Black a Coward; Cracking Down on Employers Works

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 29, 2007

Dear Editor,
    This letter is in response to Louis Black's article "Immigration by the Numbers" [“Page Two,” Oct. 26]. Louis, just where did you get your information, or did you just pull opinions out of your rear orifice? Labeling people as racist just because they disagree with you is a bit of a stretch, even for you.
    I'm not too keen on a wall for enforcement, but cracking down on employers works. I will provide evidence – contrary to your article. Initiatives in both Harrisburg, Pa., and Tulsa, Okla., have been very successful at expelling illegal immigrants. Problem is, they just move on to another city, like, let's say, Austin. Drying up the jobs and watching them leave is not a pipe dream – it's a reality in those communities.
    I own my own business, and I do not employ any illegal immigrants. I do, however, employ several workers of Hispanic descent. But I must be a racist, because you said so. Truth is all of us are subsidizing the service industry, food industry, and the construction industry. Let those industries stand on their own merit, not through cheap labor. The marginal ones would go under; that's business. Through higher property taxes, higher insurance rates, and taxes in general, we've been subsidizing these industries for years. Let's stop and make them play by the rules.
    You have no proof that employer enforcement wouldn't work, so you won't even engage in a debate. How cowardly of you.
Bill Totah
   [Louis Black responds: I did not say all those that oppose illegal immigration are racists, just many of them. If you really believe that a consistent ongoing crackdown on employers will cause 12 million people to leave the United States (without even discussing the consequences of losing 12 million people), my hat is off to you. Yes, cities can successfully crack down, but a nationwide campaign aimed at shedding every illegal immigrant would be unbelievably expensive, would undoubtedly create a parade of civil rights abuses, and would economically impact any number of businesses and communities. The average is 140,000 people in each state. It may well be cowardly of me to dismiss out of hand the notion that employer enforcement will work. I was also called cowardly when I argued that invading Iraq would be a disaster. But look, you're probably right, certainly this country's track record on massive social engineering is impressive: prohibition, the War on Drugs, welfare, and busing for the purposes of integration all worked out so well.]
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle