- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 27, 2002

Immigration is vital to America, but so is English

We applaud Raymond J. Keating for his April 23 Op-Ed column on the continuing importance of immigration and immigrants to our way of life, "Yes way, Jose." In his farewell address, former President Ronald Reagan laid out his positive vision of America. To him, America was "a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here."

Immigrants are important to America, but it is equally important that we provide immigrants with the necessary tools to succeed and integrate into American society. All too often, an inability to speak English traps immigrants in linguistic ghettos of menial, low-paying jobs with little opportunity for advancement and little meaningful contact with the English-speaking majority. Their inability to speak our common language, English, prevents them from succeeding and blending into society.

Immigration to our great land is at an all-time high, with some 28.4 million foreign-born residents living among us, or 10.4 percent of the total U.S. population. This changing face of America is putting our society under great stress touching everything from culture to politics. In states around the country, communities are re-evaluating everything from how children are taught in school to how medical care is provided to how political campaigns are conducted to how an individual is given a driver's exam all because larger and larger numbers of newcomers do not speak English.

To continue America's vibrant tradition of recent immigrants working hand-in-hand with natural-born citizens, we must incorporate them as rapidly as possible into mainstream American society. This is accomplished by requiring enrollment in effective English education programs and requiring that all government work be performed in English. The alternative can be seen in other countries where the lack of a common language breeds resentment for and discrimination against linguistic minorities.

Immigration is vital to America, but just as vital is a common language that binds our great nation together, and that language is English. It is time to push back the forces of divisive multiculturalism and to adopt English as the official language of the United States.


Chairman and chief executive officer



No way, Jose

Regarding Raymond J. Keating's April 23 Op-Ed piece, "Yes way, Jose," I fully share his concern about past and present anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.

Our country, however, does need a meaningful immigration and population policy. The lack of one seems to be causing an exponential growth that will, if unchecked, according to Census Bureau figures, result in a population that will not be sustainable.



Raymond J. Keating fails to understand the difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal alien. Illegal aliens cross our border without proper documentation and work for little pay, thus taking jobs away from our poorest Americans.

Should America welcome legal immigrants? Of course. Should America welcome illegal aliens? No way, Jose.


Rochester Hills, Mich.

The New York Mexican "immigrants" to which Raymond J. Keating refers are in fact illegal aliens.

As for Proposition 187 in California, which denies social services to illegal aliens, it was passed by an overwhelming majority of the voters and would pass again today.

Mr. Keating is right in stating that employers want immigrants, but they especially want illegal immigrants, whom they can exploit with subsistence wages and blackmail with the threat of possible deportation.

One more thing: We are not a nation of immigrants. An immigrant is someone from another country who moved here. I am not an immigrant, and neither are most of the residents of the United States.


Brea, Calif.

In talking about an anti-immigrant "backlash," Raymond J. Keating makes out the protestors to be the ones at fault. The only people at fault are those who have willfully broken our immigration laws.

When Americans break laws, we normally punish them, not reward them. Why should illegal aliens be different? No matter how "skilled" and "needy" they are, no matter how "worthy" they may be, our laws were made so we could have an orderly society.

We will pay dearly in the end if we continue to allow lawbreakers (both workers and employers) to ignore the legal framework that makes our nation function efficiently.


Forest, Va.

When economist Raymond J. Keating argues that the current wave of illegal aliens is necessary to our economy, he sounds like a senior aide to my congressman, who recently told me: "Without these immigrants, we wouldn't be able to invent things, anymore."

Forgive us for asking, but was cheap and exploitable labor behind the numerous technological advances of the past century? Were they critical to the invention of the telephone or light bulb? Were they responsible for the polio vaccine or putting Americans on the moon? Of course not.

Are today's poorly educated and unskilled illegals depressing wages and causing great economic harm to our own working poor, particularly the black underclass? Absolutely.

Mr. Keating undoubtedly enjoys a comfortable lifestyle, and he owes it all to a Congress that, with the urging of organized labor, wisely ended the Great Wave of immigration in 1924. That decision allowed wages to rise and gave birth to the middle class. How odd that someone with the title of "senior economist" doesn't understand the relationship between labor supply and wages.


Executive director

Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration

Lombard, Ill.

Raymond J. Keating points out that immigration has been a good thing for America. Few would disagree. The only real issue is whether we can have too much of a good thing.

U.S. fertility rates have been low since the 1970s. We have not been filling our shoes from one generation to the next. Nevertheless, the Census Bureau reports that our population will more than double within the lifetime of our college students. Why? One reason is the unprecedented high rate of immigration. Mr. Keating, however, turns a blind eye to this fact.

If Mr. Keating doesn't think we can have too much of a good thing, then he should tell us where our waters are too pure and our air too fresh, where there is too much open space, and where there is no urban sprawl or highway congestion.


Petoskey, Mich.

Media ignore hero's passing

It is truly ironic. On April 19, one of America's true heroes, William E. Barber, passed away. Col. Barber, as a Marine captain, was a Medal of Honor recipient. In Korea in 1950, his week-long defense of a key mountain pass against thousands of Chinese soldiers enabled over 8,000 young men to escape being slaughtered by the encircling enemy. His passing didn't even create a ripple on the media pond. If he was mentioned at all, it was in some small column of the obituary section on page 2,998.

Linda Lovelace passed away and she was front-page news everywhere. She even made the local and national TV news.

I can't think of anything that speaks more of who we are as a people than this contrast. Pedophilia in the Catholic church? Why not. Look at our heroes.


Topsfield, Mass.

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