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In his April 11 letter ["We can't afford to add 11 million aliens"], Jay Jackson writes about his father-in-law angrily opposing the U.S. government's efforts at reform of our immigration laws.
His father-in-law, and my grandfather, immigrated to the United States when the laws made it relatively easy for white Europeans to come here, though most Asians were excluded.
Many lived at first in ethnic communities until they developed the skills and the resources to settle in American society at large.
However, recent laws have made immigration increasingly difficult, effectively discriminating against individuals according to their nationality.
Mr. Jackson should also be aware that, far from costing money and increasing the national debt, millions of immigrants work and pay taxes, often for years, that fund Social Security, Medicare and other programs.
Yet, because of their undocumented status, they are unable to receive the benefits. Moreover, they fill a huge and vital role in our economy with their work in the agriculture, construction and service sectors.
Finally, it insults immigrants today to suggest that they don't work just as hard as immigrants of earlier generations to learn English and adjust to American life.