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Immigration Controversy

In “Think Tank Study Determines Immigrants an Economic Plus” (Feb. 23), the issue of “legal” immigration, which I support, must be distinguished from “illegal” immigration of people, who have no legitimate right to be here and thus should not, and cannot, without bleeding public coffers dry, be afforded any of the benefits of our society.

As a long-time resident of Los Angeles, I believe our undocumented immigrant population is vastly underreported; it is much closer to or perhaps even more than the one-third of the immigrant population that the Huddle study says is illegal. Further, as opposed to Jeffrey Passel’s study, Donald Huddle’s study reporting that immigrants deflate federal, state and local economies is, to the best of my knowledge, untainted by the support of any special interest group.

JANIS KLINGER

Sherman Oaks

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You’re shedding light in the wrong direction when you support the Clinton Administration’s $540-million-plus initiative, which includes money for 400 more Border Patrol agents and more border lights (“Humane and Necessary Border Control,” editorial, Feb. 4). “Throwing money at problems along the border won’t make them go away,” the editorial states. I agree, and money alone cannot stop this human flow.

As citizens of the U.S. we can help stem this tide if we will address the root causes forcing immigration and work to effect change in Washington with regard to our sometimes nefarious involvement in foreign countries. I refer to our history of supporting oppressive Latin American governments with U.S. tax dollars.

Governments such as those of Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala have lived by policies well known to suppress free elections and public opinion. The vast majority of people living in these countries are silenced by the threat of torture, even death inflicted by their government’s omnipresent military and death squads. One does not challenge such governments unless willing to incur the consequences. Consequently there continues to exist widespread poverty, disease and illiteracy amid unsafe and filthy working conditions underscored by scandalous pay.

I cannot help but think that if we understood our nation’s complicity in these heinous crimes against humanity we would demand they cease. I know that if I lived with my family under such intolerable conditions, I would risk the trip north; wouldn’t you?

SUZY MARKS

Los Angeles

In response to “California Can’t Keep Paying This Tab,” editorial, Feb. 9:

President Clinton in 1993 gave California its full allotment of federal immigration funds, the first President in more than a decade to do so.

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The $2.3 billion Gov. Pete Wilson is demanding in federal funds is for accumulated immigration costs that went unpaid under Presidents Reagan and Bush. Curiously, then-Sen. Wilson made no demands for these unpaid California funds, and at the very time immigration costs in this state were escalating.

It would appear that, with a Democrat in the White House, Gov. Wilson has suddenly discovered the power of the presidency.

LYNN BAILEY

Placentia

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