The Economics of Prop. 187

The editorial ``Punishing Immigrants,'' Nov. 3, states that California's Proposition 187, ``tells Hispanics - and by extension, other non-Anglos - that they are not wanted in California.'' This is not true. I am a Hispanic who grew up in Arizona, Mexico, and Texas. I, and all my family, are native-born American citizens of Hispanic heritage. I do not feel that Proposition 187 tells me, my father, or my sisters or brothers that we are not wanted in California or any part of the Southwest.

People are often surprised to learn that millions of Hispanics oppose illegal immigration. Many Hispanics support Prop. 187. Are we telling ourselves that we are not wanted in this country? We support measures to slow illegal immigration, which you correctly state is an important public concern. It is a concern that the elites of this country have not chosen to address adequately.

California (and the rest of the Southwest) cannot continue to bear the cost of illegal immigration. We Hispanic citizens want what every US citizen wants. We want a decent education for our children.

In New Mexico, teachers average $18,000 less than teachers in Connecticut (a low immigration state). The per-capita income in New Mexico is $11,000 below that of Connecticut. Of course many factors account for these differences, but one important factor is the magnitude of illegal-immigration costs.

Through Prop. 187, many Hispanic citizens join with others in sending the message: The problem of illegal immigration must be solved. M. Elizabeth Hernandez, Las Cruces, N.M.

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