Remove lures, not people
In its June 15 editorial, the Portland Tribune calls for reform, a politically correct way of saying change. All changes are not necessarily improvements, and the so-called 'compromise' bill is worse than doing nothing (Raid signals the need for reform).
The Portland Tribune echoes the incorrect rationale for supporting this bad legislation: 'It would simply be impossible for these immigrants to be deported en masse - and even if it were possible, their departure would cause serious economic disruptions.'
Addressing the red herring regarding deporting illegals, it is not necessary to deport them. All that is needed is the removal of the incentives that make them come here and stay here.
Immigrants from all countries come here legally to earn money and enjoy a higher standard of living. Immigrants from Mexico come here, overwhelmingly illegally, to earn money and support their families in Mexico. If we remove those reasons, they will no longer come and return, on their own volition, to Mexico.
Two actions are needed. The first deals with securing employment. The second deals with sending money to Mexico.
Employers already are required to make Social Security payments. If an employer hires illegals without paying Social Security or pays for those phony numbers that are not on file with the Social Security Administration or that do not have a name, sex, etc., that match the number on file, they should be fined $10,000 for a first offense, $50,000 for a second offense and $200,000 for a third offense. For a fourth offense, the employer's assets should be confiscated. If illegals can't find work, they will not come.
The other needed action is to restrict the sending of funds to Mexico (there already are limits on sending money out of the country). Money could be sent by money order to Mexico or transferred by banks only by people who can prove they are U.S. citizens or here legally.
We need, but not to the extent of undercutting the employment of citizens, a new guest worker program. Such a program only would be workable if we have guest workers with fingerprint, tamper-proof ID cards and a date-certain expiration set on each card.
If employers continue to employ guest workers after expiration, they would be subject to the same punitive measures set forth above for hiring illegals.
Guest workers would pay payroll taxes and Social Security payments into a separate guest worker account, which would be transferred into a standard account if and when a guest worker immigrates legally.
Melvin Y. Zucker
Workers' bosses have a lot to answer for
So let's get this straight. Fresh Del Monte didn't hire those workers, American Staffing did (Immigration anxiety hits home, stays hot, June 15)?
Fresh Del Monte must be 'shocked - shocked!' that some of them were illegal. American Staffing doesn't run the sweatshop, Fresh Del Monte does.
American Staffing must be 'shocked - shocked!' at the reports of conditions there. Workers sloshing around in 3-inch-deep water with submerged electric wires? Now that is shocking.
While the workers sit in detention in Tacoma, Wash., what's happening at the plant? How long will the investigation take? Is the plant sealed until it is inspected? The Portland Tribune needs to stay on this case.
Working legally or illegally, no worker should be subjected to this. If these allegations are true, Portlanders ought to be shocked and outraged and the bosses must answer to the law.
Seeds of problem planted long ago
The only thing more aggravating than the illegal alien invasion is duplicitous politicians such as U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who expect us to believe that they can fix a problem they stubbornly created (Immigration anxiety hits home, stays hot, June 15).
Kennedy began the current crisis with his 1965 Immigration Act. Kennedy expects us to believe that, this time, he'll solve the problem of 20 million illegal aliens with another act?
As our passive media repeat the propaganda of our condescending governing class, citizens easily can conclude that both institutions think we're stupid. If we put up with this treatment, you know what? We are stupid.
Migrant workers deserve gratitude
Portland Mayor Tom Potter's concern (Immigration anxiety hits home, stays hot, June 15) is very real if one would compare the mayor to a queen bee and the migrant workers to honeybees, without which we would not have the fruits, flowers and food on our tables.
Most Americans don't want to work under the extremely harsh conditions that the bees do constantly.
But taking out 12 million migrant workers is like eradicating bees from the United States, which would kill all the fruits and flowers we thrive on.
If we deport 12 million undocumented workers, we could have a zero or negative growth in our gross national product and would have to import more fruits, vegetables and processed food from South America, China and India, at the risk of our health and national security and with more indebtedness to China.
By throwing away the tough workers, we will be throwing away the baby with the bath water.
The United States has cheaper food, fruits and vegetables than any other Western society, thanks to the migrant workers. They should be properly documented and rewarded justly.
No doubt Mayor Potter, as well as President Bush, is as concerned as any queen bee would about losing all her bees from the beehive.
Want to save roads? Ban studded tires
I ride my bike, yes (Adams takes Portland street plan to the people, June 22). I wonder how many times I would have to ride the same stretch of a street to do the same damage that drivers do.
I have an idea: Let's ban studded tires. I find it pathetic how many people put them on their cars, and for what? Two days of the year? If you are not going to ban them, charge people who use them - they do so much more damage to the roads that we all have to pay for.
Road repairs will take toll on taxpayers
I see the Portland City Council and Commissioner Sam Adams have another money issue without adequate funds (Adams takes Portland street plan to the people, June 22). It seems we need only $422 million to fix our roads in town.
Did we not budget money for this originally because we had more important items to pay for, like the tram, affordable housing, bike trails and so on?
Or did we budget for road improvements and then decide we had other things again more important than our roads?
So now Adams wants us to pay for fixing the roads by levying a few new taxes on us so he and the rest of the council can continue to fund their cute, favorite projects and so they can look the special-interest groups in the eye and do as the council is told to do.
I might suggest a new logo or slogan for Portland city vehicles. Instead of suggesting it is 'the City That Works,' reword it to 'the City That Spends, Spends, Spends.'
There appears to be no attempt to live within the means. It is probably fun to be on a council like that.