The Baltimore Sun

While it is true that immigrants have helped to rescue and improve our economy in the past, it is not likely that more immigration would be a viable solution to today's economic woes.

Jay Hancock's column "Immigrants can come to economy's rescue again" (Jan. 21) mentions the Polish, Russian, Irish, Italian and Greek immigrants who helped give strength to our economy. However, they arrived when we were an industrializing nation and jobs were very plentiful. A willing work force was needed, and these immigrants supplied it.

In today's technological society, the opportunities for employment are not so great.

And most of the immigrants trying to come here today, legally and illegally, are not from European countries. Instead, they are from Mexico or other Third World nations where the standard of living is poor and few opportunities exist.

These immigrants come here looking for a better way of life, but they are mostly unskilled laborers. And very few jobs, except for the most menial ones, exist for these immigrants.

They come here seeking a better life but often have to depend on welfare, Medicaid and other programs to survive. And when they do earn wages, they often send some of the money back to their home country. This does not help our economy grow; it only serves to drain public resources even further.

Perhaps the solution lies not in letting more unskilled immigrants in but rather in seeing to it that American citizens who receive public assistance work to earn those benefits.

We have far too many able-bodied men and women in our country who could do public work projects or work in other occupations where jobs often go begging for workers (such as working on farms and orchards or in packing plants) but who feel that such work is beneath them.

It is time for our government to stop the liberal giveaway programs of the past and ensure that all people receiving subsidies and entitlement payment do something to earn those subsidies and to help our economy grow.

The limited number of citizens of our country who are now working cannot go on carrying the load - and an ever-increasing load it is, given the influx of illegal immigrants - of our out-of-control national budget.

Mr. Hancock needs to realize that immigrants are not the answer to the problem - we are.

Patricia McLaughlin, Joppa

Columnist Jay Hancock told readers that only a huge increase of immigration can solve the problem of the immense national debt. We need a large pool of younger Americans, he suggested, to pay off the debts left by their elders.

Apparently, Mr. Hancock has forgotten that the natural resources of the United States are not unlimited. And while we need young people to pay off our national debt, a huge increase in the population will make everybody poorer.

Forests will disappear, fish will become scarce, travel will be strained and our overall quality of life will diminish.

The most notable shortage we are already beginning to feel is a shortage of water. Each year, larger and larger areas suffer droughts.

I do not know the solution to our awful level of indebtedness. But wide-open borders would be no solution.

Carleton W. Brown, Perryville

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