Readers React: Why a ‘nation of immigrants’ still needs strong immigration laws

Immigrants from Europe sit in the registry room at Ellis Island in New York Harbor in 1924.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Your July 4 editorial on our nation’s history of immigration going back to its founding said, “We need to remember the benefits of immigration.”

I agree, but we also need to remember that not all immigration is beneficial. Thus, we have immigration laws because we know open borders would do much more harm than good. It is this side of the equation that those on the left seek to ignore, and that is why they muddy the waters by equating legal and illegal immigration.

If we feel we should allow in more immigrants, then we should change our laws accordingly. But the left cannot convince enough Americans to change the law. This undermining of our rule of law undermines America.

P.J. Gendell, Beverly Hills



To the editor: Thank you for the splendid editorial about the fundamental importance of immigration in our nation’s history as a way of commemorating the Fourth of July. How appropriate, not only for our country but for the city of Los Angeles to celebrate this remarkable part of our national story.

I’d like to offer the history of my mother’s family as part of the story.

My Italian-born grandparents came to Los Angeles in the early 1920s with their five children. My grandfather had a law degree from Syracuse University, but he found it difficult to support his family until he got to the City of Angels. Most of his children took advantage of the public schools, and two of UCLA, to build lives.


In their old age my grandparents moved to Pacoima, and my grandfather used his legal background to give citizenship training to Mexican immigrants in the neighborhood. He was profoundly patriotic, and thus he wanted to pass on the benefits he had received to newer immigrants.

The steady stream of those seeking help is a vivid childhood memory, and my only regret is that I didn’t understand what this meant at the time.

Glenna Matthews, Laguna Beach

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