Class Act

I was very moved and saddened by the plight of Yessica Galdamez [“In a Class by Themselves,” April]. Elizabeth Rau’s story put a face on the turmoil at Central Falls High School, reminding us that here are real young people, struggling to make something of themselves while politics and garbage swirl around them. Any young woman who would keep going, determined 
to “walk on that stage,” intuiting that if she made herself look like a serious person, she would be taken seriously, has what she needs to succeed in spite of the disgraceful so-called education she has been offered.

Thank you for showing us the human side of this sad story.

Dr. Rosa Maria Pegueros, J.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of History and Women’s 
Studies Program
University of Rhode Island

Blame Game

This letter is in response to a letter to the editor in the March issue [“Liberal Reporting,” Mailbox]. According to the letter, the state suffers high unemployment largely because of illegal immigration. This is a tired and inaccurate explanation for the state’s woes.

Illegal immigrants perform much of the vital, behind-the-scenes work Americans are unwilling to do, at least for the salary offered. Many work long hours in tedious, arduous jobs, often for less than the legal minimum wage and without the legal protections 
of safety, security and the right to be free from harrassment and racism. When illegal immigrants are paid legally with taxes deducted, they will never receive social security and other benefits — 
rather than milking the system, in many cases they’re helping to fund it. Even when illegal immigrants are paid under the table, they spend that currency here, boosting local economies. They buy goods and services, fill up their tanks, do laundry and rent apartments, benefiting all Rhode Islanders. You can harp forever on illegality, or you can focus on all of the good.

The true culprits for things like unemployment have a lot more to do with far-reaching, global issues, such 
as a decades-long shift of the manufacturing base from the United States to Mexico, Singapore and elsewhere.

Immigrants didn’t create these global forces; they are simply responding to them in the best ways, the only ways, that they can.

Dan Klotz
Murphysboro, IL