Granting legal status to millions of undocumented workers would expand and energize the economy [“The GOP’s crucible,” editorial, July 14]. However, rather than opening up opportunities for immigrants who seek primarily to be part of America’s mainstream, many Republicans seem bent on closing up the big tent they so fervently yearn to erect.

Immigration reform would generate billions in tax revenue, contribute to job creation, fuel home purchases and trigger increased consumer spending and higher salaries for most workers. As immigrants begin to reap the fruits of legalization, they will invest more in their own education, move on to better jobs and start businesses, accelerating the nation’s economic growth.

Studies have shown that immigration reform would help reduce the nation’s budgetary deficit and shore up Social Security. It would help create numerous jobs. For example, immigrants often take entry-level jobs, enabling native-born workers to be promoted to supervisory or management positions. They also tend to take jobs in which their skills are far superior to the tasks they undertake, thus enhancing their value to their employers and the overall economy.

Alejandro Becerra, Silver Spring

The writer is director of research at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

Regarding the July 16 front-page article “A free ride to U.S. — with costly risks”:

One issue that could become a significant “push factor” spurring more immigration to the United States is coffee rust, a plant disease that threatens the livelihoods of 1.4 million people. A significant number of Central Americans could see a 50 percent reduction in income. This type of economic shock has historically resulted in greater migration to the United States.

This issue is particularly potent for the Washington metropolitan area, which has a large and growing Central American community; census data show 500,000 Central American-origin residents in this area.

If we can help address “push factors” such as this, we can prevent increased costs and burdens here from migration. Our immigration-reform approach should be comprehensive and include more border security and more effective foreign assistance.

Michael Maxey, Fairfax