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Old 03-23-2015
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Default Our Immigration Policy

Readers discuss whether undocumented immigrants should be legitimized and integrated into the United States economy.


To the Editor:

As an Englishman living in the United States, I find that the three-way tug-of-war between Congress, President Obama and 26 states challenging his executive actions on immigration reminds me in some ways of the Scottish referendum on independence, which was voted down last September. In both cases the key question is really one of preservation of perceived cultural heritage. The economic arguments bend in the wind to serve their political master. Does the world really need more fences and borders?

The real global goal should be economic equity that can preserve culture while encouraging positive migration in all directions: essentially, a world without borders. The United States is a young country and is still in the process of rapid evolution (unlike its European counterparts). That evolutionary process has the potential to be a beacon of what the world could or should look like.

Addressing the current population of immigrants in this country requires more than an executive action stemming deportation. I believe that the hidden fear is of cultural contamination, not jobs or resource allocation. There is still a pervasive feeling that one has to “fight” for one’s place in American society. I think that time is over, and positive integration has to be the way forward.

Knowledge is power. We need to actively integrate the immigrant population, which is primarily Hispanic, into the American economic engine by providing the tools to learn about filing taxes, opening bank accounts, obtaining auto insurance and other basic activities we take for granted.

An orderly legitimization program would be the least expensive and most productive (did I hear anyone say tax dollars?) way forward. As to a check and balance, market forces will control immigration better than any fence.

The legitimization of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants should be less about the political machinations of policy, and more about the beginning of a new global understanding of how we should cooperatively share this brilliant blue marble we call home.

STEVEN RIDLEY
New York


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/op...licy.html?_r=0
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