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Dear Editor:

In his letter of February 13 Mr. Hake refers to "reputable" studies supporting the economic contribution of immigrants to the US economy, and says these justify "open borders." In fact, there are reputable studies which refute the contribution of immigrants to our economy, and which point out that most of the supposed benefits these immigrants provide go to themselves, not the US as a whole. In fact, one of Mr. Hake's "reputable" studies places the contribution of immigrants at $10 billion, insignificant in a multi-trillion dollar economy, and roughly the amount that Mexicans alone repatriated to Mexico last year from the US. In fact, ANY additional workers, native born or not, legal or not, "add" to the GNP--the question is, do they add more than they take. Unfortunately, it is becoming evident in immigrant-heavy states such as California that continuing to import large numbers of illegal immigrants or poorly educated and low-skilled legal immigrants is severely straining education and social welfare programs to the detriment not only of the immigrants, but of the native population as well.

I like Mr. Hake am a Democrat, but NOT a Catholic. I am also a unionist (with an MBA). Cesar Chavez himself opposed illegal immigration on the basis that an unending supply of labor helped to keep US wages down for the least skilled and the least powerful. Unending legal immigration has the same effect for virtually every level of ability.

Then, there are the social and cultural costs of importing large numbers of people and failing to assimilate them, which Mr. Hake ignores. My grandfather's country, Lebanon, fell apart due to jockeying for power between Muslims and Christians. This is an extreme, but possible, example of what can happen when cultures clash.

Ali Alexander