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Immigration Policy

July 21, 1993

* Re "Whatever Happened to the Ideal of Citizenship?," Opinion, July 11:

Joel Kotkin has hit the nail square on the head! We agree that the failure of some pro-immigration groups "to make strong and clear distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants" flaws their case; "by insisting on the word undocumented instead of illegal , the advocates seem to be challenging the validity of U.S. law itself."

We believe in legal immigration; our ancestors were legal immigrants, as were most Americans. He is absolutely right in his contention that "urging that illegals be given free access to public services," "opposing the deportation of illegals convicted of crimes," suggesting that "voting rights--the quintessential expression of citizenship--be extended to non-citizens in some cases"--all of these may be well-meaning but they certainly do damage the cause of legal immigration.

We are in full accord with his conclusion: Immigration "must be anchored to a set of values--loyalty to the Constitution, respect for our institutions and belief in the renewability of the American dream--with the ideal of citizenship at the center."

ANGELO and LOUISE BIANCO

Tarzana

* Wayne Cornelius' commentary on immigration, "Neo-Nativists Feed on Myopic Fears" (July 12), was a red herring. Under the guise of setting out objective information, he labeled as "neo-nativists" those who are concerned about the problem of illegal immigration. Is this name-calling a contribution to a rational discussion of the issue? On the contrary, it seems to be an attempt to silence responsible debate.

Fortunately, the number of policy-makers who have joined the search for corrective measures, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein among the vanguard, is growing. It is ludicrous to suggest that because total control is impossible, any efforts to better control our frontiers are wrong.

In addition to the issue of better border control, the other issue that merits attention is the level of legal immigration. It is absurd to suggest that this is not a policy area of reasonable concern. After all, immigration law was changed in 1990 to increase the intake of newcomers by 40% as the country was headed into recession. Clearly it is legitimate to explore the question of whether that increase should be reversed, and what level of legal immigration is in the U.S. national interest.

JOHN L. MARTIN

Research Director

Center for Immigration Studies

Washington

* The immigrants' beautiful dreams of America have turned into a horrible nightmare. Who is to blame? Perhaps no one is to blame. Could it be that in a finite world even dreams must have their limits?

ALLEN G. HOWLETT

Fullerton

* I finally figured it out; the problem is not illegals entering the country illegally, it's the legals who hire them. It's been going on for years. Everyone wants to take a short cut and save money, without the IRS taking its cut. If Americans would learn to just say no when it comes to the hiring of illegals, they wouldn't risk their life and savings to get to this country.

We already have laws to deal with the illegal alien problem. They just need to be enforced. If we stop hiring illegals and start deporting them, they'll eventually stop coming. Wow, what if Sen. Feinstein, Gov. Pete Wilson and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown thought this way.

TONY DAWKINS

Garden Grove

* Regarding the Chinese boat people: For years the U.S. government has been pressuring Hong Kong to admit boat people from Vietnam. Now the U.S. government turns away boat people from China.

What hypocrisy!

JOHN W. WONG

Los Angeles

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