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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 3, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Immigration reform

Reform would hurt the job market

Paht Phrakonekham, a refugee from Laos, listens during a press conference that announced the start of a 24-hour community fast that calls for changes in the new Senate immigration bill. Hate Free Zone Washington, one of the organizers of the event, believes the bill needs family reunification and continued preference for family-based immigration, due-process rights and strong worker protections. The event was held Tuesday outside of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. [Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times.]

Paht Phrakonekham, a refugee from Laos, listens during a press conference that announced the start of a 24-hour community fast that calls for changes in the new Senate immigration bill. Hate Free Zone Washington, one of the organizers of the event, believes the bill needs family reunification and continued preference for family-based immigration, due-process rights and strong worker protections. The event was held Tuesday outside of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. [Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times.]

One of the consequences of immigration reform is typified by the woman in the article who intends to use her new legal status to quit cleaning houses and look for better-paying jobs to support her family. [“Seattle latest stop in national fast for immigration overhaul,” NW Monday, July 1.]

The end result will presumably be a reduction in the potential labor force for the lowest rungs on the economic ladder, and an expansion of those seeking to work further up the ladder.

While the shrinking labor force may increase pay for those at the bottom, it seems likely the increased number of those seeking work “higher up” will result in reduced wages and increased unemployment.

Bill Hirt, Bellevue

Reform is practical

Lest we forget, the exodus of many poor Mexican subsistence farmers to the U.S. significantly began with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other fast-track trade pacts negotiated by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. NAFTA was also the final step in the opening of the Mexican economy to U.S. companies, a process that began with President Reagan’s policies to promote our own economic growth.

Our southern border states are greatly impacted by the immigration of poor Mexicans. Now, conservative politicians, notably, former Govs. Jeb Bush, of Florida, and Haley Barbour, of Mississippi, support comprehensive immigration reform in the interest of economic development. Clearly, this is a nonpartisan issue.

These would-be American consumers are cut off from spending on food, clothing, cars and entertainment. In these arenas, neither the “trickle down” nor “trickle up” theories work. And the Obama administration’s aggressive deportation policies have reduced the number of immigrants to be absorbed. Practicality should rule, rather than prejudice.

Miriam Miller, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, Politics | Topics: conservative, development, economy

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