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Letter To The Editor: Blaming Downfall Of American Middle Class On Immigration Is Quite An Exaggeration

on November 30, 2017 - 4:00am
Los Alamos
In a recent letter, Kathleene Parker (link) touches on a lot of history and social issues that are much bigger than what the school board addressed in a recent resolution. The issue they addressed is whether or not the school system is an appropriate venue for enforcing immigration law. In the resolution, they cited legal precedents and professional norms that guided their decision. I agree with the school board that the school system is an inappropriate venue for enforcing immigration law. Perhaps this resolution is a moot point since, as far as I know, ICE agents are not sweeping through the halls of our schools. If it will bring some clarity to staff and students then I don't see the harm.
Parker correctly points out that immigration policy does not fit neatly into "liberal" or "conservative" ideologies. The two themes that she emphasizes are the role of immigration in the domestic labor market and the role of immigration and population on the environment. I agree that both of these aspects of immigration are important.  However, blaming the downfall of the American middle class on immigration is quite an exaggeration.
There are many factors, not all of which I completely understand.  Immigrants are just a convenient scapegoat. There was a time when people like my ancestors were similarly scapegoated, yet this country survived and even thrived. The truth is that the interests of the American lower and middle classes are much more aligned with that of immigrants than the types of people we find in the White House today. It may seem like an easy solution that fewer workers in this country means lower unemployment and higher wages, but whether we like it or not, the economy is global and it's not that simple.

Regarding the environment, Parker (correctly) appears to say that population growth in this country has a greater environmental impact than it does in other countries due to our higher consumption rate and that immigrants tend to have higher birth rates than native born Americans. I too worry about population growth both in this country and globally and how it impacts our environment. It would be amazing if the school board could tackle this problem.