Letter to editor, Michael Ries, entered 8/6

Have we become a nation in which our leaders continually lie? Are we so easily misled as to think immigration is the reason for our people being unemployed so we limit our immigration to only those who speak English, have a means to support their family without a job, or have a good job waiting for them. It appears we only want the rich highly educated immigrants. Had this been our immigration policy all along, we would be a nation of 60 to 70 million people. The vast majority of people immigrating to this country between the 1870 to 1950 were not the wealthy well educated people we are now saying we prefer to immigrate.

The reason for the lack of jobs in the Midwestern “Rust Belt” is due to automation and lower wages can be attributed to the degradation of labor unions and their loss of power. The growth of the Middle Class can be traced to the growth of labor unions. The reason most large manufacturers provide health care is because of labor unions. The current cry from manufacturing is the lack of skilled workers. It was labor unions that helped provide training through apprenticeship programs. The manufacturing and construction industries as well as the GOP have railed for years to reduce labor cost. They have been successful in driving down labor wages and benefits to the point it takes two people working to provide the income formerly earned by one person.

We are beginning to see the impact a strict immigration policy is imposing. California growers are starting to experience the lack of labor to pick crops which will not only impact farmers’ incomes, but increase the cost to the American consumer. Georgia tried a crackdown on immigrants and it cost their economy billions of dollars.

Is this what we have become, a nation of immigrants who no longer wish to provide that opportunity to others?

Michael Ries, Burlington