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Congress should try smaller reforms

June 13, 2007

Re "Immigration bill drew bipartisan fire," June 9

As an immigration attorney, I too am disappointed that Congress has yet to reach an agreement on immigration reform. But in my opinion, the ship sank because both sides tried to load up the bill with too many divisive demands.

Congress would be better off taking some bipartisan baby steps rather than risk sinking another ship with excessive demands. Such baby steps could include a pilot guest worker program for certain key industries, expanding the H1-B professional visa quota, developing a more secure border -- without which illegal immigration will continue and make achievement of bipartisan compromises more difficult -- and establishing a bipartisan committee to develop workable recommendations for additional reforms.

Such a committee, which would deliver well-researched recommendations to Congress and the president within 18 months, should include representatives from industry, technology companies, unions, government agencies, the immigration bar, national Latino and other ethnic organizations and nongovernmental organizations.

GREG BERK

Irvine

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Once again The Times gets it wrong, implying that the loud voices against the recent immigration bill are people who are against illegal immigrants and are racist. People want the border to be secure. People shouldn't break the law coming into the country. We shouldn't have to pay their way when it comes to hospital benefits.

LEE RYAN

Green Valley, Calif.

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It is clear that to get an immigration bill through Congress, there will have to be compromise. The compromise I would like to suggest is to append to the immigration bill the stipulation that English is the official language of the United States. Contrary to what some maintain, I believe that this will have an ultimately unifying effect on the nation.

After a reasonable amount of time for the program to have been in effect, suitably subsidized by the federal and possibly state governments, one of the tests as to whether undocumented workers should remain would be whether they could pass an examination in written and spoken English.

FRANK R. TANGHERLINI

San Diego

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