LETTER: While laws need revising, immigration not a threat

To the editor:

Many immigrant workers, documented or not, perform the jobs that Americans are not willing to do. Jobs like harvesting crops or processing poultry. Talented foreigners are in demand, as well, for skills that not enough Americans are ready to do.

Robert Lee’s Jan. 6 piece spotlighted some genuine concerns about “chain migration.” Let’s lend him a hand in looking more broadly at the issue.

The United States is not the only nation attracting needed foreign-born talent. We are competing with Canada, Australia, Europe and other developed nations. It could be the price of a green card, or other favored status for a family member, that wins the competition. Or it could be the talented “chain” immigré who benefits us.

Consider, are you more likely to have a medical condition successfully addressed by a skilled immigrant doctor who was allowed to bring along a spouse or parent; or, have an automotive issue solved by a foreign-born technician who followed a sibling here, than you are to fall victim of a terrorist “chain” immigrant?

A 2016 Cato Institute study showed your chances of being killed on our soil by a foreign-born terrorist is about 3.5 million to one.

I agree that our immigration laws need revising. In fact, a 2013 U.S. Senate bill provided, among other improvements, a merit-based points system emphasizing better education and skills from future immigrants. Alas, fear of too much credit for President Obama killed the bill in the U.S. House.

Worth a look, too, in Mr. Lee’s immigration studies could be GOP U.S. Sen. S. I. Hayakawa’s proposed 1981 constitutional amendment establishing English as our official language. Of Japanese ancestry, the Canadian-born Hayakawa was a professor of linguistics who understood language’s importance to national identity.

Could his amendment have been effective in better inculcating immigrants into our society?

As President Trump joins Mr. Lee’s concerns about chain migration, Mr. Trump should recall how he has benefited from the “chain.” Granddad Friedrich Trump followed his sister to America’s shores, from Germany, in the 1880s. Trump’s mother followed her two sisters here, from Scotland, over 80 years ago.

But for chain migration, indeed, there may not have been a Donald J. Trump.

Douglas Smith