- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2000

Amnesty for illegal aliens sends the wrong message

In response to Jack Kemp's May 21 commentary, "Immigration with promise": Regrettably, Mr. Kemp apparently has jumped onto the Clinton administration's mass-amnesty bandwagon. It has become clear that House and Senate Democrats and the administration will try to enact a massive amnesty program for 1 million to 2 million illegal aliens. That would be unfortunate because amnesty rewards lawbreakers, is unfair to law-abiding legal immigrants, encourages new waves of illegal immigrants and makes a mockery of our laws.

The first of the two amnesty proposals would provide amnesty for illegal aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti. The number of illegal aliens who would benefit can only be estimated but would range from a minimum of about 500,000 to more than 1.5 million, depending on the number of dependents of each of the principal beneficiaries.

The second proposal would provide amnesty for any illegal alien who has resided in the United States since the end of 1985. The number of illegal aliens who would benefit again must be estimated but would range from a minimum of about 400,000 to more than 1 million.

There are an estimated 6 million resident illegal aliens in the United States. If we continue to grant amnesties, when will we stop?

We have learned from the 1986 amnesty that amnesty does not end our illegal-immigration problem. It actually precipitates even more illegal immigration, as individuals are encouraged in the belief that if they can just elude the U.S. Border Patrol and stay underground for a few years, they eventually will get amnesty themselves. A large-scale amnesty could plunge us into a new immigration crisis.

Amnesty is unfair to the millions of aliens who are waiting outside the country for their turn to come legally to the United States. Amnesty sends the message: "Do not respect our laws. If you come to the United States illegally, you will be rewarded." Through amnesty, we are keeping law-abiding applicants out of the country while giving legal resident status to lawbreakers.

The 1986 amnesty illustrated that any amnesty program punishes legal immigrants by greatly increasing the time it takes for them to obtain visas for their family members abroad. Once illegal immigrants are given amnesty and lawful permanent residence, they can petition for visas for their family members. This increases the backlog of requests for visas. In large measure because of the 1986 amnesty, permanent residents have to wait four to six years to obtain visas for their wives and husbands.

I urge Mr. Kemp to reconsider his support for mass amnesty, which has become simply a mechanism for election-year pandering by Democrats.

REP. LAMAR SMITH

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington

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p]Jack Kemp's transformation from neoconservative to a member of the non-patriotic right is completed with his stunning defense of illegal immigration in his column "Immigration with promise." Conspicuously absent from his paean to the 6 million foreigners who live among us in violation of the law is the word "illegal." Absent, too, is the word "amnesty," which is what he calls for.

There's a reason for these omissions. When America's policy-makers authorized the last amnesty for nearly 3 million illegal aliens, in 1986, they promised it would be a one-time cure-all for illegal immigration. Little more than a decade later, we have even more illegal aliens than we did before the last amnesty, and a new amnesty would send the same message as the last one: Forget the law, forget the orderly process that ensures the safety and welfare of American citizens, just get here and wait it out until the next amnesty.

Mr. Kemp's disingenuousness doesn't stop with his word choice. He would have you believe that those U.S. citizens most harmed by the annual arrival of more than 1 million immigrants the poorest Americans, many of them earlier immigrants, who must compete directly with new immigrants for jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder are fully empowered to effect change in immigration law. This presumably is done with a call or e-mail to their congressional representative. How heartening to know that America's poor, according to Mr. Kemp, have as much sway on Capitol Hill as the legions of well-financed lobbyists whose language he shares.

JOHN KEELEY

Research associate

Center for Immigration Studies

Washington

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What if Jack Kemp had a crystal ball into which he could look ahead 50 years? Mr. Kemp, who advocates amnesty for illegal aliens residing in the country, would be able to see the results of unlimited immigration. He would see a population explosion, double the nation's population in 1970. He would see massive gridlock on the highways, overcrowded schools and hospitals, jails filled to the limit, urban sprawl where farms once were located and the people clamoring for more food and water. One can only imagine the condition of the environment and the inability to dispose of waste and garbage. This is not the future I would like to see for my children and grandchildren.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

Differing responses to column on Microsoft breakup

Hats off to Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. for his excellent take on the Microsoft issue ("Behind the breakup curve on Microsoft," Commentary, May 22). I have been simmering for months at most opinions on the breakup espoused in both liberal and conservative media. Only the technical press seems to understand the issues.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was correct. Microsoft has abused its dominant position far more than IBM, AT&T; or Standard Oil ever contemplated. Never noted for innovation, Microsoft has succeeded in foisting a proprietary operating system (OS) and applications programming interface on the majority of PC users (with more than a little help from corporate America and the willfully ignorant information-technology departments). The company has managed to extort compliance from virtually the entire PC world.

However, the Justice Department is wrong in trying to break up Microsoft. Punitive damages should be assessed based on past sins. Breaking up the company would be more akin to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan trying to kill the economy in order to "save it."

Mr. Crews correctly asserts that Microsoft already is starting to feel the heat of the marketplace. Linux was developed primarily to give the "Wintel" community a decent alternative to Windows. The graphical user interface-rich Be OS was ported to "Wintel" boxes when Apple refused to provide Macintosh specifications to Be Inc. for its G3 models and beyond. So savvy PC buyers now can get the Be OS, Linux, Windows and other operating systems installed as separate partitions on their hard drives, and Be OS provides a handy switch to allow the user a choice on boot-up.

Marketing Microsoft's strength will carry only so far. By lagging in technology, the company has become extremely vulnerable in the PC market. The Department of Justice should just stick to past grievances and not add insult to injury.

DAVID SWINK

Vienna

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Here we go again. Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. is yet another defender of Microsoft. I find it appalling that so many people believe a monopoly is good and the government should stay out of the business of controlling such companies. I certainly believe we need less government intervention in our lives, but there are exceptions. This is one.

I am just an average consumer when it comes to computers. As such, I have a twofold problem. First, the Microsoft products I am forced to use are of terrible quality and are not user-friendly. When I write "forced," I refer to the fact that my business associates use Microsoft and, therefore, I must do the same. Second, there is no competition that I can easily take advantage of to get away from the poor Microsoft products I must use. I refer to word processing, PowerPoint and spreadsheets. The operative term here is "easily." Let's face it, computer geeks may find some things easy, but those of us who have little knowledge in the software field just can't handle the barriers set up by Microsoft.

Those who claim that Microsoft is not a problem and that Microsoft is the friend of the consumer just don't get it. There is no competition at the basic level. As a result, we, the consumers, are being forced to use shoddy products. In a competitive environment, there would be no end to the possibilities. One only has to look at how the airlines do away with competition at their hubs and the resulting impact on the consumer to understand what is happening.

CHARLES E. HEIMACH

Arlington

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