Letters to the Editor
Oposing Starvation Wages For Illegal Immigrants Is Not "Nativism".
Dr. Philip Rosen unfairly accuses opponents and critics of current immigration legislation as "nativists." His arguments for uncontrolled immigration ignore
observations by Paul Krugman and others, that the periods of uncontrolled immigration Rosen cites were equally periods when labor rights were trampled, when immigrants were conscripted unknowingly upon arrival for the Union forces, when industry (instead of being dismantled by globalization) was actually being built on new technologies of Bessemer, Bell, and Morse, and when open lands were available for settlement to new immigrants.
Our immigration policy must not be the dumping ground for poor foreign policy and foreign aid choices, which impoverished our neighbors as well as our middle class. Our devolution from the time of the Marshall Plan, and of the Alliance for Progress, to the selfish zero-sum Republican view of "School for Scoundrels" should not be an excuse to further impoverish our national heritage -- either by forming an apartheid immigrant underclass of rotating "guest workers" or by lowering demand for high-skilled jobs at home, by allowing employers to certify that imported "Z-visa" workers on starvation wages could not have their positions filled by qualified Americans who insist on rewards for their knowledge, and benefits for their families.
Rosen's appeal to the time of our open past simply refuses to acknowledge historical differences between now and then. When my maternal great-great grandfather in 1856 traveled up the Mississippi from New Orleans to Dubuque, he took great risks selling supplies to lead miners in Galena, in an unknown land, with little or no regulation, creating his own markets in untravlled paths. Immigrants today approach well-defined opportunities, with an industry of coyotes which smuggles them into this country (which even the President acknowledges). By the standards of today's Immigration
and Naturalization Service, he might have been illegal, but there were no laws then to restrict him or his enterprise. Today's immigrants have neither the freedom of the law or the enterprise opportunities of that time. Attempting to equate these two eras is specious, employer-friendly exploitation of innocent poverty-stricken victims.
-- Ben Burrows, Elkins Park, PA
Globalization puts us at the mercy of others nations.
This country is in a frantic push to "globalize" out industry, our commerce, and our jobs. The belief is that we will benefit because we will be able to buy everything more cheaply, which is equated with that holiest of holy grails: "efficiency". What no one seems to realize that this is a fatal blunder from a strategic viewpoint.
We are already at the mercy of other countries; we need their oil, their manufacturing capacities and their money. If we wanted to mobilize today, as we did for World
War II, we couldn't; hell, we couldn't even supply uniforms for our soldiers. The entire textile industry has been shipped overseas. We are already dependent on countries that look at us as patsies and suckers, as well as coveting everything we have. So now we should give them the opportunity to decide our future? If we have to go hat -in-hand to China to ask for tank parts, what do you think they will do? They will look at us and decide that we are fruit ripe for picking, that is what. Or else they will tell us whom we can have as friends and whom we should avoid.
We also know that any confidential information we need to give them, so that they build our purchases will now belong to them too. We know they steal whatever they can. So now Bush objects to a bill in Congress that would require all military purchases be made in the U.S. I guess we should hand-deliver our military and technical secrets to them?
Should we trust any foreign nations? Sure, as far as we can control them, which is not very far. We have been bitten time and time again by trusting other nations, and we have apparently not learned a damn thing.
This administration keeps telling us that we need to be alert for terrorists, but how alert is it to put our military at the mercy of other, not very friendly nations? Somebody needs to start worrying about the strategic, long-term consequences of our actions, not only for short term advantage, but I see no hint of this in the White House today.
-- Werner Zimmt, Tucson, AZ
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