Letter to the editor: Use money sent to Central America for migrants
The government does not seem to have a plan to deal with current or long-term migration issues. We propose ending all federal aid to Central American countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, and perhaps Mexico. The theory is that the millions of dollars we send to these countries do not go for humanitarian, educational and health care needs, but into the pockets of corrupt leaders and their cronies.
Money saved could be used for building homes/towns in the U.S. for immigrants who will be permitted to work, with a path to citizenship if they agree to common-sense rules such as learning English, getting an education or learning a trade/skill, not committing crimes and not selling/taking drugs. These towns could be built by the immigrants themselves, volunteer organizations and college students (with an incentive of loan forgiveness).
In a Teach for America-type program, college graduates and retired business owners/entrepreneurs could teach migrants English and other subjects necessary to obtain at least a high school diploma. Immigrants could be taught skills for such occupations as computer coding and operations, nursing assistant and truck driver, all needed in our employment ranks. They could fill high-demand unskilled positions in landscaping, agriculture and hospitality.
Volunteers with appropriate skills could help immigrants organize governmental and community structures in their towns, eventually merging into other communities to make immigrants part of the American fabric.
Key components are proper vetting to keep criminals out, meaningful education/training and ensuring a safe place to live and grow in the American traditions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Mark L. Heckman is a board member of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals and a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor. Jane Heckman is a retired teacher and community volunteer.