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Jeffrey Gold: Responds to letter on undocumented immigrants


Sunday, November 19, 2017
Respond to letter on undocumented immigrants

With all due respect to a recent letter to the editor, we find the writer’s argument about undocumented immigrants to be simplistic (“Takes issue with editorial on church sanctuary,” Oct. 27).

Our own experience tells us that immigrations have affected the U.S. and other parts of the world since at least the 1870s and well into this century.

Not including the forced “immigration” that was the result of slavery in the Americas, the reasons for such immigration have been diverse. Two stand out: people who come to this country for economic reasons; and people who arrive in this country because of political violence in their country.

Accompanying these moves has always been a political backlash: U.S. governmental policy has been reactive and threatening, and it has not been unusual for this backlash to contain vitriolic elements of racism. The Chinese, Jewish, Italian, Irish and Polish peoples, for example, have been at one time or another seen as “less than,” with even specific laws forbidding their immigration.

The other issue that the writer ignores in his legalistic letter is the U.S. role in creating “undocumented” immigration in the first place. At least since the mid-1950s, U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Latin America has been a contributing force to much political instability.

On another front entirely, many U.S. corporations have readily relied upon the undocumented to work under conditions that U.S. citizens won’t (i.e., our agribusiness).

Until our country identifies a comprehensive and humane immigration policy — admittedly a daunting task — holding people accountable, as the writer suggests, for their instincts and motivations to have a better life, and to risk their own and their family’s well-being, seems quite heartless to us.

And it certainly does not address the underlying causes for why people would legally risk their and their family’s lives in order to live and work in our country.

Jeffrey Gold

Pelham

The letter was signed by nine other people.