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Dear Editor:
To Angie and her critics, right on sister - for having the courage to make that statement about this country having been built on the backs of those we enslaved and stole land from. As for literacy - well, focusing on the alleged illiteracy rate among the foreign born detracts our attention from the illiteracy rate among our native-born population, just like focusing on the cost of health care for the undocumented distracts us from the failure of our system to provide access to affordable health care for our own citizens and legal residents ( refer to the lip service paid to the topic in Bush's State of the Union address). The provision of free health care and other services to the undocumented may in fact be a huge problem and a drain on our economy, but I would like to see a more scientific study on the matter. For example, when we say "foreign born"in the Florida hospital treatment example, are we necessarily referring to the undocumented or illegal aliens? After all, Henry Kissinger was "foreign born". When we say "uninsured" - is it possible that they are uninsured because, although they work full-time, their employers don't provide health insurance? If so, who is really at fault? Furthermore, whenever we scapegoat immigrants for our economic ills, we forget about their immeasurable contributions. What about all the undocumented immigrants who pay taxes under false social security numbers and are never able to obtain the refunds owed to them? What about all the businesses that grow and prosper because they pay their workers a substandard wage with no vacation, sick days or other benefits Americans take for granted? What would Americans pay for a head of lettuce or a donut if it was picked or baked by their fellow countrymen with health coverage, paid vacation and a 401(k)? What would we pay to eat out if the busboys, dishwashers and prep cooks were Americans? Sure there are some geographic pockets in the U.S. where the cost of living is still reasonable enough that Americans can do these jobs and still afford to pay rent and run a car, but certainly not in the major cities or on either coast, and yet many immigrants manage to do it, and still have money to send home. Perhaps we should take home economics classes from them. To the critic of the H1B program, I would like you to know that the individual responsible for the watermark on the paper on which the U.S. dollar bill is printed was an Italian H1B, and is perhaps the foremost watermark specialist in the world. Do you think that eliminating the H1B program is going to enable Americans to master overnight an art that the Italians have been perfecting since the Renaissance? Another fact - one of the underground electrical superintendants on a massive east coast harbor tunnel project was a Brit, one of a handful of outstanding members of his trade in the world - and he was paid far less than the American union electricians he supervised. Think of it this way - for every highly skilled foreign worker employed strategically in a given company, hundreds of potential jobs may be created for American workers. After all, if the company loses its competitive edge, and the plant closes, everyone goes down, "American", "foreign-born" and "undocumented" alike. Shouldn't we rejoice that we can attract the best and the brightest in their fields from the four corners of the earth? Why don't the malcontents vent a little more of their frustration on the Enron-type criminals and corporate robber barons who export jobs and exploit workers? It's either that or accept the theory that corporate profit trickles down to benefit us all in the end and continue to grapple with the various unpleasant consequences.


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