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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 1, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Economic solution

What is the problem?

Mary Sanchez’s “Immigrants are part of solution to nation’s economic woes” simply ignores reality [syndicated column, Dec. 28].

Let’s first look back just a few years to 2006 when the U.S. was experiencing rapid economic growth. There were 36.5 million people living in poverty. That translated into a 12.3 percent poverty rate.

In 1990, the population was smaller, and there were 33.6 million people in poverty, a rate of 13.5 percent. The increase from 1990 to 2006 was 2.9 million people. Hispanics accounted for all of that gain through open-border immigration policy.

Consider: From 1990 to 2006, the number of poor Hispanics increased 3.2 million, from 6 million to 9.2 million. Meanwhile, the number of non-Hispanic whites in poverty fell from 16.6 million (poverty rate: 8.8 percent) in 1990 to 16 million (8.2 percent) in 2006.

Among blacks, there was a decline from 9.8 million in 1990 (poverty rate: 31.9 percent) to 9 million (24.3 percent) in 2006. White and black poverty has risen somewhat since 2000 but is down over longer periods.

So what does this say about December 2008, in an economic downturn, and census figures that shows the Puget Sound region’s non-Hispanic population growth has held steady, while Hispanic/black population growth has grown significantly?

If immigration is the “solution” to economic woes, what is the problem?

— Richard Pelto, Kenmore

Comments | More in Economy, Immigration

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