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Crime Problems and Immigration

August 31, 1992

The Column Right on "illegals" and crime (Aug. 16) by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) once again highlighted the xenophobia and lack of perspective shared by the author and his party.

Gallegly's statistics on the number of "illegal" criminals and the rate of crime committed by them appeal to our societal xenophobia while overshadowing the real crime issues facing our society today; 62% of the state's convicted felons (of all ethnic backgrounds) are rearrested while on parole within three years (Feb. 10) while in Los Angeles County crime has increased 5%-7% within a year.

While Gallegly suggests the answers to the endemic problem of crime in our communities could be alleviated by all but ceasing immigration from Mexico, he ignores the fact that arrests by the Los Angeles Police Department and Sheriff's Department have dropped 6%-9% over the last year. We need to address the real problem, not fan the fires of fear.

Immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed in a rational framework so that solutions can be created without neglecting human rights or the traditions of this country. Sadly, Gallegly is looking for a scapegoat in an attempt to hide his own lack of commitment to real, positive change. Hopefully the voters in this year's election will not lose sight of the real problems at hand as well.

AARON J. RUDGER, Ventura

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