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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Immigrants have been improving U.S. society for some time

Carlos Estrada Alamo’s guest column inspired by President Obama’s immigration reform actions [“My journey from an undocumented immigrant to Harvard Medical School,” Opinion, Nov. 27] articulately demonstrates the value that immigrants can bring to our society.

At any given time, the legal status of an immigrant in the U.S. is not principally determined by the immigrant’s virtue, value or lack thereof. That status is determined by the immigration laws and quotas applicable at the time. And those laws and quotas are set according to the current immigration paradigm determined by prevailing public perceptions regarding job security, national security and general xenophobia.

Clearly, formerly “illegal” residents like Alamo (soon to be Dr. Alamo) bring great value to our society, and so will many others benefiting from Obama’s actions. As cannot be pointed out enough, immigrants have moved and made this country, from the Irish immigration of the mid-1800s to the Central and Eastern European Jews through the early 20th century to those fleeing the oppression of Nazi-occupied Europe to immigrants of the present day.

As it is usually used in political discourse, an immigrant’s status as “legal” or “illegal” is important only to those supporting the current immigration paradigm. Legal or illegal, immigrants have made contributions that have improved society as a whole. My family, here under color of law since 1621, support the inclusion of immigrants like Alamo and so many others in our society for all our benefit.

Anthony Claiborne, Bellevue

Comments | More in Immigration | Topics: Anthony Claiborne, Carlos Estrada Alamo, immigration

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