To the editor: I agree with The Times' call for "a congressional fix to make the system more humane … by granting relief to many who have lived and worked in the country for years." ("It's time for Congress to agree on a humane immigration solution," Editorial, Jan. 1)
I am one of those immigrants. I have been here for about 20 years, and my husband has been here for roughly 30. We pay taxes, we don't ask for government for help like welfare and we don't have medical insurance.
We behave like good citizens even if we came here without authorization. We broke the law — we understand that — but we are not a family that came to this country to live off government help. We came to work, which is something many Americans don't understand.
Karina Rodriguez, Anaheim
To the editor: Your editorial makes a number of reasonable points about the costs of deporting those in the U.S. illegally. Nonetheless, this puts the cart before the horse.
The first thing that needs to be done is to secure the border. Second is to beef up the federal government's E-Verify system so that employers have no excuse to hire illegal immigrants. After these two things are done, the details of dealing with those who are here can be reasonably and humanely tackled.
The 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act did not secure the border despite the stated intention to do so. The amnesty granted served as a magnet. We need not repeat this drill.
Michael Warder, Upland
To the editor: The reason deportation won't work is that we Americans, whether we admit it or not, are addicted to the cheap labor provided by illegal immigrants.
These are the people who mow our lawns, care for our children and parents, harvest and process our food, repair our homes, wash our dishes and contribute to a Social Security system they cannot benefit from. Their labor either makes us rich or reduces our cost of living. It is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Any meaningful discussion of immigration reform must begin by acknowledging this.
John Williams, Burbank
To the editor: The Times asserts that the deportation of illegal immigrants would be prohibitively expensive.
In 1986, nearly 3 million illegal immigrants received amnesty. Today we have about 11 million illegal immigrants living among us. Is it not reasonable to believe that granting amnesty to some 5 million such people now would lead to the presence of more than 25 million illegal immigrants by 2040?
It costs a great deal of money to take proper care of illegal immigrants — perhaps even more money than the cost of deporting them.
Herbert C. Haber, Northridge