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Dear Editor:
In regards to the letter from Lynne Barrows of 12/24/03, I guess my letter of 12/23/03 wasn't clear. I wasn't trying to make a link between illegal workers and national security. I was trying to point out to Mr.Randolph that, in my humble opinion, probably none of the "9/11" hijackers was ever in a legal status. They may have had documents issued by the "legacy" INS, but they were obtained through fraud. In response to Ms. Barrows' letter I was merely trying to say that we could survive without illegal labor if we wished to do so. I'm not sure where Ms. Barrows got the figure of ..."14,000 migrant workers" employed in Maine in 2002, but I assume that includes people from Maine and from other states who fall under the definition of "migrant", not necessarily "immigrant". That includes the native-born who come for, or move around in Maine for, the blueberry, potato and apple harvests, for example. According to the Office of Policy Planning of the old INS, in January of 2003 Maine had slightly fewer that 2,500 illegal aliens. I just don't see them when I go to hotels, restaurants, stores or whatever. (Yes, it's possible I might not recognize them all, but after almost 27 years with INS, I can recognize a fair percentage of them.) We're surviving without large numbers of them. It can be done. Ms. Barrows also asks, rhetorically I guess, "What other solution is there?" than to "legitimize" the lives of the illegal aliens here or to devise an "employment based permit" system for them. It seems to me that there are a number of "solutions" but probably few that would appeal to Ms. Barrows. I realize that we're not going to deport all the illegal aliens in the country, but I don't think that knowledge is sufficient justification to "legitimize" all those who are here illegally. Having worked on the border in 1986 when the first amnesty was granted, I have little confidence that a new amnesty or legitimization or whatever you want to call it will solve the problem. I'd be much more willing to talk about some limited amnesty or whatever after the borders are secure. If we don't secure the borders, we'll be having the same discussion in ten or fifteen years when there is another 8 to 12 million illegals aliens in the country.And does this "legitimization" process include background checks and physical exams of all those who are legitimized? If so, who's going to do that? DHS is no more equipped to do several million background checks and process several million applications than INS was; it's basically the same outfit with a new name. The polls say that I'm in the majority, but if we're ever going to reach a "solution" to the immigration mess both "sides" have to admit that the other side has some valid points and try to find some middle ground.

John H. Frecker
Baileyville, ME