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The View From Inside




While Laszlo Revesz's efforts ("An Outsider's Insider," October 17) to improve the outlook for America's immigrants are commendable and worthy of our utmost respect, he appears to have misunderstood the position of our government and citizens regarding providing assistance to immigrants. Suggesting that our recent immigration laws represent a "form of hate" and then waving the racism flag is a tired and worn strategy to gain sympathy for one's cause and only serves to alienate the very people who could help further his mission.

Yes, this country was built on immigration. Yes, this country has benefited tremendously from its diversity. And yes, unfortunately there are those narrow-minded Americans who loathe immigrants simply because they are immigrants. Without question, racism abounds. But the so-called welfare bill and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Individual Responsibility Act are not racist in any way, shape, or form. Nor do they bar individuals from entering the USA or discourage their employment. Instead, they reflect the widely held and commonsensical view that our treasury shouldn't have an all-night self-service window open to anyone and everyone who cares to pick the fruit off the taxpayer tree. Perhaps Americans are merely fed up with the all-too-common notion that everyone deserves a handout just because, hey! We're in America now!

I fail to see how a man of integrity, which given his contribution to the immigrant community I'm sure Mr. Revesz is, can protest a bill that would make it a crime for individuals to lie about their citizenship in order to gain funds and benefits. Were I to forge a check, I'd likely end up in jail. What possible justification could there be for not applying the same standard to those individuals who would like to settle in our country and partake of its freedoms and opportunities?

Maybe my view is not the politically correct one and is indicative of my middle-class white-male mentality which has recently been hailed as the new Satan. But it reflects the experience of my parents and countless other immigrants who came to this country and demanded nothing but an opportunity to make it on their own. That they succeeded in doing--without handouts, without welfare, and without protest. Their secret? Hard work and personal responsibility. Not very fashionable these days, but still fairly effective.

Perhaps Mr. Revesz's efforts would be better directed toward gathering like-minded individuals and organizations to create an immigration-aid fund, which would almost certainly distribute funds and benefits far more efficiently and effectively than our government could anyway.

Mark M. Rostenko

Lincoln Park

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