To the Editor:
Our fathers, grandfathers or great-grandfathers came to this country in search of the hope of a better life. They were willing to brave any obstacle to provide opportunity for themselves and their families.
According to the immigration laws of that era, to qualify for this privilege they had to possess a valid skill set and the promise of housing and the possibility of employment. The latter two of these qualifications were either provided for by relatives already here or ethnic and religious organizations set up for support purposes. After 1921, quotas were instituted to keep the influx of foreign population from overburdening American society. Simply, the immigration laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries insured that new aspiring Americans would augment our society, not detract from it. Furthermore, resident aliens registered on a yearly basis and paid taxes as if they were naturalized already. They were responsible new arrivals and they complied with our laws.
In the mid 1960s, immigration laws were relaxed, requirements lessened and restrictive quotas removed. Over the years since, incrementally and insidiously, enforcement weakened, descending into what is now a virtual free-for-all of illegal immigrants overloading our social welfare systems and schools.
The most recent illegal invasion on our southern border is much akin to the Mariel Boat Lift of 1980 in which Cuba’s Castro emptied his jails and asylums, sending thousands of undesirables to Florida, which President Carter accepted. Now reckless Central American parents are now sending thousands of uneducated, unvaccinated and unaccompanied children to California and Texas.
Unlike the immigrants of a century ago, these two groups of illegal people do not add to our nation, they detract from it. Many of the Mariel Boat people entered the drug trade and eventually became housed in our prison system. Many of these new unfortunate youths will require medical, educational and social services for some time to come if they are not returned to their native countries.
With an ever-escalating national debt, a decaying infrastructure, obsolete school buildings and an underfunded Social Security system, we simply cannot support the downtrodden of the third world. If we keep allowing the third world to illegally migrate to our shores in an unbridled fashion, we will eventually become a third world nation when our overwhelmed governmental systems buckle under the strain.
Historically, we have always been a benevolent nation, yet our present capacity is limited. Before we can care for the rest of the world we must take care of our own.
Those who wish to become one of us must abide by the laws of the nation they wish to join. Apply for citizenship through our established yet currently ignored process. The flagrant disregard for our system of laws is an insult to every naturalized citizen who followed the rules and became one of our fellow Americans.
Christopher M. Curran