This is a response to the letters posted after Assemblyman Jim Silva's statement on illegal immigration ("Children are important factor in immigration," Mailbag, June 2). I will not speak for Silva, but as I read it, both of the letters express misunderstanding of Silva's points and the general situation.
Patricia M. Goodman accuses Silva of confusing children who are here illegally with the criminal drug and weapons trade. Mexico is our neighbor. Like true next-door neighbors share items, trade and borrow, visit and teach each other, have neighborhood parties and offer assistance for each other in times of need, it would be great if we could have this rapport with Mexico. But when your neighbor's children are fleeing their home in huge numbers, it is a symptom of great problems. You can help a few of your neighbor's children and families. But you cannot take in each of them and raise them adequately — it would be overwhelming to your own household. In addition, it does nothing to solve the original problems that drove them to leave; indeed, it helps perpetuate them! This is what has happened on a large scale.
Robert Sedlak accuses those who oppose the Dream Act of showing ignorance and bigotry and wanting to punish children. Illegal immigration and not addressing the true problems that cause it are the real punishment — to all of us, as well as to innocent children. Immigration and some merging and mixing of peoples and economies is healthy and strengthens. Illegal immigration tears families apart, destroys culture and traditions, makes it impossible to have a successful academic education and weakens both countries. Sedlak is correct that most of those children of illegal immigrants are not quite familiar with their country of origin. Sadly, too many of them are, and many more are in the process of growing up between two countries, not feeling or being a true member of either, and not achieving success in either country!
If it is such a punishment to grow up in or to become a citizen of Mexico, then the problems are even bigger than I thought. When are we going to start talking about how to help Mexico become the strong, economically independent country it could be, with its own educated and healthy body of citizens? That conversation brings us back to Silva's points. Silva, I appreciate your leadership and voice.
MARY BOYD is a Huntington Beach resident.