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Debate Over Immigration

February 28, 2000

The Feb. 22 commentary, "Surprise! Immigration Hasn't Ruined Us," sums up how single-minded the immigration issue has become. It has now been completely reduced to just one factor, "making money." Guess what? I have a problem with rewarding people who break ouxr laws. What happened to "morality"? I have a problem with how crowded California has become. What happened to "quality of life"? It seems that everyone has forgotten what the real purpose of a country is, and, here is a clue, it isn't just about making money.

MICHAEL ADAMS

Pacific Palisades

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Robert Scheer's assertion that high levels of immigration haven't harmed American workers has some problems. The high-immigration '80s and '90s brought us constant reports of growing income inequality and stagnant wages for many workers. Now we have reports that wage increases are surprisingly low in our current boom.

Scheer's belief that more immigrants would keep our economy expanding is also problematic. Europe brought in millions of guest workers in its boom years and they and their children are still around now that Europe faces a period of slow growth and high unemployment. Whatever immigration might do for our economy, do we want to pay the price in crowding, loss of wildlife habitat and smog? One projection suggests that with no net immigration since 1970 the United States would have 244 million people in 2050 instead of 383 million. Do we really need an exploding population so employers can have plenty of cheap labor?

FRANK GROBER JR.

Davis

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Here's something to ponder. If immigration into the United States were causing wages to rise instead of fall, there would be no debate; immigration would be declared a national emergency and stopped cold.

MITCHEL FARIS

Orange

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