AL FRYE: Immigration systems is broken, needs to be fixed

TO THE EDITOR:

In his Friday letter, Mr. Sutter asked us to “Stop and take a look at where the country is headed”. I couldn’t agree more.

My disagreements begin with his ideas that disadvantaged members of our community are “working the system”. Our system failed these people before they needed public assistance. It is easy to say they should “work any job not just a job of their liking”. The truth is, often through no fault of their own, they are lacking basic life skills, education, transportation, housing, child care, to be able to work. Few people want a “free lunch”. The assistance they need is job/vocational training and educational opportunities. No one chooses to be poor.

My main disagreement relates to Mr. Sutter’s ideas about our immigration system. Mr. Sutter, the reason your grandfather was allowed to enter this country legally was because the government had an organized operation at Ellis Island which allowed emigres to be processed in an orderly fashion and given a path to citizenship. It is immigrants like your grandfather that made this country what it is today.

Most refugees attempting to enter the U.S. at the southern border wish to enter as your grandfather did, legally. And their dream also is to raise their families, pay their bills, learn English and “Thank God for the opportunity afforded them in the U.S.”.

One thing we do agree on is that our system is broken. Rather than build barriers, let’s build a system that works like Ellis Island did for your grandfather. We don’t need more walls. We need more staff, advocates and judges to help ease the back-up that we are now experiencing. Much like disadvantaged Americans, immigrants to this country want to work hard, raise a family and pay their taxes. Few people realize that most undocumented workers pay state, local, federal and social security taxes. In fact, according to the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, they pay over $12 billion a year to social security that they will never collect.

My biggest issue is Mr. Sutter’s statement that, “It was suspected that 50,000 undocumented people voted in Texas”. A Google search will show that this is an “alternative fact” that is not true. Texas Attorney General Paxton, the day after announcing that “58,000 people had voted illegally in Texas,” said the state had “mistakenly” called into question the citizenship status of thousands of voters. Though the investigation in Texas is not complete, in Colorado and Florida similar allegations have been proven false. In fact, after proper investigations it was found that less than 1% of the original numbers were “possibly” not eligible to vote. There is little evidence that those people actually did vote.

While I respect Mr. Sutter’s right to voice his opinions, I think that in these times where facts seem to be in the “eye of the beholder”, we need to dig deeper to find the real truth.

Al Frye

Manistee

 

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