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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about immigration reform and life in poverty.

February 14, 2008

Immigration reform is needed on several fronts

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Regarding the Feb. 11 commentary, "Why immigration reform will have to wait": The author describes a very contentious debate about immigration in the United States but fails to mention the role of highly skilled foreigners.

Only 65,000 highly skilled foreign workers are allowed into the US each year, which is a paltry sum compared with labor demands from American high-tech firms. Highly skilled workers are allowed in under company-sponsored H-1B visas and have to work for the same company for the six-year duration of their visa. The restriction and low cap on the number of highly skilled workers is taking its toll on American industry.

One-fifth of Silicon Valley firms were started by foreign skilled workers. If American firms are to continue to best foreign competition, they need the high-skilled labor to do it. Whether that labor comes from Indiana or India is irrelevant; what matters is that American businesses are given access to all the resources and skilled labor at their disposal.

Alex Nowrasteh
Research associate
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Regarding the Feb. 11 commentary on immigration reform: Polls show that about two-thirds of Americans consistently support giving undocumented immigrants a chance to become full members of our society. Deporting 12 million people is not only unfeasible, it is immoral.

The author makes it sound as if the only people who care about this are self-interested, either for more votes or cheap labor. What about those of us who have come to know these immigrants in our workplaces and our churches? We know that they are hardworking, faithful members of our society who deserve a chance at the American dream just like our ancestors had.

There's no denying that we need a secure border, but this article has a pretty low opinion of our ability as Americans to reject policies of exclusion and to reclaim our identity as a welcoming nation.

Patty Kupfer

Larger issues surround real poverty

Regarding the Feb. 11 article, "Starting from scratch": Adam Shepard's success in going from homeless to self-supporting is commendable. It proves that a healthy, well-educated, young Caucasian male with self-discipline and good communication skills can still earn enough money to reach modest goals. To judge relatively unhealthy, poorly educated individuals who lack a backup credit card – and emergency exit strategy – according to the same standards, and expect them to go and do likewise is probably unfair.

Philip Cheney
Anderson, S.C.