Amnesty: How it has worked out

Published on April 26th, 2012

Re " ‘Amnesty,’ not a four-letter word," Opinion, Feb. 10
Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2012

Jack Shakely reminds us that under President Reagan, amnesty was offered to illegal immigrants. It was promoted as the fix for border trespassing; it was to be a one-time measure with strict enforcement of our laws, which would thereafter be the norm.
Twenty-five years later, we are still being overrun by those who feel entitled to decide who should dwell here, and we still have a government that refuses to enforce existing immigration laws. Amnesty is a Sisyphean game that demands citizens push the amnesty rock up the hill again and again. It is time to refuse to play this game.
Tim Aaronson
El Cerrito, Calif.

Shakely’s emotional call for another amnesty ignores the reality of the numbers. California’s population already exceeds Canada’s; America already has the third-largest population on Earth.

We do immigrants no favor by accepting increasing numbers of them until we all starve together, a limit nature will enforce unless Americans hold our population at a sustainable level. Now that Americans plan their families, a stable population is indeed within reach, but only if Americans limit immigration.

Immigration cannot be limited if repeated amnesties allow immigrants themselves to decide how many of them may come. That’s why the 1986 amnesty, which Shakely wants to replicate, was promoted to the public as a one-time event, never to be repeated.
Kenneth Pasternack
Santa Barbara

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