Immigration: Not Just a Big-City Issue

The article "Small-Town America as Ellis Island" (June 30) about immigrants flooding into small, Midwestern towns shows that immigration is not just a big-city problem. Immigration costs Americans billions of dollars a year and is the main cause of the population growth that is destroying our environment.

A study by Prof. Donald Huddle of Rice University reported that immigration cost us $68 billion last year alone, after deducting any taxes immigrants paid. That amount will increase every year as more immigrants arrive and have more children.

The US Census Bureau predicts that our population of 267 million will almost double to around 500 million in the next 50 years. Ninety percent of that increase will be a result of immigration since 1970. Immigration and population growth will not stop in 2050 but will go on surging upward from that higher base unless we act now to stabilize our population through financial incentives and disincentives to reduce the birth rate plus a reduction of immigration to no more than replacement level.

Thomas P. McKenna

Montpelier, Vt.

Paying for havens

After reading the opinion piece on schools staying open later, "An After-School Haven Needed" (July 3), I found myself asking the familiar question, "Who will pay?" We seem to be talking more and more about asking schools to do more. This is not new.

The article would have held my interest if it addressed how society can pay for the demands made on schools as parents relinquish traditional responsibilities such as after-school supervision. The proposals are very expensive. Teachers are frequently asked to extend their school day with conferences, meetings, open house, committees, and curriculum work. Will we ask them to do even more for less? When do teachers and those who work in education spend time with their families? As a teacher I typically spend 3-to-5 hours a day, outside of the school day, on job-related responsibilities.

In a time of budget surpluses I have seen no move to increase spending on school programs. I have only heard of tax cuts and taxpayer relief. These ideas may have great merit, but that is no guarantee that the public will see fit to fund them.

Elizabeth Reichart


Learning from the Civil War

"How Civil War Generals Thought and Fought" (June 18), the review of "The Last Full Measure" by Jeff Shaara, included fresh thoughts for Civil War buffs. Whether Lincoln remained open to compromise in the last days of the war is still unknown; the review, however, implies that there could have been an earlier end to the war.

Sometimes Civil War buffs are ridiculed for bringing up these events. But consider the concluding sentence of the review, "This conflict still has something to teach us." It alerts the public to remember one of the costliest mistakes the US has ever made. Settling disputes by war instead of negotiation is barbaric, crude, insane, and serves no good purpose. There is no such thing as a "just" or "good" war.

Henry G. Rutledge

Davis, Calif.

Correction: Chalk it up to the perils of reporting by telephone, or maybe we're not getting to the theater as often as we might, but in a recent "Whatever Happened to...?" column (June 18) we misplaced actor Erik Estrada. He was not "on tour in Greece," as we alleged. He was, however, on tour in "Grease," the musical. If the production ever makes it to the Mediterranean, then we'll claim foresight.

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