Immigration  reform overdue

To the editor:

David Brooks, New York Times columnist, and Mark Shields’ sparring partner on NPR evening news, made a compelling case in Friday’s Times for comprehensive immigration reform as in the bill recently passed by the Senate. House Republicans prefer the status quo. Failure by the House to accept comprehensive reform, Brooks writes, “could be a tragedy for the country and political suicide for Republicans.”

Brooks observes “Conservatives say they want economic growth. The Senate immigration bill is the biggest pro-growth item on the agenda today.” The Congressional Budget Office estimates “the Senate bill would increase the gross domestic product by 3.3 percent” and per capita income by $1,800 in 10 years. They want reduced debt, reduced illegal immigration and “to avoid a European-style demographic collapse.” Government studies project that the Senate bill, not precluding modification along the way, would result in gigantic benefits in all four areas, “like Himalayan peaks compared with hill-size complaints conservatives are lodging.”

The Senate bill would reduce the federal deficit by $850 billion over the next 20 years” and ... “the 75-year Social Security shortfall by half-a-trillion dollars.” “... It would reduce illegal immigration by 33 to 50 percent ... a lot better than current law... It increases the number of high-skilled immigrants ...it takes millions of long-term resident families out of the shadows so they can lead more meaningful lives.”

There is need to deal with issues of enforcement, loopholes, waivers, exceptions and details, but this could delay this legislation forever. Brooks writes “at some point, this argument just becomes an excuse to oppose every piece of legislation, ever.” Particularly compelling is his observation that if Republicans want to win back Hispanic, Asian and other groups of voters they need to feel that they and their cultural identity are respected. “If Republicans reject immigration reform this will be a giant sign of disrespect and nothing else (they) say will ever be heard....Republicans can either help to shape (our) multiethnic future in a conservative direction ... or they can be the receding rear of a white America that is never coming back.” Amen.

John F. Vance


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