Letter: Not wanted

YOU ARE right to criticise the stringency of the US immigration authorities in rejecting people with criminal records (Leading article, 14 March). However, their prejudices are nothing compared with ours. At one time citizens of the US were permitted to make their homes here without formality but ever since the discriminatory 1948 Commonwealth Immigration Act, giving the right of abode in the UK to only those people who were born in places coloured pink on obsolete maps, it has been nearly impossible for Americans to live here.

Notwithstanding our common language, or the fact that the US is the favoured country for British emigrants, or that they are our most important trading partner, or that they made great sacrifices in two world wars, the few who want to move here are rejected on grounds of nationality unless they are women who marry British men. You rightly castigate US official memories which stretch back to the youthful peccadilloes of would- be immigrants. But British ones stretch back to the Boston Tea Party.

PHILIP ROE

St Albans, Hertfordshire

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