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Dear Editor:

"But these people pay taxes!" "They pay taxes!" That's the mantra of those who support and want to justify illegal immigration. Many of your recent letters to the editor parrot this line. But is paying taxes sufficient to gain legal status in this country? If that's so, why don't we begin selling permanent residence as part of our immigration laws? Come to think of it, we already have such a program, the investor visa program where wealthy aliens can invest $1 million to get green cards, But, of course, that's always attacked as being favoritism to the rich.

What the public (and many of my fellow immigration lawyers) have to understand is that the illegals' contributions to society may be far less than what they cost society. That is an issue the illegal-immigration sympathizers won't touch because it's too painful. Illegals and their children take in far more services than they pay in taxes. The majority of illegals make very low wages, perhaps in the range of $10,000 per year. At that level, they pay very low taxes if any. And those are the ones who even bother to file taxes. The services the illegals require which we, the rest of taxpayers, have to fund are far greater than what they pay into the system. I'm talking about health care, food stamps, rent supplements, legal services, general welfare, etc. Not only do they consume far more in government services than they pay in taxes, they are a main reason America must build new schools and hire more teachers, indefinitely. In California, illegals from Mexico and Central America have numerous babies, and go to public facilities to deliver them because they can't afford to pay for it. These costs add up for taxpayers. Illegal immigrants have become the principal propellants of the growth of the welfare state.

Michael D., Esq.