Will tolerance erode?


To the Editor:

Those who sympathize with illegal immigrants commonly argue that these illegals are hard-working men and women who take jobs that Americans are unwilling to accept, that their work is of great value to the American economy, and that on net balance their presence here is beneficial to American society.

The recent influx of more than 50,000 young children and adolescents across our southern border does not fit this narrative. These young people will not be doing work that increases our Gross Domestic Product. They are dependents who must be provided with food, housing, clothing, education, and medical care at the expense of the American public. Indeed, they may well receive better medical care than millions of American citizens who have no medical insurance.

These young people are coming here in the expectation that once they have set foot on American soil, the kind hearts of the American people will allow them to remain here for the rest of their lives. If we send none of them back, or send back only a small fraction of these arrivals, this will be solid evidence that their expectation is well-founded. In which case we can plausibly anticipate that many thousands more children will be sent here next year and every year thereafter for the indefinite future.

What will this cost the American public? President Obama has now asked Congress for $3.7 billion to take care of these children. How many billions will he ask for in 2015? How many billions will his successor in office ask for in 2017 and succeeding years?

Americans proudly think of themselves as a generous people with capacious and warm hearts. Yet, as the price tag for our generosity rises, there is a possibility that our tolerance for illegal immigration will suffer some erosion.

R.E.L. Knight

West Tisbury