Readers Share Their Views on the Immigration Issue[Editor's note: The letters below are in response toThe NEWS'special report on the immigration issue that appeared in the June 19 issue.]
Enter the U.S. Via Legal MeansMark Skaer hit the nail on the head when he accurately points out that the key word in the debate is "illegal." This is not a matter of pro-immigration vs. anti-immigration as many would have us believe. It is a matter of legal immigration vs. illegal immigration. No one living in the United States can put up much of an argument about immigration - we are, after all, a nation of immigrants. The issue is really about breaking the law.
There is a lot of talk about the state of our immigration policies, including the editorial by Mike Murphy, which raise some good points about the layers of bureaucracy associated with gaining citizenship. Although it is always possible to find individuals who get caught up in that bureaucracy and are wrongly detained, deported, or refused citizenship, those cases are not the norm. For every one of the problem cases, there are thousands who make it through successfully. Current immigration law may not be perfect, it can certainly be improved on, but it is still the law, and like any other law, must be enforced.
I know exactly what the process entails because my daughter-in-law is going through it. She came to the U.S. legally and wants to become a citizen. She and my son have spent the money for an immigration attorney (surprisingly affordable considering what is at stake), have filled out the mountains of paperwork, and are waiting for the proper documents and paperwork to be processed. It takes longer than it should and there is a financial investment, but it is possible and very doable. Having watched my son and daughter-in-law go through the time and expense of doing it the proper way, it is insulting when people want to excuse the behavior of individuals who illegally enter and stay in the United States.
Businesses Who Hire Are the ProblemThe real problem is not illegal immigrants but illegally run businesses. To pay an illegal immigrant, a business must cheat the entire tax system at all levels (federal, state, and county) and defraud the insurance system (business and Workers' Compensation). Additionally, these businesses undermine legitimate businesses that offer employee benefits such as medical, dental, paid vacations/holidays, and retirement plans.
Even giving employment visas to illegal immigrants will not stop the illegally run businesses from cheating the entire system. Honest businesses and their employees will still pay more taxes and higher insurance premiums because these illegally run businesses will not change their ethics.
So it's good that the illegal immigrant issue is in the national spotlight. Now the real problem has been exposed, the illegally run business. If all businesses operated legitimately, there wouldn't be an illegal immigration problem.
Weber & Grahn Conditioning Corp.
Hampton Bays, N.Y.
Immigration an Issue in HVACRThat [the immigration article section] was an excellent survey of what's obviously a big issue in the HVACR industry today. It continues to surprise me as to how tough are the attitudes of many Americans to Hispanic immigrants. The country's attitude is certainly "get tough on this."
Nice job and a leadership kudos to The NEWS on this!
It's Time for a ChangeThis is the best of the best thatThe NEWShas ever printed. I understand the volatile nature of the discussions within the United States surrounding immigration even though my country is Canada. Mike Murphy's and Steve Saunders' columns cut through the volumes of paper that this has and will generate.
Times they are a changin' and it's time to change once again. There is no simple answer and will likely not be one forthcoming, but like those before us, we need visionaries who can put forward their thoughts and processes without fear of being labeled un-American or something like that.
When I was involved in an international trade association, I wrote a short piece on the HVACR industry regarding Spanish-speaking peoples and how the industry and local chapters across the United States needed to wake up and deliver what the customer (Spanish-speaking technicians) wanted and needed: training in the Spanish language. The mail that I received was all negative and most very racist in its tone. People who come to Canada and the United States want desperately to learn and work to better themselves, and the association's answer was and remains to be to avoid the issue - if they want to learn, they can learn English.
Today it's changing. I see more companies producing texts in Spanish. Good for them for offering the customer what they want, and to all those manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors who are hiring and educating everyone in the same way they too would want to be educated. Congratulations!
As always, keep up the good work.
D. Brian Baker
Custom Vac Limited
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Publication date: 07/17/2006