work for less wages ? I already see it at the county and municipal government level and they don't care either.
… My opinions: It should be illegal to sneak into this country. It should be illegal to hire [illegal immigrants]. I don't think just because you are born in this country to illegal [immigrants] you are an American. Illegal [immigrants] do not have rights under our laws.
…If we give all these people amnesty, they will suddenly have the rights and the courage to either quit doing the jobs Americans won't do, or will strike for better conditions. Then who will do the work that Americans won't do? More illegal [immigrants], of course. It will never stop.
…The current immigrant quota for Mexico is about 900,000 per year. That's more in quotas than all the rest of the world combined! Green Cards? Well, consider [that] about 40 to 50 percent of [our illegal immigrants] are Green Card holders. They came in legally, and have never gone back. A guest worker program will never work.
…Yes, how do you tell people waiting across the border that they were fools for doing it illegally?
…You don't “send” [illegal immigrants] home if you hit the employers hard who hire them.
Dennis J English, CMfgE (Ret.)
Coal Valley, Ill.
While I don't have room to print all of the responses, these are very representative of what readers had to say. I didn't hear from a single person who is satisfied with the current, nor proposed, system of immigration. And the e-mails overwhelmingly endorsed a system that punished/fined those people who hire undocumented workers. If you support current legislation for immigration reform, I'd like to hear your viewpoint, too. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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