Rules for immigrants

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Regarding recent letters about Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus": Although the poem on the Statue of Liberty stated that we would welcome those "yearning to breathe free," the United States had taken the stance that you needed to have an occupation we needed and a sponsor for five years, so the immigrant would not become a public burden. My grandparents and others came here under those restrictions. They were also required to learn the English language and American history. There were no bilingual requirements placed on the citizens of this country. If you wanted to communicate, you learned English.

There was, however, a system by which "political asylum" could be granted. This was closely monitored by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Their reports had to be submitted to Congress. This system worked quite well, until certain congressmen and congresswomen decided to open the floodgates. I believe this was in the 1960s.

JEROME W. SILVERSTEIN
Penn Hills


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