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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Illegal Immigration and Border Protection

June 25, 2004

Your June 23 editorial "Sowing Fear Among Latinos" asserts that a dozen Border Patrol agents are wreaking havoc in the illegal immigrant communities of California by simply doing their jobs. Essentially, The Times is asserting its long-held position: If a person successfully enters this country illegally, he or she should then be entitled to the full array of social services, including healthcare and education. And, of course, no law enforcement agency should even attempt to enforce existing immigration laws by identifying and deporting these people.

Your suggestion of racial profiling can't be taken seriously. It is well established that 90% or more of the illegal population in California is Latino. Sending government agents to track down Swedish or Irish nannies borders on the absurd.

Virginia Heinrich

Rancho Palos Verdes

Your editorial described the "paralysis and contradictions of America's immigration policy." I would be even more concerned about the dangers of it. Here we are, in the midst of a war with a sophisticated, worldwide terrorist network. Those assigned to protect our borders are busily engaged many miles inland from points of entry, arresting poor people trying to find work. I do not feel safer because 200 Mexican laborers have been deported when our porous borders could be facilitating the arrival of truly dangerous enemies. The Islamist fanatics must be chortling at our misplaced priorities.

David Rothstein

Rancho Mirage

We have an immigration policy most people can live with, but it hasn't been enforced very well. People who are here illegally should be deported. It must seem easier for them to come here for economic benefit instead of remaking their native countries. But I'm tired of that being an excuse for breaking U.S. laws. And before you throw me in the racist basket, my family legally employs Mexicans, and we're happy to have them.

Mary McLemore

Autaugaville, Ala.

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