Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

I was shocked and disgusted by the letter from Father James Flynn [Park Record, May 3] comparing the U.S. Immigration agents to the "death squads" of El Salvador, Chile and Argentina. Such emotional and inaccurate comparisons tend to distort a rational discussion on the current immigration problem and are an insult to those agents. Simply because the INS agents enforce the laws of the United States, which Father Flynn does not support, does not mean that they perform their jobs in an inappropriate or unethical manner.

I agree that our current immigration laws are obsolete and need to be changed, but not in the manner recommended by Father Flynn. Currently, the number of scientists and engineers who can legally enter the United States is limited and strongly enforced at 65,000. Because the United States is only graduating approximately 6,000 engineers each year, many high-tech businesses are advocating an increase to 115,000. There is currently a long waiting list of these highly educated individuals who already speak English and have jobs waiting but cannot get into the United States. Our high-tech industry and the U.S. economy and tax base would benefit from this infusion of qualified talent and the current limit should be increased.

On the other hand, we already have some seven to 20 million poorly educated, illegal aliens, doing menial and minimum-wage jobs. According to the Los Angeles Times, in L.A. County, 40 percent of all employees are not paying any taxes as they are generally illegal aliens working without a Green Card; 95 percent of all warrants for murder are for illegal aliens; two-thirds of all births in L.A. County are to illegal aliens and are paid for by the state; and nearly 60 percent of all HUD occupants are illegal aliens. In short, these people do not pay into or support the social services they use so frequently and are a burden on the current law enforcement and social service system. There is no reason to doubt that these statistics do not reflect the current situation in Utah or Summit County as 100 percent of the people on the Park City "most wanted" list are Hispanics who may be here illegally.

Finally, Father Flynn’s argument that NAFTA is to blame for the current plight of these illegal immigrants displays a lack of both the facts and common logic. Does Father Flynn really believe that NAFTA has resulted in good "high-paying" jobs from Mexico moving to the United States? Economists universally agree that NAFTA has resulted in an expansion of manufacturing and agricultural jobs in Mexico as the food and finished products can now move without tariffs into the U.S. and Canada. NAFTA, in and of itself, cannot solve the economic problems of Mexico but it has dramatically improved the current situation.

While Father Flynn has a moral duty to tend to the religious and corporal needs of his flock, he might consider that fewer "legal" immigrants, who would qualify for the better jobs that come with legal status, would be far better off than the many immigrants who are forced to live in fear and to work for substandard wages simply because they are here illegally.

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