To the editor:
I should like to respond to Cal Thomas' column: "The illegal immigration threat," (Journal-World, June 14). In his column, Thomas criticizes President Bush for not doing more to shut down the flow of illegal aliens who are crossing our borders from Mexico. He claims that they are bringing a form of tuberculosis that is resistant to average drugs, thus endangering the lives of native-born Americans.
Thomas also worries that illegal immigration will come back to "bite Republicans" in future elections if they "don't get a grip on it." He wants tougher officials who will stop such immigration before it is too late.
As a historian, I wonder if Thomas recalls how millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, have entered America and made it their home, including those ancestors of his own. When the native-born American Indians made any resistance, they were often brutally attacked and pushed to the least desirable lands. The infamous Cherokee "Trail of Tears" is only one such tragic example.
Moreover, thousands of Native Americans lost their lives from smallpox, tuberculosis and typhoid, which the immigrants brought with them.
Now that the situation is reversed, Cal Thomas feels force should be used to keep any non-Americans out. I wonder if Native Americans see the irony that Thomas misses so completely.
Surely there must be a more equitable solution that Mexico and the U.S. governments can work out together other than the one-sided "tough" force that Thomas suggests.