So, an April 7 letter writer (“Tell me: What’s so great about illegal immigration, smuggling?”) wants to be enlightened as to why it is so important that our borders with Mexico be wide open to illegal immigrants and criminal smuggling operations. Who wants those things? Was there someone in his circle of friends who said they want the borders wide open to criminals? Someone on TV? Who? Maybe he mistook a statement of support for illegals to be treated with humanity once here.
It reminds me of the argument that “everyone” wants guns to be banned. Really? Who? Background checks enforced and assault rifles banned, yes. How is that banning the handgun you want for home protection?
It also reminds me of the Facebook share that “states are allowing illegal immigrants to vote in order to influence an election.” Really? Which states are knowingly allowing illegal immigrants to vote? I asked that question, and, of course, there were no answers.
My point is that words have a lot of power. Please, everyone, find sources for ideas that sound absurd and untrue. Please don’t throw something out that has no basis in fact, just conjecture. And don’t be surprised when you make those statements and someone asks for your source.
So, I ask again: Who wants the Mexican border to be wide open to illegal immigrants and criminal smuggling operations? Source, please.
Deb Wittmann, Maple Grove
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Despite what you hear on right-wing radio, there are very few people advocating open borders. There are compelling objections to President Donald Trump’s wall, and here are some:
1) Trump’s cost estimates are not credible, and even if $64 billion were correct, we don’t think that’s the best use of the money.
2) Trump promised us that Mexico would pay for it.
3) It won’t work. They can’t keep illegal drugs out of prisons; what makes people think they can keep drugs out of the country with a wall?
4) Some people think of the immigrants as refugees — fleeing dangerous situations. They don’t want us to repeat the mistake we made before World War II of rejecting Jews fleeing Europe.
5) The solution to illegal economic immigration is to keep employers from hiring them. If the people coming here just to get a better job couldn’t get any jobs here, they wouldn’t come. With $64 billion, we could do a pretty good job of seeing that employers were not hiring people who are here illegally.
I applaud the letter writer’s question. He says people present their positions without reasons. We need more discussion about how we reach our conclusions.
Rolf Bolstad, Minneapolis
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We have several types of businesses in this country (roofing and meatpacking are two big examples) in which the operational model depends on access to immigrants from our southern border. They are needed, so they come. It’s not that different from when many of our immigrant ancestors (mine included) came to this country for opportunities not available in their homelands. For much of this nation’s history, there wasn’t a system and there weren’t many laws governing this process. People who wanted to come just came on in.
The smuggling happens because of the demand here that needs to be supplied. In the absence of any formal (legal) process of emigrating from Central and South America, the only options for immigration are illegal. Yet, our businesses are counting on these workers. So they come — any way they can.
However they came, they are here. They are working and contributing to our communities. Yes, let them stay. But do more than that. Reform this mess of an immigration system so it’s possible for our neighbors to the south to come here legally. That would go a long way to eliminating the need for abusive practices like smuggling — and allow hardworking members of our communities to step out of the shadows.
Trudy K. Cretsinger, St. Paul
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As an economist, I will answer the April 7 letter writer’s question. Rather than criminal smuggling (which I also oppose and wish our border officials would focus on), I’ll address immigration that includes refugees and asylum-seekers more generally.
Many worry that immigrants steal jobs from our own workers. However, immigrants are not only workers, but also consumers. As consumers, they buy U.S. goods and services. This means higher consumer demand, which causes businesses to expand production. The net result is growth in U.S. jobs.
Furthermore, many U.S. employers (farmers, slaughtering houses, etc.) maintain that they cannot find enough native-born workers and need to hire immigrants. And, as our large baby-boom generation is now retiring and stressing our Social Security and Medicare systems, we need an infusion of younger workers (immigrants tend to be young) paying into the system to support our aging population.
These are the economic benefits. But our communities, churches, schools and all of us benefit from the contributions and diversity of immigrant cultures. My family and I emigrated from Canada. My father worked here as a plumber, my mother as a nurse, and I as an author and professor. I believe we contributed greatly to this country. And I have many immigrant colleagues and friends who broaden my horizons (and those of my students).
I am a bit offended by the letter writer’s question in the first place. Why doesn’t he ask how native-born residents benefit our country? After all, unless you are Native American, your ancestors are immigrants. Or is there a suggestion that some immigrants (white Europeans) are preferable to immigrants of color?
Finally, due to multiple global conflicts, including those created by the vacuum left after the Iraq invasion (enabling ISIS to fill it), the suffering humanity is huge. Refugees and asylum-seekers, including those crossing our Mexican border, may lack civil rights, but they do have human rights. Are we not all better people when assisting those escaping from violence and horror?
Jacqueline Brux, River Falls, Wis.
Further explanation is needed regarding swing toward Trump
Interesting article on gubernatorial candidate Tim “I was against Trump before I was for him” Pawlenty. (“After trashing Trump, Pawlenty voted for him,” April 7.) On Oct. 8, 2016, he (accurately) called Donald Trump “unsound, uninformed, unhinged and unfit to be president of the United States,” saying that Trump was “unwilling or unable to demonstrate even the most basic level of discipline, character and judgment necessary to lead our great nation.”
I’d like to know what changed between Oct. 8 and Nov. 8 (Election Day) to make Pawlenty decide that Trump’s character and judgment were just fine after all. Was it Trump’s pronouncement during a debate that if he were elected, Hillary Clinton would be “in jail” (Oct. 9)? Or insulting the appearance of a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct (Oct. 14)? Or his refusal to say whether or not he’d concede the election if he lost (Oct. 19)? The list goes on. So please tell us — what was it, Mr. Pawlenty, that changed your mind?
Anne Hamre, Roseville
Peculiar thing about ‘fake news’
Don’t you find it more than just a bit humorous that everybody reading this letter fully knows that they personally have never changed their vote because of “fake news,” but fully accepts the contention that everybody else has (or more specifically, everybody who votes differently than they do has)? It has been 20 years, or more, since anyone accepted an ad, post or tweet at face value.
Jack Kohler, Plymouth