Leopold Ndayisabye’s Nov. 9 op-ed makes a compelling case that immigrants require social welfare and public assistance to get established in America. Immigration to America is a difficult transition, and since we’ve decided our public policy is to invite a million new residents every year, then we are obligated to ease their transition. It raises the question, however, about whether such an immigration policy is wise.

America currently has $21.4 trillion of public debt and a budget shortfall of $779 billion last year. We have intractable poverty among our citizenry, unequal educational outcomes, an affordable-housing crisis, crowded emergency rooms, jails and schools, and crumbling infrastructure. I would suggest that settling more people to compete for limited social resources is not prudent. It reduces the available resources and opportunities for our own poor and huddled masses.

Sound immigration policy should focus on the welfare of current citizens and residents, including recent immigrants, and not add to the vast fiscal burden we are passing to future generations. The moral frisson we feel for Ndayisabye’s articulate gratitude is somewhat soured when one realizes we really never had the money we gave him; rather, we wrote an IOU that our children and his children will someday have to pay.

Christopher Reimer

treasurer, Mainers for Responsible Immigration


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