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National ID Cards and Immigration

August 13, 1994

Bravo! Your editorial "An ID-Card Plan That Makes Sense" (Aug. 5) is right on the money, because, as you state, it makes sense!

The banks have long used this system to verify Social Security numbers of all new customers, ensuring that they are the only person holding the reported number.

I hope that the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform adopts this plan, since it ensures compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Also, because it's fair to both legal immigrants and all other legitimate residents. It's time that we stop the cheaters who are unfairly taking jobs from those who play by the rules.

Illegal immigration is just what it says--it's illegal and it unfairly costs taxpayers billions of dollars annually. Since employment is the major attraction to those illegally entering the country, this plan will go a long way toward eliminating the problem. How about using the same system for welfare recipients and those receiving non-emergency medical treatment?

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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Regarding the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform's plan on verifying workers' status:

The registry won't work. Here's why. An illegal immigrant borrows his legal cousin's ID (driver's license, Social Security and green card). He applies for the job under his relative's name and then returns the ID to its owner. I have witnessed this little scheme among waiters at a major Los Angeles hotel.

JUDY GARRIS

Canoga Park

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Joel Kotkin's otherwise thoughtful article, "Rethinking Immigration: Intent Must Shape Policy" (Opinion, July 24), is marred by its perpetuation of a stereotype of Latino immigrants. Contrary to popular belief, legal Latino immigrants are comparable to their European and Asian counterparts; surveys show that Latino immigrants plan to settle in the U.S. permanently. Their roots in American society are deep, as evidenced by their high rates of home ownership as well as a preference for U.S. political news as opposed to that of their home country.

The low rates of naturalization among Latino immigrants are easily attributable to lower levels of socioeconomic standing as compared to Asian immigrants. For example, 62 out of every 100 Latino immigrants begin the naturalization process. But, lack of resources, difficulty with forms and problems with the language cause only 25 out of the 62 to complete it. Lower socioeconomic standing, in all likelihood, also may predict why Latino children do not fare as well in the academic world as other immigrant children who have a higher socioeconomic standing.

One of the biggest challenges facing the Latino community is overcoming the stereotypes that still exist concerning the immigrant community.

Unfortunately, both detractors and friends fall victim to these stereotypes.

HARRY P. PACHON Ph.D.

President, Tomas Rivera Center

Claremont

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