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Immigrants and America

June 27, 1993

* Bravo to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's well-reasoned article regarding the illegal immigration crisis ("We Can Get a Grip on Our Borders," Commentary, June 16). Illegal immigrants will continue to come to this country as long as jobs are plentiful for them. One important way to stop employers from employing illegal immigrants is to dramatically increase the fines for these employers.

Currently employers are risking $1,000 or $2,000 fines if they hire an illegal immigrant. This type of fine is ridiculously low and does nothing to discourage employers from violating the law. The fines must be increased to a minimum $50,000 so that employers will think long and hard before employing an illegal immigrant. Also, we must have jail terms for repeat violators.

One other way to curtail the employment of illegal immigrants is to have a national employment identity card. Employers would have to verify that the card was valid and could not employ anyone who did not possess the card when applying for a job.

I hope Sen. Feinstein's proposals are implemented as soon as possible and that significant steps are taken by Congress and the President to dramatically curtail illegal immigration.

FRED HUEBSCHER

Los Angeles

* Immigrants in the United States are again the target of overly pious "Americans." Only a year ago in Los Angeles, apparent socioeconomic and judicial injustices turned violent against the Korean immigrant community. Suffering from social myopia, Americans with self-righteous, zealous attitudes are again scapegoating the apparent socioeconomic problems on a certain segment of population in the U.S. Immigrants are just as diverse as pluralistic Americans; they contribute a wealth of sociocultural and economic richness to the United States.

I am very concerned over the recent targeting of immigrants. Your paper reports (June 17) that "the Orange County Grand Jury . . . called for a nationwide, three-year moratorium on all U.S. immigration in an attempt to ease the drain on government programs." Based on ignorance and much skewed information from the media, they attempt to blame immigrant communities for the current socioeconomic problems in America. I, too, have experienced a dwindling economic return from the recession, but we can hardly justify scapegoating the problems on immigrants. Notwithstanding the illegal immigration revolving-door policy at the southern U.S. border and other complex rules and regulations, immigration issues must first be cleared from unfair negative attacks stemming mostly from myths and the imagination.

I am a Korean-American. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Currently, I am an employee of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. I attempt to integrate and embrace my own heritage and be an American. I identify with pluralistic America and with common human spirits in the world. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants; I would urge all persons to do a pensive reading of various immigration issues and to participate actively in the political decision-making process.

PETER KIM

Claremont

* Thank you for "Immigrants' Communication Transcends Words" (June 22) by De Tran and David Avila. It is a pleasure to read about Asian and Latino communities at a time when media and government are hyping anti-immigrant hysteria and race war. We need to see more articles talking about how immigrants live their lives.

MICHAEL SALAZAR

Los Angeles

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