Letter to the editor: Immigration valuable to our country
To the editor:
I recently read an opinion piece by Lori Sturdevant in the June 25 issue of the Star Tribune entitled "Immigration and the governor's race." It provided much grist for the mill regarding immigration issues at both the state and local levels. What I found most interesting was the information provided by Bill Blazer, a senior vice president for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and "one of the state's leading voices for economically smart immigration reform," the opinion piece said. Here are a few examples:
• Right now finding enough talent is an enormous issue for Minnesota businesses
• An increasing number of businesses depend on immigrant workers at every skill level
• Without immigration in the last decade, Minnesota would have seen an out migration of working age people
• According to a 2013 study, without immigrants, the state would lose $5 billion in annual consumer spending and $800 million a year in state and local tax revenue
Wouldn't it be interesting to see a breakdown by county of the effect of immigrants in the last decade on consumer spending and local tax revenue in Stevens County? I'm betting it would only increase our appreciation for the positive contributions immigrants (including our ancestors) have consistently made to making America a great mixture of cultures and opportunity for all. I offer a heartfelt thanks to all immigrants past and present, while also offering my heartfelt "mea culpa" to the first people who lived here for the disrespect we continue to show their culture and land.
In any event, I think it may be time for Sen. Westrom and Rep. Backer to start seeing our immigrants as the tremendous assets they are rather than costly problems. We are richer and blessed in more ways than one by having them as our neighbors. The real 'witch hunt' going on these days is against well-intentioned refugees seeking safe harbor in a country with a longstanding tradition of providing such a harbor...documented or not.
As my mother, a daughter of Irish immigrants, often reminded her 12 children, "There but for the grace of God go I."