Readers Respond to My Immigration Essay
By Matt Abbott
I received the following e-mails in response to my essay, “Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Given Legal Status” (www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=1418).
One reader wrote:
“First off, I have to let you know that I've enjoyed your articles in the past and have agreed with you on everything - until now.
“Obviously, you don't live in California. I understand [Mexican immigrants] wanting to come over here. However, we cannot support everybody in the world coming over here. They cost California taxpayers 5 billion dollars a year. The Feds do nothing to secure our borders. Our schools are among the worst in the nation, largely due to the fact that nobody speaks English.
“They aren't checking their culture at the door, such as my grandparents did when they immigrated here 80 years ago. They wanted my parents to speak English and melt in the pot. They were proud to be known as ‘Americans.’ These people unfortunately, have no such desires. They fly the Mexican flag, not the red, white and blue. They want to re-create Mexico here. That's exclusionary. It excludes me, for instance.
“I have Mexican friends who are very much a part of the American culture, but these people are not interested in that. They are only here to take, take, take. We can't afford it. My family's future is being drained away to support them. If I were Bill Gates, that might be a different story, but we are struggling ourselves to put our children in a Catholic school (which we pay out of our pocket - no grants or even tax write-offs) and try to pay our bills and put something away for retirement. (Now they even want our Social Security.)
“These people are [illegal immigrants]. If you don't like it, change the law. In Los Angeles County, the hospitals are so over-run with [illegal immigrants] that six of them have closed in the past eight months. Nobody pays any bills. If you'd like to contribute, I'm sure we start a fund and you can be the first to pony up a few thousand.
“I haven't even mentioned the terrorists that are entering through our so-called borders. When the next attack occurs and innocent people die, it will be on the heads of our do-nothing government. It's one thing to love them as brothers and sisters in Christ - which I do - but they need to stay home and improve their own country. If they all move here, it will only bring ours down as well.”
Another reader wrote:
“I wish I had more time to respond to your opinion piece point by point, but I do not at this time, so will just try to make a few points.
“I live on the southern Arizona border and am fourth generation here. I have nine grandchildren, all of whom are half-Hispanic. I love the Mexican culture and have no prejudice toward [the Mexicans].
“However, whether legal or illegal, no society can absorb the numbers of Mexicans coming across the border. It is too many, too fast, and the Catechism tells us that a host country should welcome immigrants to the extent it is able.
“They do not contribute as much as they take. No one can live on the unjust wages they are paid, so they resort to theft and drug dealing. They are driving down wages and increasing the profits of the greedy corporations and wealthy contractors who exploit them. The stats back this up and I have personal knowledge about this.
“They have broken our health care system. They are destroying our land with garbage; and many, if not most, Mexicans will not wait to come over legally. They will continue with the status quo because we are not willing to go to the root of problems.
“The Mexican culture is suffering from loss of their workers; families from their men.
“The solution is not to give illegal immigrants legality, to reward law-breakers. The solution is [to put] political pressure on the [Mexican President Vincente Fox] government from our government to affect lasting and humane change.
“A Peace Corps-like program to teach medical procedures (this has been done and is successful) so that Mexicans do not flood our hospitals out of operation would help solve the health issue. Such a program could help Mexicans develop their own resources.
“Everyone is terrified to take on Fox and the oligarchs down there. Sadly, I believe that positions like yours help them to stay in their exploitive positions.
“Thank you for your time.”
Catholic, Abbott, immigration
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