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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Foreign workers: Is it fair to give benefits to immigrants?

State employees get cuts while foreigners get free tuition

Why does the state feel it is so beneficial to give tuition breaks to foreign professionals, their spouses and children? I am an employee at the University of Washington, and my wife and I receive a tuition exemption.

My children — who are now at and close to college age — don’t receive any tuition break. They’re the future of this country and deserve that break. As an employee, it is beyond my financial means to send my children to the UW, though I would like to. There is no exemption even at the community-college level.

I was born in this country. I live and work here. I pay my taxes. Foreigners go to work at Microsoft and Amazon (who seem to have a state representative or two in their back pocket) and receive preferential treatment.

What do state employees get? A 5 percent to 10 percent wage cut, a governor who denies us a fair contract, not even community-college tuition for our children and treatment as second-class citizens at a so-called “world-class” institution.

It seems to me that foreign professionals are being treated better than American blue-collar workers.

— Phillip R. Salvador, Shoreline

Isn’t giving jobs to best candidate at capitalism’s core?

Kathleen E. Bukoskey sees no benefit [“Let’s not give our jobs away,” Opinion, Northwest Voices, July 2] from 12 visa programs that bring foreigners, including teachers, to the U.S. to study and work.

Consider this: A typical high-school student in Europe is multilingual and already knows calculus. Exchange teachers from the U.S. find themselves deficient to teach at the same level in Europe, where students’ math skills exceed theirs. At a respected American university, a foreign instructor may get better results from students than a local professor who wrote the textbook, and Asian students are the only ones to be found in its libraries and laboratories on weekends. American high-tech companies, starving for talent, establish research centers in Canada, Japan and China to foster competition and creativity.

It’s funny how some people who advocate capitalism run to the government for help when competition, capitalism’s core, bites them in a tender spot. Even funnier is that they blame immigration for our loss of jobs, while at the same time, other countries worry about emigration of talent, or “brain drain.”

Most of our problem is homegrown. Greedy corporate executives knowingly employ illegal, low-skilled workers to avoid paying decent wages, and xenophobic government policies send foreign university graduates back to their country of origin, leaving disproportionate numbers of low-skilled natives who are too proud or lazy to apply for menial jobs and highly educated con-artists who become greedy corporate executives.

— James Bruner, Oak Harbor

Comments | More in Immigration, Labor, Microsoft, University of Washington


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