March 7, 2008

Letters to the Editor

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Properly defining words would help in public discourse about immigration

I would like to comment on the “Be Our Guest” column in the Feb. 22 issue of The Criterion.

In the column, the letter writer used the word immigration 10 times with no modifier.

I am a strong believer in legal immigration, and I am equally opposed to illegal immigration.

In the past, when you used the word immigration it always meant legal immigration. But that has changed.

Now, if you wish to clearly express your feelings about immigration you have to identify whether you are talking about a legal or illegal status.

I also do not understand why giving support to illegal immigrants is the Christian thing to do.

Don’t we understand that by supporting these uninvited guests we place them in the most egregious situation imaginable? By breaking the law to enter this country, followed by obtaining illegal documentation—as many do—puts them in a position to be abused by many people, including some Christians.

Why would we want to encourage anyone to work for below livable wages, live in substandard housing conditions and be in constant fear of deportation?

I certainly agree there are those who abuse illegal immigrants for their own self-interest. But let’s not forget that illegal immigration is all about self-interest.

They, for the most part, are not interested in the welfare of this country, but only in what they can financially gain while working in this country.

They do not want to assimilate into our society, learn our language or permanently add to its diverse culture.

I also agree that the situation is very complex. This complexity is the result of our political leaders neglecting the problem of illegal immigration for 40 to 50 years and, might I add, for their own self-interest.

My hope is that public discussion on this matter will include precise use of words that will clearly define its position. Then maybe we can start understanding and solving this problem.

- Leo Rhoda, Indianapolis

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