November 11, 2002

Dear Ms. Chavez:

There are already an estimated 10 million illegals who supposidly are doing  the work that "Amercans won't do." So why do we need a guest worker program? The truth is that newly arrived illegals do the work that the 10 million illegals already here won't do either. Most workers on a quest worker program would likely forfeit an pay withheld and go AWAL and get a job that is not so back breaking. Why not, after all, it's legal to be illegal in the U.S. What you will have is an endless need for new guest workers.

Let me tell you a true story about my brother-in-law.

When MY wife Ines and I visited her family in Mexico in January of 2000, four of Ines' siblings and three of their children ranging in age from 8 to 16, produced their birth certificates and asked that we petition for their legal immigration to the U.S. Since Ines is a U.S. citizen, she can petition for her siblings and her parents, but not her siblings' children. The children were very disappointed, I told them that it would take many years, but once their parents (Ines' siblings) immigrated to the U.S., they in turn could petition for their children. This is known as family reunification. Immigration reformers call this "chain immigration."

Two months later after our return to Van Nuys, Ines received a telephone call from her brother Alejandro, the oldest of ten siblings. Ines was shocked to find that he was in Oxnard, California. Alejandro had joined the ranks among illegal aliens by entering the U.S. for a job which would allow him to send money home in support of his family -- in spite of the fact that Ines had started the petitioning process to get Alejandro to the U.S. legally.

Ines, Mary (Ines' sister who was legally visiting from Mexico), and I went to visit Alejandro at an Oxnard park where he was an ice cream vendor (paleta). His story angered me against our politicians and those who excuse illegal immigration in the name of compassion.

Two months earlier about the time Ines and I had left for home, Alejandro was approached by a "friend" who turned out to be a recruiter for a smuggling ring. He told Alejandro that he would recommend him for a job in California. The recruiter gave Alejandro the "milk and honey" sale's pitch and told him that all expenses including air fare, coyote service, and housing, would be taken care of by his "friends" in Oxnard. In return, Alejandro would pay the friends back by having payments deducted from his pay. Part of the pitch was that he would not have to fear deportation because the immigration laws in the U.S. are not enforced (and the recruiter was right!). It sounded so attractive to Alejandro, and being impatient, he decided he didn't want to wait to come legally and "signed up."

Alejandro was an indentured servant. He finally paid off his dept and quickly found a job that was not as menial and paid more. Then, his illegal entry was rewarded later that year when he became eligible for a 245(i) provision so that Ines could apply for his legal status without him having to go back to Mexico -- just what he expected, but sooner than he thought.

I was happy for Alejandro.

When the news of Alejandro's good fortune reached his family in Mexico, it was not long before two more of Ines' brothers, Andres and Miguel, arrived illegally. Andres arrived before Miguel and was able to get in on the 245(I). Miguel, who arrived this year, expects to get in on a future 245(i) or amnesty.

What is significant is that all three of her brothers were eligible for legal immigration but because it is legal to be illegal in the U.S. and the perception that a future 245(i) or amnesty is likely, why should they have waited many years to immigrate when they could do it now with impunity.

Your assumption that Mexicans and other foreigners come just for jobs deserves challenge. There are many more reasons to immigrate to the U.S. than just for a job. My wife Ines, who quit a job in Mexico city that she held for eleven years, arrived to Southern California in 1989 as an illegal alien. Although she had a good job (for Mexico), she wanted a "better life."

A guest worker program that you advocate would be nothing more than a cheaper way to get to the U.S. than to have to pay a coyote. Such a program would cause the present illegal alien explosion to escalate -- I estimate that you could expect 30 million illegals in the next 10 years.

Hal Netkin