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The Consequences of Illegal Immigration

March 03, 2003

Re "Illegal Immigrants Stir Health-Care Mess," Commentary, Feb. 25: Dan Stein has it exactly right. Booming surpluses of the late 1990s allowed officials and residents to ignore the state's major illegal immigration crisis, but now the bill is coming due. Illegal immigrants have driven up the costs of health care, auto insurance, public schools, welfare and law enforcement by overburdening the system.

Pro-immigrant advocates claim that they fill unwanted jobs and pay taxes, but those are categorically false arguments. There are millions of unemployed Americans who would take these jobs, but not with the slave wages and poor working conditions that illegals are happy to accept. And aside from sales taxes, I highly doubt that illegal immigrants are paying their fair share.

Sage Vanden Heuvel

Hollywood

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It would be nice if people like Stein spent some time looking for ways to provide basic health insurance to the large percentage of uninsured L.A. County residents who are in the U.S. legally (a group he fails to take note of) rather than ranting about phantom problems like the theft of American jobs by immigrant day laborers, who can probably barely support themselves and their families.

Will Irving

New York City

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It is necessary to reduce the numbers of undocumented immigrants in this country. Most of them work under conditions of near-slavery, and this is not healthy for the nation. However, the federal government is responsible for immigration control, not the city of Los Angeles. If the city refuses to treat its residents suffering from preventable diseases, as Stein suggests, extremely serious epidemics will propagate, threatening everyone in the city. I hope that Stein will be living far from here when that happens.

Dario Montiel

Los Angeles

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