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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Poverty and immigration in the United States

Immigration increases poverty

For clearly good reasons, The Seattle Times has editorialized and covered poverty in this country and region well for many years. [“Column: SNAP and the GOP’s war on the poor,” Opinion, Sept. 24.]

But it somehow misses a significant factor at work: circular poverty, the role immigration policy plays in it. We encourage it in a variety of ways and never recognize that such things as the “war on poverty” advocated by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s accomplished nothing.

Just after the war on poverty was declared, we passed the 1965 Immigration Act, negating what had preceded it, when fewer immigrants were permitted entry, and most had an education equivalent to that of U.S. citizens. This had previously resulted in rapid assimilation without burdening our welfare system.

Johnson’s legislation was followed by a law that allowed in more of the world’s undereducated poor people. Now many of these immigrants are welfare recipients or those now meeting the poverty definition.

This information is important today, since Congress is debating immigration bill S. 744, which would provide legal status and allow entry to millions of mostly poor immigrants.

Why would Congress want to add millions of people living in poverty to the U.S.?

Richard Pelto, Kenmore

Comments | More in Immigration | Topics: Bill 744, GOP, immigration

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