Congratulations, Malibu: You've forged a consensus on immigration, perhaps the most polarizing issue in politics today. Problem is, the agreement is on how bad you look.
Last week, the City Council of that seaside municipality voted to make its community a safe haven for immigrants fearing deportation under the Trump administration. Readers who reacted to a Times report on the Malibu vote weighed in not on the merits of so-called sanctuary policies that, among other things, prevent local police from working with federal immigration officials, but rather on some residents' expressed desire to continue having their domestic needs met by migrant labor.
Readers on all sides of the immigration debate found something not to like about this. Here are some of their letters.
Los Angeles resident David Goodwin bemoans an elite mentality:
Malibu resident Mikke Pierson perfectly displayed a Hollywood-elite kind of mentality in supporting the decision of Malibu to become a sanctuary city. He was quoted as saying, "We would be paralyzed and no one's houses would be cleaned."
There are a wide range of views on this issue. Crime, justice, respect for the law, the needs of innocent children, splitting up families, the cost of medical care for indigents — all of these factor into this complex issue. But only a Malibu resident would wonder who would clean his house.
And Hollywood wonders why people have contempt for the elite. And, yes, if this is your big concern, you are in the elite.
Chris Peterson of Valencia says immigrants do more than domestic work:
I realize Pierson meant well when he said, "We would be paralyzed and no one's houses would be cleaned."
But really? Is this how he sees immigrants? These people are not just housekeepers; they are also professionals, including doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses and architects.
I'm an third-generation Korean American who happened to marry someone who was a second-generation American of Irish and Swedish descent. My deceased husband would have been appalled reading those words.
Orrin Turbow of Oxnard recommends better pay for workers:
If the people of Malibu who support their sanctuary status really care about the undocumented, they would pay them what a U.S. citizen would earn doing comparable work.
One member of the City Council said, "Our city depends on a Hispanic population to support our comfortable lifestyle. Do we not owe them what comfort and protections that are possible?"
What they really owe the workers is a fair market wage.
Hawthorne resident Richard Wilson suggests another way Malibu can support workers:
Show your solidarity, Malibu, by building low-income housing for the legal and illegal workers so they don't have to commute two hours to clean your houses.