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To the Editor:

Those who worry about undocumented immigration seem to base their concern on three fears: (1) undocumented immigrants will take the jobs of native-born workers; (2) they are particularly prone to crime, thus increasing the danger to all of us; and (3) terrorists may be among them.

All of us have two roles relevant to the economy; we are both producers and consumers. As producers we take jobs and add to the gross national product. As consumers we add to the demand for goods and services, which creates jobs. It is estimated that the number of undocumented people in this country is somewhere between 10 and 12 million, roughly 3 percent of the total population. If they were all deported, the number of people competing for jobs would be reduced by that much, but so would be the number of jobs available, because we would be deporting part of the demand for goods and services. Native-born workers would not thereby improve their chances for a job by very much.

As to the fear of increased crime, all of the statistics available indicate that immigrants do less crime than native born residents. Undocumented immigrants are particularly careful not to call attention to themselves. Most of the crime they do commit are misdemeanors.

Our worst terrorist incident occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. The perpetrators came in legally on temporary visas (they weren't planning on staying long). They were mostly Saudi Arabians, and Saudi Arabia is not even on the banned immigrant list. If we wish to make the United States airtight when it comes to terrorists, we would have to build a wall, not only on the southern border, but also along the Canadian border and all our seacoasts. To be doubly sure, maybe we should also put a dome over the entire country.

Larry Lowther



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