Letters to the Editor

Take long-term view on immigrant children

I'm a member of Beaufort County's new Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, and decided to write because I've been hearing comments about how Latinos immigrate to the U.S. to have their children reap the benefits this country offers its citizens.

As your readers probably know, the children of immigrants, whether coming from Latin America or elsewhere in the world, are considered American citizens if they are born in the U.S. And, yes, they are able to apply and receive, if they qualify, food stamps, Medicaid and other assistance available to any American citizen. They just need to follow the same procedures as any other American citizen.

However, many people don't realize that their parents, if undocumented, aren't eligible for any of those benefits -- period.

I've been thinking of this while waiting to see the results of the 2010 census. The U.S. population is growing older and the pool of workers contributing to the Social Security system is shrinking.

Perhaps we should consider immigrants having children as positive because these children will grow into adults who work and help maintain us when we are old.

Yes, the children of some undocumented parents are receiving government assistance. However, these American children are our future, and we should think long term. Instead of creating hatred, let's concentrate on making sure all children receive the education they deserve, both at home and at school, so they are better prepared to become productive, working adults.

Yajaira Benet-Smith Beaufort