Letters to the Editor for the May 20, 2013 weekly print issue: The 1987 amnesty was a massive failure on all counts; the answer is to make interior America inhospitable to illegal immigrants. Certain oil companies have cultures of recklessness – and it's that culture that causes disasters.
Cincinnati and Cathlamet, Wash.
The April 8 cover story, "Amnesty: back to the future," understates the threat that a new amnesty for illegal immigrants poses to the United States. The 1987 amnesty was a massive failure on all counts: The border is still not secure, employers hire illegal immigrants without a credible deterrent, and the previous amnesty was subject to massive fraud.
If the government was unable to effectively monitor an amnesty of fewer than 3 million people then, what hope does it have to enforce an amnesty of a "known" 11 million or more now? Does the US have the resources or the will to investigate every immigrant's case for citizenship or application for asylum? If the risk is low and the benefit is high, common sense and past history suggest that people will lie.
Securing the border is a chimera and can never be the answer. The answer is to make interior America inhospitable to illegal immigrants. Birthright citizenship and chain migration also have to end. These policies haven't made sense in more than a century.
In her April 1 commentary, "Saving the Arctic's rich wildlife from an oil rush," Marilyn Heiman falls into the same trap as most critics of the oil industry who attribute disasters to human error or mechanical failure. While some accidents happen to any company, the truth of the matter is that certain oil companies have cultures of recklessness – and it's that culture that causes disasters. These companies are arrogant, aggressive, and not easily restrained. I was a senior manager of an international oil company that was not arrogrant, so I know the difference.
The only way to prevent oil spill disasters – especially a potential future spill in the Arctic – is to deny drilling permits to those companies that display a disregard for safety and good practices or a reckless culture. It is easy enough to establish who those companies are. That might wake them up.