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LETTER: Immigration Reform Can Hurt Job Market

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In the last election I was the Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates' 71st District, which covers most of Richmond. I lost pretty bad and knew I was going to lose going into it, but I don't like seeing any candidate run unopposed.
One thing I heard over and over again while campaigning in the city was the need for more jobs ("Action Plan," News & Features, March 5). Of course this is the No. 1 problem in most parts of the country, so this is no surprise.

Another issue that I hear brought up is immigration reform. I'm worried that people on the lower rungs of society will be the most hurt by allowing more people into the job market. The vast majority of new immigrants are not college educated and will be competing with other citizens for manual labor jobs. Virginia citizens looking for work in construction, warehouses, etc., will find themselves competing with many more people now legally allowed to work.

Richmond is going through a really big growth in new apartments and condos in Shockoe Bottom. The other day I talked to a couple of guys on a construction crew working there, from Mexico and Honduras. I'm sure they are working here legally and only trying to earn a living for their family. I have traveled extensively in Central and South America. I understand they are only looking to better their families' lives. I just worry that the people who will be most effected by immigration reform will be Americans who are already having a hard time finding work.

Matthew Fitch



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