I agree with Mr. Frecker, a self avowed "immigration restrictionist", who wrote in his recent letter that we must try to compromise and reach a national consensus on immigration.
I have agreed with Mr. Frecker before, notably when he wrote back on January 17, 2002, referring to the undocumented Mexican immigrants: "The vast majority of them [sic. Mexicans] are honest hard-working people who are coming here to make a decent living, which they apparently canít do in Mexico."
Somewhere between the total ban of unskilled laborers from the South and an "open border" there must be room for compromise. The border must be controllable like a dam. Even the strongest of dams canít hold back the water if the pressure becomes too great. In a well constructed dam there is a mechanism for relief, the sluice gate At the border, pressures will be lessened if there is a "sluice gate", a relief valve that permits the legal entrance of unskilled workers into our country to relieve the pressures of demand. It is the total ban of unskilled laborers that causes the "dam" to rupture in places.
I believe that compromise can be achieved in the matter of reducing the number of undocumented workers in our country. It has been estimated that the simple expedient of revoking the 1996 3-10 year ban law would result in the return to their homeland within one or two years of over two thirds of the Mexican workers. These workers just donít want to burn their bridges behind them. The ban law serves no purpose other than punishment.
When some leave others will take their place and some who leave will come back, but a realistic immigration law (a safety valve, a "sluice gate" if you will) will allow it all to be done in a controllable manner.
Of those immigrants who stay, there will be some will want to become American citizens. If they fulfill all of the prerequisites of becoming a citizen, let them. We should be able to compromise here, too.
With each step and with each compromise, immigration becomes more manageable.
Of the undocumented immigrants yet remaining, a compromise solution should be sought. Mass deportation is unmanageable. We must find a way to bring these workers out of the shadows, identify them and bring them into the community.
Gary Endelman proposed an "Earned Legalization" plan. It is a positive plan. I support this plan until someone can come up with a better one. Can we compromise here? Punishment for having violated the law is not a solution. To deport a minuscule few that gets caught in the web to be devoured by INS does nothing other than to satisfy the revenge of the person(s) who reported them.
What other compromises can we make?
Richard E. Baer
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