Readers Write: How to stop illegal immigration; 'Sequester' is hurting criminal justice

Letters to the Editor for the April 22 & 29, 2013 weekly print issue: It's fair to say that if there were no hiring of illegal immigrants, none would come. Sweeping federal spending cuts are having a devastating effect on the criminal-justice system and its ability to carry out constitutional mandates.

How to stop illegal US immigration

Regarding the March 11 Focus story "Is the border secure?": Fences will not stop illegal immigration to the United States. And many illegal immigrants come in legally on tourist visas and then stay. One of the major reasons illegal immigration exists is because business owners want to maximize profit by lowering labor costs – much like slavery in the past. It's fair to say that if there were no hiring of illegal immigrants, none would come.

The US can curb illegal immigration with laws similar to those that stopped the dumping of hazardous wastes in ditches. First, employers must be assessed large fines for hiring illegal immigrants. And there must be jail time if the employer knew the employee was in the US illegally. Second, there must be large fines for companies (hotels, agribusiness, etc.) that hire subcontractors who use illegal immigrants. And there must be jail time if those companies knew the subcontractors had hired illegal immigrants. Last, the US must implement large rewards for information leading to fines for and conviction of those who hire illegal immigrants.

Stopping illegal immigration comes down to a single question: Are we willing to go after the businesses that hire illegal immigrants?

Charles Forsberg

Lexington, Mass.

'Sequester' is hurting criminal justice

Your thoughtful March 18 Briefing, "After the 'sequester,' now what?," like most news coverage, failed to mention the likely devastating impact of these sweeping federal spending cuts on the criminal-justice system. Courts, prosecutors, and public defenders are all being affected.

To take one example, the federal defenders program in New York City will be forced to furlough every employee for more than five weeks before the end of September. However one feels about criminal defendants (and some are actually innocent), they are all constitutionally entitled to adequate legal representation. We'll see if they get it.

Fredrick Vars

Associate professor

The University of Alabama School of Law

Homewood, Ala.

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