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Commentary

Illegal Immigrant Sweeps

June 19, 2004

I was appalled last week to hear that my wife, a legal U.S. resident married to a U.S. citizen, was stopped at a store in El Monte and asked to show proof of her legality. Yes, I know there is an illegal immigration problem in this state, but the asking of her to somehow prove she is legal, the intimidation they used upon her and the authoritarian attitude they gave her are too reminiscent of Nazi SS police tactics. Luckily she had her driver's license when she went to the store, but what's keeping them from stopping any other Latino, legal or citizen, and detaining him or her for not having an ID?

Why isn't immigration doing these sweeps in Little Tokyo, Little Saigon, Bel-Air or the Westside? Doesn't this country have an illegal immigration problem that extends past the Latino communities? Isn't this illegal immigration problem far more than just a Latino problem? It's sad to see the direction this country is heading in, when legal, certified nursing assistants such as my wife, or state employees such as myself, are being harassed to prove that we are here legally. To fix the problem they have to fix the borders and leave us alone. We are here like any other immigrants; we want the same values, the same goals and the same lives that all Americans are promised.

Kenneth D. Castillo

Los Angeles

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Re "Immigration Arrests Not Policy Shift," June 11: Let me get this straight. Illegal immigrants are outraged because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is arresting them for being here illegally? Lawmakers like Rep. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino) "decry" the arrests, and The Times writes sentimental articles portraying the illegals as "fearful" and "desperate." A college professor claims the actions are "an attack against all Latinos."

Enough of this nonsense. All U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is doing is its job -- and bravo, it's about time. We need to remember that the majority of illegal immigrants are here for one reason only, and that is to make money and send it back to their homeland. They are not here to assimilate and become a part of our country; they want our money, a free education, housing, medical care and a tax-free income. Let's hope U.S. immigration officers keep moving north, sweeping as they go.

David and Laura Keyes

Sherman Oaks

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On Monday I had another experience that reinforced my conviction that multilingualism is a practical necessity for the survival of democracy in our country. Anxious to find out about a demonstration against immigration raids in the Inland Empire, I went to The Times and found nothing. Next I went to La Opinion and the demonstration was the top story, with up to 10,000 demonstrators reported as participating.

Institutional racism in the media is practiced by commission and omission. The editing in of racism is often very subtle, the editing out of anti-racism is deafening. Journalists Frank del Olmo and Ruben Salazar must be turning in their graves.

Darla Breiling

Pico Rivera

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I find it a little more than ironic to read letters (June 14) from those who announce it is our right to "expel" the "invaders," speaking of Latino illegal immigrants, while the Bush administration and its supporters announce that it was our right to invade Iraq and that the Iraqis have consistently greeted us as liberators.

I suppose the mistake of the Latino immigrants is that they failed to arm themselves with military weapons before they crossed our borders; that apparently would have guaranteed our acceptance of them.

Ray McKown

Los Angeles

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Of course immigration supporters are weeping and wailing about Border Patrol agents doing their job more effectively ("Inland Latinos Alarmed by New Border Patrol Sweeps," June 10). If the Border Patrol is enabled to respond to reports of illegal aliens (definition: people who have come into the country illegally, regardless of color, nationality, language, etc.), all legal immigrants and all American citizens will benefit. Less crime, less welfare, fewer illegals using our scarce school resources and a million more benefits. Let's encourage every effort on the part of Border Patrol agents to do their jobs.

Allen Jamieson

Sacramento

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