Your report on the House vote ("House Votes to OK Bans on Illegal Immigrant Schooling," March 21) illustrates once again the political hypocrisy surrounding illegal immigration issues. The children have no political clout, no prominent defenders, hence they are a safe political target. Speaker Newt Gingrich claims this will deter illegal immigration.
But impose stronger employer sanctions and a mandatory identification verification system, or reject schemes for agricultural guest workers--steps that could more realistically discourage such migration--and the lobbyists readily sway the politicians. Again.
End result? Once more, Congress is trying to dupe the public into believing that its focusing on the children's education (while it obscures its being co-opted by business interests that still want and need illegal cheap labor) is really taking action.
It is no wonder that, with such repeated duplicity, the public is continually confused and misled on this issue.
ELLIOTT R. BARKAN
Prof. of History and Ethnic Studies
Cal State San Bernardino
Regarding the demise of the legal immigration reform bill, I wonder in whose interest the House members were acting (March 22)? I suspect their decision was swayed by an increasingly influential segment of our population whose interests lie only in their own community and overseas.
How much longer can America absorb the teeming millions from the rest of the world? Our neighbors to the south and countries in the Far East will continue to export human beings until the quality of life here is no better than in their homelands. At my place of employment, I would guess that half of the staff speak English as a second language. I would like Rep. Dick Chrysler (R-Mich.) to explain to me how the loss of these jobs to foreigners helps our nation.
"A Tale of Two Migrations, One White, One Brown" (Opinion, March 17) was good so far as it went.
In attempting to draw an analogy between the migration of whites to California, 1940-70, and the migrations of other peoples to California now, the authors fail to mention the one fact that is responsible for the great cost of immigration now, compared to immigration then: The whites who immigrated to California were native speakers of English who already understood the culture; the new immigrants are not. That fact accounts for the enormous cost to California's taxpayers of today's immigrants.
David Hayes-Bautista and Gregory Rodriguez attempt to make a case for the benefits of large-scale immigration by drawing parallels to the '40s through the '70s. Unfortunately, they substitute raw statistics for careful analysis and thoughtful conclusions. From an economic opportunity perspective, the times could not be more different.
In the '50s, California's manufacturing industries were creating many more opportunities for unskilled and semiskilled labor than there were available job applicants. That is not the case today. In 1950 Los Angeles had half a dozen automobile assembly plants. There are none today. There were at least as many aircraft assembly plants. Two-thirds of those jobs have been lost. There were several steel and aluminum mills; all lost over the past 20 years. These manufacturing job opportunities, which have a seven-times multiplier effect on employment, were the secret to California's success.
In his Business section article, James Peltz quotes from a Rutgers study, "the area's middle-class jobs have been seriously eroded." Those jobs will not return quickly. Without those job opportunities, the area can't offer a bright future for newly arrived immigrants. It is a simple case of supply and demand.
My advice to Hayes-Bautista and Rodriguez is to look for another way to justify large-scale immigration than to pit white against brown, or draw parallels with the past. You cannot drive the freeway to the future by looking in the rearview mirror.
ROBERT W. MARTIN