Immigrants vital to U.S.

July 26, 2011


"Illegal aliens," "undocumented workers," "unwanted immigrants" and a host of other monikers have been given to migrants to any country. The first settlers (illegal aliens) in the Mexican territories of Texas and California in the early and mid-1800s were not well received by the Mexican people either. Wars were fought and lands confiscated so this country could fulfill its "manifest destiny" of controlling all the land between the two oceans even though the land belonged to native Americans.

Today, xenophobes (whose ancestors were immigrants also) have claimed that immigrants are taking their jobs. For the most part, these xenophobes are not landscape workers, hospitality service workers, kitchen workers, domestic service workers, farm laborers or unskilled manual laborers, etc. So, again for the most part, the jobs available to the documented and undocumented migrant workers are the jobs that the majority of citizens do not wish to perform. Yet the work the migrant workers perform benefits us all.

The majority of undocumented workers still have income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks, yet they are not entitled to claim the benefits of Social Security and Medicare because they are not citizens. I am reasonably confident that the value of these combined taxes over a worker's lifetime far exceed the dollar value of any in-state tuition benefit provided to immigrant children who have grown up here, attended school here and graduated here. Why should these children, who through no fault of their own were brought here by their parents, be deprived of the opportunity of a college education because of their immigrant status? Historically, any community is more prosperous the better educated its populace is. Better educated people earn more money and contribute more to society.

I believe the xenophobes are shortsighted. As the baby boom generation retires, we will need more, not fewer, taxpayers to help foot the bill, whether they are documented or not. It seems to me our community and state are better off if migrant children get educated and pay higher taxes. The higher tax revenue, in a relatively short time, would offset the in-state tuition benefit received. These students are not getting a free ride, they have to earn their way into college through diligent study just like anyone else. Shouldn't earning a high school diploma or college degree be proof enough that these children are worthy of citizenship?

Patrick A. Endres

Bel Air,

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