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Dear Editor:

I believe I understood Mr. Yates' point in his letter to Immigration Daily 04/19/2002 all too well. He repeats his argument that our legal immigration system does not let immigrants easily obtain work in the US. To which I reply, why should it?? He later goes on to talk about all the workers who lack formal education and couldn't easily obtain work here, or how they wouldn't get jobs "sight unseen". He seems to be implying that these workers should have ready access to jobs here, and that not having it "forces" them into illegal entry. He also ignores the negative impact illegal workers have on the work opportunities of recent (legal) immigrants and low-skilled citizens. A recent LA Times article noted the widespread difficulty that young Latino men (citizens, who speak English and have high school diplomas) are having getting entry-level jobs in part because illegal immigrants will work for less. Finally, the family reunification program allows many uneducated and unskilled workers entry to the US, if they have a family member to sponsor them.

As for his contention that developing countries don't have widespread internet and telecommunications availability--it's ironic, but actually adoption of these proceeds more quickly in developing societies because they do not require extensive investment in infrastructure. When I was in Turkey and the Middle East, my students were far more familiar with cell phones and the internet than I was--if they didn't own a PC themselves, there were public PCs they could use for e-mail, web surfing etc. In fact, just last week, I was reading where, in Honduras, internet phone calls are catching on and where public facilities for making them are a business opportunity, much in the way public phone booths operate. True, not everyone has access, but then, we have a lot of class differences in internet usage in the US. By the way, I got my current job, paying a very nice salary, using only the internet to apply, and a couple of brief (less than half hour ) phone interviews. So, some employers do, in fact, hire sight unseen.

Ali Alexander


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