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Letter to the Editor Re: "Immigrant Influx", January 12, 2001

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 01011259 (posted Jan. 12, 2001)"

January 12, 2001

Letters to the Editor
Deseret News
30 E. 100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-1930

To The Editor:

A recent article notes that immigrants are helping sustain U.S. population levels, but does not mention the positive contributions of those immigrants ("Immigrant Influx," January 7). Without immigration and immigrants, the historic economic boom of the past decade might not have happened, and taxpayer-funded retirement systems would be hard-pressed. The article also ignores data showing that recent immigrants are better educated, are learning English and buying homes sooner than earlier arrivals.

During the 1990s, the U.S. had the largest, most-sustained economic boom in history, the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 40 years, and the lowest interest rates in nearly half-a-century. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and other economists say immigrants are helping to sustain this historic economic growth. Census Director Kenneth Prewitt recently said that Social Security and Medicare would be in much worse financial shape without those immigrants, since without them the U.S. would have more retirees receiving benefits than younger people working and contributing to the systems.

Data complied by the Census Bureau reveals that the immigrants of the 1990s are different from those who came here earlier: they are catching up educationally much more rapidly than even government demographers thought possible (in fact, many have advanced and intermediate education); they are learning English at a faster rate; nearly 67% are homeowners; and many more are marrying U.S. citizens.

In short, immigrants are helping our economy and our taxpayer funded retirement systems. They are learning our language and customs faster than previous immigrants, are better educated than earlier groups of immigrants, and are homeowners.

Sincerely yours,

Leonor Perretta

Ms. Perretta, a partner at the law firm of Utzinger & Perretta, is Chairwoman of the Utah Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.