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Opinion

Opinion: Forget a DACA fix. Congress should take up the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate in 2013

Immigration Activists Protest On Capitol Hill Calling On Congress To Pass Clean Dream Act
Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protest outside the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 6, 2017.
(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

To the editor: Victor Davis Hanson claims that for both Democrats and Republicans, the Dreamer fight is “a fig leaf used to mask their true intentions.” He asserts that Democrats are not interested in broader immigration reform — they only want to expand their voting base — and that pre-Trump Republicans have historically only been interested in cheap, foreign labor, and have not been committed to any kind of permanent solution. (“What the ‘Dreamer’ fight is really about,” Opinion, Jan. 14)

Astonishingly, Hanson completely ignores the comprehensive and bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 with 68 votes. It committed billions of dollars to enhanced border security, adopted a merit-based points system for new immigrants and provided law-abiding undocumented immigrants (including Dreamers) a path to citizenship.

The bill probably would have passed the House if Republican leaders had allowed a vote. Congress should revive the 2013 bill and have a vote this time.

Spike Kaplansky, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Hanson presents his article as based on facts and statistics, but his attempt to portray the situation as at a crisis point is misleading.

He writes that the 46.6 million foreign-born people in the United States is the “highest number in American history,” and this number is “about four times greater than the number of immigrants living in any other nation on Earth.”

While that number is correct, a recent Pew Research Center immigrant report shows those “absolute numbers don’t tell the whole story.” Pew points out that “only 14% of the country’s population is foreign born. This immigrant share is considerably lower than that in several Persian Gulf countries. … Moreover, top destination countries like Australia (28% foreign born) and Canada (22% foreign born) have much larger immigrant shares of their total population than the U.S.”

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Hanson says the media’s sympathetic treatment of the Dreamers “lacks subtlety”; the same could be said of his own description of a “massive, illegal and nondiverse influxes of foreign nationals” into the U.S.

Joseph Puterbaugh, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Thanks to Hanson for his insightful article about this much debated topic.

As a recent immigrant from Germany — a country “like Norway” — and a thankful recipient of a green card, I always wondered what might have kept Dreamers from undergoing the process I went through recently.

I had to demonstrate that I could take care of myself, was healthy and promise that I would abide by this country’s law. The process took about eight months and cost some $3,000 in fees.

I think that this is something Dreamers could do too.

Michael Esser, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Hanson claims that the reason Democrats favor continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is that Dreamers, one day elevated to legal status and eventual citizenship, would vote Democratic. He also asserts that Democrats don’t want to do anything about illegal immigration because they’re hoping those people will become “future constituents” too.

These points are unfounded. Hanson has no research to rely upon that looks into the motivation of Democratic politicians.

His statistics on DACA participants are similarly flawed. Newsweek reported on a survey that showed 72% of DACA participants were enrolled in higher education. In the same survey, 90% reported they were employed. While only 22% of DACA recipients are under age 25 now, a majority of them were under the age of 7 when they arrived in the U.S. prior to 2007, according to a UC San Diego study.

Hanson’s baseless provocation should not have found its way onto the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times.

Dennis J. Aigner, Laguna Beach

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