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Immigration Administration

March 13, 1987

Antonio Rodriguez, an attorney representing Latino interests, states in his article (Editorial Pages, March 2), "Legalization Gets an Unjust Twist," that the Immigration and Naturalization Service is unjust in the manner in which it intends to implement the new immigration law. This is another in the continual stream of protests by special interest groups attempting to weaken the enforcement of the law and maintain the flow of illegal aliens into this country.

Rodriguez says that the legalization program was the carrot used to obtain the passage of the immigration reform bill, including the sanctions provision against employers who hire illegal aliens. In fact, the legalization program was more blackmail than carrot. It was the price exacted by unscrupulous agricultural and business interests who profit from the cheap labor, by the Latino leaders who want to increase their political power base and by the Catholic church, which wants to increase its flock, before they would allow passage of an immigration reform bill to put an end to the massive influx of illegals who take jobs from American citizens.

Rodriguez further states that it is unfair to expect the applications for U.S. citizenship to pay $175 a person or $400 a family to have their application forms processed. Given the state of affairs in Mexico and all of Latin America and most other Third World countries, U.S. citizenship and the right to work here legally should be counted as a benefit of magnitude far beyond those small sums.

As to the claim that Congress did not intend that the illegal aliens should have to pay for their applications, I am not aware that there was any statement by Congress to that effect. The Congress has not yet funded the immigration law, and it does not seems fair that the taxpayers of this country should have to pay for benefits being given to citizens of other countries who have violated our laws and entered this country illegally.

The charge of $175 will certainly be far below the actual cost of verifying and processing the documentation of the applicants. The use of fake documents to obtain employment is already common practice. I suggest that if sufficient funds to verify documentation thoroughly are not available from the application fees, the INS should stop processing the applications until the funds become available.

Rodriguez is concerned that the program will work against the poor immigrants. Since the United States already accepts more legal immigrants (not to mention the illegal ones) than all the other nations of the world combined, perhaps we can be forgiven for wanting to get something of benefit from them for ourselves in the form of skills. Certainly importing more unskilled labor to displace from the job market even more of our own unemployed is not in our interest.

I suggest that it is right and proper for the INS to administer this program in a very strict manner and that Rodriguez recognizes that under any interpretation of the law, it is the most generous amnesty program ever granted by any people to the rest of the world.



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