Rethinking a proposal

Pawlentys immigration proposals recall racist legislation of the past.

In another politicized attempt to decrease the illegal immigrants in the state and increase the legal immigrants, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is seeking to increase H1B visas for those in the fields of science and technology. Because many immigrants must leave the country when they finish school, they often return home and do not come back to the United States. And, with only 65,000 visas available each year, this is a grim prospect for those who would like to use their knowledge in the United States.

But Pawlentyís move is an exclusive and racist one. The proposal is encouraging immigrants who study science and technology and turning away others. Itís as if to say other areas of study, unskilled or uneducated immigrants and others are not good enough to stay in the United States. This proposal recalls ideas from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, with which Chinese laborers were barred from immigrating to the United States, exempting teachers, students, merchants and travelers. Apparently a person with a science degree from India deserves citizenship more than a worker from Mexico.Excluding most and including some will not improve the international climate. Rather it will create a gloomy and racist atmosphere in Minnesota, losing diverse and valuable resources and talented minds that will go elsewhere for jobs.

Pawlenty needs to reconsider his plans. The governorís proposal to decrease illegal immigrants in Minnesota has created a storm of angry reaction in many communities, including the Somali, Hmong and Latino. Implications that illegal immigrants cause crime have suggested racial profiling. Some have argued that the Pawlenty administration has worsened the illegal immigration problem in Minnesota. He has also been accused of playing out political agenda in creating public policy that is at best ineffective. Pawlenty needs to develop a more constructive and less political way of solving illegal immigration issues. The way heís going about it will only continue exacerbating the problem.