Letter to Seattle Post Intelligencer, printed December 4, 1996

Dear Editor:

Richard Pelto and Ronald Angel wrote letters (Nov 30) complaining about the negative effects of immigration. They mention crowded freeways, schools and prisons; dirty air & water; overflowing landfills, etc. I agree those are real problems and need to be dealt with.

However, with all due respect, I would like to propose a simpler solution than combating immigrants. They could move to South Dakota. With the sale of their homes, they could buy plenty of land in one of the under-populated parts of this country. The truth is most of us prefer to live in highly populated areas. Why? Because people create opportunities for each other: better hospitals, universities, stores, libraries, entertainment and jobs.

Mr. Pelto and other members of "Citizens for Immigration Control" no doubt appreciate a meal out from time to time. That meal would cost a lot more were it not for immigrants who cook, serve and clean the tables—as well as harvest most of the food. There is certain hypocrisy here: we enjoy the benefits of low cost immigrant labor, but we blame them for our economic problems.

As pastor of a congregation with many immigrants, I can vouch that not one is here on a vacation. They want to work and they find jobs because our local economy needs their labor. It is counter-productive to make it difficult for them to obtain documents.

I was born and raised in Western Washington. I love this area as much as Mr. Pelto and Mr. Angel, but an accident of birth does not give me more rights than a person newly arrived from California—or anywhere else.


Fr. Phillip Bloom