its supporters is a good question.nAll the data suggest that culture is resistant to change. Ansystem of belief like ours, with a strong element ofncross-culturally attractive values, is probably even morenimpervious to change. Obviously, there is some limit to anculture’s ability to absorb new immigrants, and somennumerical limits each year would be prudent. Yet thenpresent limit could probably be doubled before we wouldnapproach that saturation point.nIf American culture has forced us Irish to admire Englishnvalues and to support political institutions derived fromnthem — we who have been at war with the English fornmillennia—why should one despair of others being absorbednby that culture? We Irish, like other Americans,nsupport this culture — yes, because it is ours, but primarilynbecause it is fair, right, and it works. Just do not remind usntoo often that its origins are English, and we all just may benable to mount the defense of the culture so necessary to anfuture of peace and freedom. <^nRICHARD D. LAMMnFormer governor of ColoradonDirector of The Center for Public Policynand Contenvporary Issues,nUniversity of^ DenvernAmerica, I suggest, stands at a crossroads on the immigrationnquestion. We can either continue to bringninto America a mass of low-skilled immigrants or we cannreach down to train and employ our own poor. But wencannot do both, and shall have to decide.nI do not think it is even a close question. The underclassnin America is a growing, metastasizing cancer. We arenexperiencing an epidemic of teenage pregnancy, joblessness,ndrug use, crime — we all know the litany. Our urbannstreets have become battlefields, our ghettos breedingngrounds of discontent. This is a nation-threatening problem,nand it will either be solved or it will get much worse.nIt is my experience that it will not be solved without anmassive effort on the part of America to reach down andntrain and employ our own poor. It will not be easy. Many ofnour poor are very dysfunctional and will need lots of help.nBut they are our fellow citizens and our destinies arenintertwined. If we don’t solve this problem, and solve itnsoon, there will hardly be a livable city in our nation. To saynthat a large number of frustrated, disaffected, untrained,nunemployed, and increasingly violent citizens can be ignorednis like saying “your end of the boat is sinking.”nAmerica presently can too easily get its labor force fromnlegal and illegal immigrants. This is not an irrational act:nimmigrants are hard workers and often work for low wagesnand no benefits. Illegal immigrants will come to Americanand live in appalling conditions, accept payment in cash, donwithout any benefits and, if they complain, an employer cannturn them in to the Immigration Service. It is a fiinctionalnsource of labor to many Americans.nBut it is too often dysfunctional to America. WhatnAmerica does not need in the 1990’s is ten million unskillednimmigrants to move in and take our low-skill jobs. Americanshould turn from the Cold War to a domestic crusade tonsolve our problem of the dysfunctional poor. We must startnour own poor up the ladder of success, and thus a tight labornmarket is needed. A tight labor market is the best friend tonthe poor because it forces society to train and employ its ownnunemployed. Labor projections show a decline in thennumber of low-skill and blue-collar jobs that have startednother generations on the road to success. Whenever thesenjobs are available, they should be for our own unemployed.nOur nation does not lack people to fill our jobs: we lackntrained and hardworking people. I don’t mean to minimizenthe effort that American society and particularly Americannbusiness will have to make to rely more on our own poor. Itnis both frustrating and costly to train and employ our ownnunskilled labor. A myriad of problems will be encountered.nBut it can be done. Virtually every one of our economicncompetitors runs their economy without immigrants. Theynsolve their labor needs domestically and run economies thatnrecently have been performing better than our own.nWhat can be done? Plenty.nFirst, we can start to pick irnmigrants for their skills. Indon’t suggest we stop immigration. Instead, we should picknour immigrants not for what we can do for them, but fornwhat they can do for us. Every other immigrant-acceptingnnation has a point system that emphasizes the skills ofnimmigrants.nSecond, we must change the laudable but unrealisticnnational attitude that we can be the home of last resort to allnthe world’s poor. We can’t. We must choose among manynworthy people and, as long as we can’t accept everyone, whynnot accept the highest skilled?nThird, we can vigorously enforce employer sanctions andnstop illegal immigration.nMost importandy, we can turn our national resolve tontraining, educating, and employing our own poor. Therenshould not be a child in America needing Head Start fornwhom it is not available. We should put our best and mostnmotivating teachers into our poorest schools, even if we havento double their salaries. We must train and retrain—butnmost important we must reserve our own jobs for our ownnpoor. •^nnnJULY 1990/19n