Tuesday, June 08, 2004

News Sentinel | 06/08/2004 | Learn about problems to know �immigrants�

News Sentinel | 06/08/2004 | Learn about problems to know �immigrants�

Posted on Tue, Jun. 08, 2004

Learn about problems to know ‘immigrants’

Rev. Phillip G. Ley is in no position to lecture us about “knowing our immigrants” before he has first taken the time to learn the other issues associated with our dysfunctional immigration policy ("Know our immigrants before sounding off," Guest Column, May 14).

To begin with, we are not talking about “immigrants” but illegal aliens who have depressed the wages of our own working poor and the lower middle class and, in many cases, taken their jobs. Before their unions were broken during the 1980s, many of our citizens earned decent wages as meatpackers, poultry processors, drywall installers, janitors and construction workers.

Where is Rev. Ley’s compassion for these Americans? Are only the foreign-born, particularly those here illegally, now entitled to “search for a better life”?

It is blatantly false to say cheap immigrant labor is responsible for holding down prices on many food items. According to a University of California-Davis study, farm worker wages represent only about 10 percent of the retail price of certain crops. Without illegal workers in the fields, wages would gradually increase and help eliminate poverty among those here legally.

Even if wages doubled, what would that mean for a head of lettuce costing $1? Another 10 cents added to the price? Who couldn’t live with that? Has Rev. Ley forgotten that Cesar Chavez fought against illegal immigration because of what it was doing to the lives of those he was trying to help?

The “cheap” labor Rev. Ley says “benefits” us all is far from cheap. Each year, American taxpayers pay more for the free public school education and medical care given to those here illegally. Other “benefits” of mass immigration, which in reality is an unfunded federal mandate for forced population growth, are urban sprawl, traffic congestion, crowded schools, loss of open space and farmland to development, crime and skyrocketing health care costs. When the church openly aids and abets illegal aliens, how much of its own money is being used to educate their children or pay their medical bills?

Finally, Rev. Ley must be reading different newspapers and listening to different TV news anchors than the rest of us, because coverage of the immigration issue is anything but fair and objective. Today’s journalists are unfamiliar with the notion of critical thinking and have abandoned the basic rule of journalism that requires a news story to include both sides of an issue. According to many reporters, who sound more like editorial writers, illegal aliens are “victims” worthy of “respect.”

And don’t expect to see in any of these stories the question of who is picking up the tab for an immigration policy that encourages thousands from around the world every year to come here and thumb their noses at the rule of law.


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