Ursula Lukas Slavic’s April 9 letter to the editor responding to an op-ed by Bob Casimiro, executive director of Mainers for Responsible Immigration, is well-intentioned but misguided. She makes a category error of viewing immigration as a moral imperative to expiate the guilt of past generations rather than a public policy to control a nation’s borders.

The point of immigration policy is to advance the interests and well-being of a nation’s people. Elected officials are responsible to citizens, who elected them and are obligated to craft policies to secure their safety and prosperity.

While utopian romanticism is pleasing to the heart, it is inappropriate for governance in the actual world. Immigration policy should be focused on who is allowed into the country, how many, what those people will be doing and how those people improve the lives of the citizens.

Romantics and ideologues view immigration into America as an obligation to the other 7 billion people of the Earth as reparations for sins of the past. This assignment of guilt and penance is mystical and religious and belongs in church, not in the halls of government and legislation.

I agree with her that most of America’s foreign interventions have been malignant, costly fiascos, but the appropriate corrective to that is to cease meddling in the affairs of others. It would be futile, foolish and disastrously bad governance to enact laws that allow mass settlement as penance for sins of the past. I propose instead that we leave the yearning for forgiveness in the confessional, and focus the control of our borders on our temporal needs and devices.

Charles Day


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