Obamnesty: Rewarding lawbreakers

To the Editor [of The New York Times]:

Two unanswered questions handicap the immigration debate: What is the goal of immigration policy? Who exactly is an immigrant?

President Obama hasn’t answered either question; nor have many of his critics. Our immigration policy should guard the territorial integrity of American borders and enhance the American economy. Adhering to these goals would disperse much fog around current disputation. Mr. Obama might tell us, for example, how many of his chosen four million speak English, and why a family relationship should outweigh skills an immigrant can bring to the American economy.

A fugitive is not an immigrant. To equate the two would equate someone who smashes a window to enter your living room with someone who knocks on your front door to make a request. That the intruder smiles and offers to mow your lawn does not negate his lawless act.

Tens of millions of foreigners over recent years have knocked on our door hoping for United States residency and have awaited the outcome. Decades ago I entered the United States on a student visa from Australia, and stayed on a J1 exchange visa. Later I applied to be an immigrant, and five years after receiving my green card, I got a certificate of citizenship. Far from begrudging the long wait and paperwork, I found the process an excellent test for the honor of United States citizenship.

We need immigrants and have laws to deal with the requests in line with our security and economic interests. It’s a terrible precedent to reward lawbreakers and insult the sincerity of true immigrants.

ROSS TERRILL, Boston, Nov. 24, 2014

The writer is a China expert at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.


  • Pete_Brewster

    The goal of immigration policy as practiced by the elites of most developed nations is to gradually replace their native populations with people who are content with lower living standards and are more tolerant of overt corruption, incompetence, kleptocracy and lack of accountability.

  • Freedom

    If the republicans do not act the party will split

  • Dana Garcia

    Why would anyone think the US needs immigrants, as the letter writer suggests? Twenty million Americans are either unemployed or cannot find a full time job. Furthermore, first world economies are transforming very rapidly to workplaces using more robots and computers and fewer human workers. We certainly don’t need millions of foreigners with third-world skills.

    Today, for example local news here in northern California had a piece about an Amazon.com warehouse in nearby Tracy that has switched to a robotic system to bring items to order packers to be assembled for shipment.


  • mauser 98

    Mitt admits it … a turncoat traitor.. full blown treason total amnesty

    “Romney Tells GOP: Pass Permanent Amnesty to Beat Obama”
    “swallow hard and pass a permanent amnesty bill in the wake of Obama’s executive amnesty,”