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Dear Editor:

This is to respond to some of the letters that have appeared opposing legalization of people who have been in the United States illegally.

Our immigration system is entirely created by Congress, which has not considered honestly the labor and family reunification needs of our country, but has instead responded to political pressures of the moment. This has resulted in special programs for nationals of particular countries, and limits on immigration that are too low, thus creating a process with long delays. In addition, until the 2000 budget, the service functions of the INS were funded solely by user fees. Only the Border Patrol and jail facilities received money from U.S. tax funds. At the same time, Congress passed measures greatly increasing the workload of INS applications and adjudications sections.

Also, in designing the system, Congress has taken for granted that we will always have a large number of undocumented workers, especially Mexican workers, in the United States, and that they will provide the labor needed by countless U.S. businesses, even though both the workers and the businesses then have to break the law in order to function. In fact the U.S. economy, and all of us in the U.S. depend on the labor of immigrants, many of them illegal. Our food supply, our restaurant and hospitality industries, scientific research, many of the departments in colleges and universities, are just a few examples of sectors dependent on work done by foreigners in the U.S. and fees paid by them. Most people in the U.S. do not know or accept how dependent on foreign workers we are. But in many cases, there is no legal way to employ the foreign workers one needs. Many foreign workers who have provided labor for U.S. businesses, often under conditions that are very harsh, have been forced to endure long separations from their families parents unable to see their children for many years. This is a cruel system.

The writer who stated that U.S. citizens cannot be deported is sadly mistaken. In many cases, current law does not allow a court even to consider hardship to U.S. citizen children should a parent be deported. Sometimes courts have stated that deportation of the parents of U.S. citizen children is not a hardship to the children because the parents have the option of leaving the children in the U.S.

We need a system that deals honestly with the labor and family needs of people in the United States.

Carolyn Ann Killea