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Richard Fein: Let’s limit US immigration, but allow asylum-seekers in as well



Friday, August 22, 2014
To the editor:

Many writers to the Gazette have cited America’s traditional compassion for those fleeing violence and poverty in other countries. The plight of the children coming from Central America is the most recent case that disturbs any American with a heart.

Yet that cannot be the only aspect of the immigration issue that should be of concern. I would like to ask this: Should there be a limit on the total number of people who can enter the U.S. from other countries? Over one million people are admitted as legal immigrants to the U.S. every year. Many others are waiting in line to immigrate legally.

Yes, this group of Central American children are fleeing violence and poverty. But there are hundreds of millions of children in similar circumstances throughout the world, not to mention adults. Should all of them be admitted to the U.S.?

What I propose is that we retain the current limit of one million or so legal immigrants, and that the number of people granted asylum be included in that number.

Those already in the U.S. illegally, estimated at 11 million people, could also seek asylum on that basis. Such a policy would be consistent with America’s traditional compassion for others. It would also take into account the legitimate concerns of American citizens and lower the temperature on the heated debate on immigration policy that is roiling our nation.

Richard Fein

Amherst