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Bill of Rights Refers to People, Not Citizens

May 06, 2003

Regarding "Aliens Are Not Part of the Club Yet," Commentary, May 4: I'd like to suggest that Amitai Etzioni read the U.S. Constitution again. It's not that long. The human rights our Constitution protects again and again are not the rights of the citizens but those of "persons." Ever since 9/11, it seems that it has become a "dirty secret," which should not be bandied about, that the Constitution protects all persons' human rights, regardless of their citizenship. Only when it comes to political rights does the Constitution meticulously specify the requirements of citizenship.

It is sad to live at a time when this great nation is shamelessly turning its back on its founding fathers' hard-fought ideals.

Chol W. Kim

Los Angeles

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Etzioni is right to say that aliens do not have all the rights of native-born and naturalized citizens. However, because the labels of "terrorist" and "enemy combatant" are typically accusations masquerading as established facts, we are doing something more than depriving aliens of our civil liberties and rights. We are deporting them on the basis of unproved accusations.

Whether or not the U.S. Constitution protects aliens, such peremptory judgment precludes even the appearance of basic fairness; it may be all one can expect of a country whose leader believes in preemptive attack and turns his back on 50 years of international law, but it ill- becomes a nation like ours, ostensibly committed to democracy and the rule of law.

Cheryl A. Davis

Palo Alto

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