Mailbag: Children are the answer in immigration issue

We all can agree that immigration reform is a very complicated issue.

Assemblyman Jim Silva's recent column, ("Amnesty for illegal immigrants not the answer," Community Commentary, May 19) illustrates the complexity of immigration reform particularly for those who travel here from south of the U.S. border. Silva discusses the incarceration of the undocumented people for crimes of illegal drug trade, gang activity and smuggling (of human beings?). We have seen increased resources of personnel, extensions of walls both physical and cyber, weaponry like drones, and yet the crime has increased over the past 10 years along and across the border in Mexico.

The current approach to secure our border with Mexico moved migrants into more dangerous situations with smugglers and harsh geography. The reward for legitimate commerce and travel in this environment is more costly, threatening and inconvenient. No question, we need to stop the flow of weapons and drugs, but the current tact is not working, and we need to rethink our policy.

Silva enmeshes the illegal trade of guns for drugs with the issue of regularizing kids who came to this country as babies with their parents. These children are not criminals. They have grown up in this country, gone to school here, identify as Americans and are ready to give back to this country. Often, they don't find out that they are not a citizen until it is time to apply for college or enter the military.

Morality and fair play aside, the economic reasons to regularize these children as U.S. citizens is a no-brainer. We want these children to stay here, work here, pay taxes here, buy a house here and raise their families here. If we don't do the right thing for these children, we will contribute to a growing underground class of people who live in the shadows of our society.

Patricia M. Goodman

Huntington Beach

Dream Act shouldn't be deferred

Jim Silva's Community Commentary on May 19 ("Amnesty for illegal immigrants not the answer") was disappointing in many ways. Illegal immigration is a complex issue with many angles. Reasonable people can differ on how to solve the problem, but Silva's denunciation of the Dream Act is a bridge too far.

The Dream Act offers a path to citizenship for children of undocumented workers who were brought to this country at a young age. These children can obtain a path to citizenship if they join the military or go to college. The United States is the only home many of these children have known. Many have no memory of their country of birth. Virtually all of them speak fluent English, and some speak only English.

Under current law, these children must live in the shadows. What type of person would punish children who were brought here at a young age by their parents without any choice in the matter? The Dream Act does not reward their parents. It simply doesn't punish the children for the acts of their parents. Who among us would want our children to suffer if we broke the law?

Children seeking an education or wanting to join the military are the best of this community. Once they leave the military or complete school, they will become productive, taxpaying citizens in this country. We need productive, taxpaying citizens in an age of falling birthrates and budget deficits. I guess Silva would have these children return to a land they do not know and live in a society they likely do not understand, all in the name of Silva's rigid ideology.

To oppose the Dream Act is to show ignorance or cruel bigotry. I hope Silva is only ignorant.

Silva says he doesn't want to blame people for wanting a better life, but he chooses to punish the children of those that do. Shame on you, Jim Silva.

Robert Sedlak

Fountain Valley

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