June 14, 2007

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Publisher's Note: Illegals needed
By†Jody Reese

The fact of the matter is that New Hampshire needs more immigrants. Just like the hard-working Irish, French Canadian, Greek, Italian and Polish immigrants who came here a century ago and with their bare hands built this state, this region, into what it is today, we need immigrants to continue that hard work so we can continue to grow and prosper.

We just arenít having enough kids to keep our society moving.

While itís true that many immigrants came here illegally, forcing them to leave is not only impossible but foolhardy. These are not welfare recipients or tax evaders. In most cases, these are some of the hardest-working people in the state, filling important service and construction jobs. Immigrants, including illegals, give over more in taxes than they receive in government benefits. These folks didnít sneak across the border to sit around. They came here to work and to build a better life for themselves and their families. And donít forget, we need them.

Itís true that illegal immigrants didnít follow the rules. They didnít wait in line. If they had, they would still be waiting and our economy and country ó and this state ó would have suffered. In this case, breaking the law was the only reasonable thing to do.

In the days of our immigrant relatives, you just came here, got approved and got a job. It didnít take 10 years and a lawyer to get permission to take a $8-an-hour job washing clothes.

This idea that we can be a vibrant country without immigration is downright dangerous. We need the labor. To be frank about it, we need the unskilled labor. On the other side of the debate, itís also true that we need more college-educated professionals as well to fill tech jobs.

If you think that immigrants are hurting your lot in life, think again. Immigration will allow home prices to continue to rise. Without all this illegal immigration, there would be fewer people buying homes. The same goes for any good or service.

So if you want to get angry at someone, get angry at our Congressmen for failing to create a reasonable immigration system or get angry with yourself for not voting for candidates who would have supported one.

One final note, fearing Spanish-speaking immigrants is just silly. Just like the Greek, Italian and French immigrants, the children of this group will learn English, not Spanish. English is not under siege, itís the dominant language all over the world. In Europe, itís the language that all kids must learn ó after their own, of course. In Asia, itís English that people want to learn.

We arenít victims here. Itís embarrassing to see Americans play the angry victim ó though we do it well. Letís see us stand up straight, look reality in the eye, and admit that we need and want immigrants.

Americaís a great country because of immigrants, not in spite of them.