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U.S. Immigration Policy and Local Roadblocks

August 06, 2003

Re "Maywood's Mean Money Machine," by Frank del Olmo, Commentary, Aug. 3: So Flor Cervantes, a working mother, was stopped in a Maywood roadblock. She had no driver's license, no insurance and her car was then impounded. So what! She is illegal. Hear this, Mr. Del Olmo: Illegal means breaking the law. First by being in our country illegally, second by driving without a license. Why is it so difficult to follow the law? Her statement about the arresting officer was, "I was already so ashamed, and he made me feel as if I had committed some terrible crime." Mr. Del Olmo, she did commit a terrible crime -- being here illegally. Congratulations to the city of Maywood. Other cities should follow its lead.

Dawn B. Mellgren

Glendora

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It was great to see Del Olmo's muckraking commentary. It is outrageous that Maywood shakes down vulnerable people during rush hour by impounding cars and charging heavy fines or auctioning off cars belonging to people who cannot get driver's licenses. I work in that area and I have been stopped at those annoying checkpoints, but I didn't suffer like Cervantes. Whatever our opinions on immigration policy may be, it is a simple fact that immigrant workers are needed in many sectors of the economy and they have to get to work somehow.

The federal government should enforce immigration policy (or come up with a coherent immigration policy), but the state of California should allow undocumented immigrant workers to acquire driver's licenses to allow them the means to get to work, support their families and contribute to the economy. If Gov. Gray Davis signs SB 60, the proposed law that would allow undocumented immigrant workers the right to secure driver's licenses, the Maywood roadblock scam and others like it would be ended.

Daniel J. Ontell

Cudahy

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Del Olmo's story really tugged at my heartstrings, an immigrant family coming to the U.S. to make a better life for themselves. But the health, safety and welfare powers (known as police powers) of the government cut both ways. If L.A. County chooses to provide health care to illegal immigrants in order to care for its residents, Maywood has the right to protect its residents from drivers who do not have valid driver's licenses.

If you wish to live within the borders of this country you have to accept both the benefits and the burdens; otherwise you have nothing more than chaos.

Jonathan Grossman

Huntington Beach

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