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Neighbor to Neighbor: Immigrants are welcome, but we need regulations

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Over the years, I have tried to call to the attention or political officials and the general public, current and potential dangers, as did many others. Sometimes momentary interest was expressed and sometimes criticism was immediate. As the saying goes, “None is so deaf as he who will not hear.”

The June 28, 2001 issue of this newspaper carried one such column written by me. In it I wrote: “Congress and our former President, (Johnson) have made it possible, and in fact, have encouraged floods of people coming to our area without first providing means for housing, schools, sanitary facilities, language training, or acquainting them with laws they should know, or familiarizing them with customs that are important to U.S. citizens including respect for our country and our flag. Congress seems to be closing eyes and ears to the vox populi, saying this situation is unfair to all concerned - except, maybe, the politicians who are garnering the votes they have sought without regard to the people or, more importantly, the country.”

In spite of much previous support indicated in my columns for people of many different national backgrounds, (often those who are merchants in my area), I was accused of being “anti-immigrant.” Another TimesLedger columnist, who is an immigrant who writes appreciatively about what this country has afforded him and others, felt I had been “unfair” and said, “Condescending attitudes and generalizations hurt everyone.”

I was not the only one who had tried to convince people to be prudent. Mayor Giuliani, in his wise efforts to try to minimize the possibility of a ground attack on vital parts of the city by terrorists, was roundly criticized by some members of the New York City Council. The critics now are silent...at least temporarily.

Shortly before that infamous Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I read that my Congressman was preparing to welcome as many new immigrants as possible, legal or illegal, even after noting that crime would probably increase, as would problems with education, housing, health and infrastructure, Why is there such a rush to create more trouble before we have learned to control the problems we have already? Before President Johnson signed the “Immigration Reform Act” that had been voted by Congress as quietly as they had voted their own raises from time to time, immigrants were still welcomed to this country. They were not, however, scooped in. They were given health checks and, in fact, were turned away even if they had pink eye, a highly contagious conjunctivitis.

One recent night, while I was waiting for the bus, a stranger started a conversation, telling me that he had contracted tuberculosis two years ago while serving in an African army. He admitted that it was highly contagious but thought he was free of it now because his lung had been removed.

I walked back into the hospital I had just left and told some of the staff but, of course, they were as frustrated as I was at that point.

As for crime, before the Immigration Reform Act, those who wanted to come here were identified at port of entry with a number and with a court number. They had to pass background checks. They had to have a sponsor who would ensure the person had adequate housing and support. They were encouraged to learn the things they would find helpful and necessary about our language and customs.

Now, this country has been horrifically violated because some very wicked people came here, were welcomed, and were even taught by unwitting instructors how to help try to destroy the country, the city and many of the people that citizens and immigrants loyal to this country hold dear.

We need dedication to the protection of this country and its people.

And we need the help of the Higher Power.

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