Letter to Congressman Lamar Smith

Letters to the Editor
Wall Street Journal
200 Liberty Street
New York, New York, 10281

Dear Editor,

Representative Lamar Smith’s letter of January 13 reduces the immigration debate to a series of buzzwords. He seeks to tar me as a defender of “illegal immigrants” and “open borders” and as a proponent of “mass immigration”. The truth is that long before Mr. Smith was elected to Congress, I served as a Trial Attorney with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. I remain proud of my role in vigorously enforcing our immigration laws, and continue to favor a balanced and limited immigration policy.

However, the recent changes in our immigration laws promoted by Mr. Smith are unduly punitive and serve to separate families and to hamper the ability of American companies to stay competitive by inhibiting their ability to hire the best and the brightest employees.

Representative Smith’s comments about anti-AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho and his family ring hollow. If anyone is in favor of rolling up the Welcome Mat to legal immigrants who have played by the rules, it is Mr. Smith. Last spring, I watched proudly from the citizens’ Gallery of the House of Representatives as that body roundly defeated a proposal by Mr. Smith to cut immigration quotas, currently less than one-third of one percent of the U.S population, by over 30%.

When will Mr. Smith and other immigration restrictionists realize that immigration is not a zero-sum game? Immigrants start businesses, create jobs and contribute to America. Welcoming those who want to roll up their sleeves and work hard should not be a partisan issue. The decision of the Republican leadership to name pro-immigrant Senator Spencer Abraham (R-Mich) as the Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee in the Upper House is a step in the right direction.

In the words of former President Reagan, “America stands unique in the world, the only country not founded on race, but on a way – an ideal. Not in spite of, but because of our polyglot background, we have had all the strength in the world. This is the American way.”

Carl Shusterman
Los Angeles


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