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Immigration and national interest

June 25, 2007

Re "Demographics and the golden door," Opinion, June 19

Richard Alba writes that changing our admission criteria for immigrants to favor those with education and skills would torpedo a historic opportunity for native-born minorities to advance into desirable occupations. It's a fair point, but Alba doesn't seem to realize that his argument is more general: Our current mass immigration of lower-skilled workers, admitted under family reunification, also degrades the employment prospects for minorities. So the fundamental question is, why do we permit any immigration at all? At 300 million and counting, our country is overpopulated. Admission to the United States isn't a civil right.

Immigration should be run in the national interest. Sensibly, this could mean admission of citizens' foreign-born spouses and children and, each year, a few thousand people with world-class skills and a few hundred genuine refugees. The rest of the world's teeming billions will have to accept that the land behind the "golden door" is full.

PAUL NACHMAN

Bozeman, Mont.

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