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Letter to the Editor, Newsday, 12/12/02 — Darren Dragos

Immigration's Other Side
Thursday, December 12, 2002

Raymond Keating paints quite a tale of woe, were it not for the Northeast's staggering immigration (legal or not) population ["Embrace New Immigrants: Our Economy Depends on It," Viewpoints, Dec. 10]. According to him, they should all be embraced because it's morally right and essential for the well-being of our economy.

Exactly how is it morally right to embrace this entire class for the sake of exploiting it? According to the labor market study Keating quoted, all the labor force growth in the Northeast from 1990 to 2001 was accounted for by new immigrants, and were it not for them, the Northeast would have been down 1.3 million workers.

That isn't growth; that's stagnation of wages. The laws of economics tell us that when demand is up, competition for employees will drive wages up. This is exactly what is needed, especially in the Northeast, to keep our economy humming. How many people do you know who now work without medical coverage or a pension?

Pearl Kamer, chief economist for the Long Island Association, says, "We're not generating the young workers needed to replace those who are retiring." Needs some fine-tuning. After all, we're still making babies, aren't we? What we're not generating is exactly what the members of the Long Island Association wants: workers willing to slave away at pitifully paid, dead-end jobs with no health or pension benefits, or overtime, without complaint.

The United States is not the only beacon of hope for the oppressed masses throughout the world, and unfortunately we've already built our railroads, blasted through the purple mountains majesty and harvested all our forests. The only thing immigrants do for us now is keep wages and working conditions low. One country cannot be all things for all people.

Darren Dragos

Newsday Editor's Note: The writer is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 3. Northport