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Are There No Penalties for Illegal Immigration?

September 03, 2004

Re "Bitter Taste in the Grape Fields," Aug. 30: What is wrong with this scenario? Luis Valdivia paid $1,500 to a coyote last winter to get him across the border into California. Using fake documents, he was hired by Giumarra Vineyards in Pixley, Calif.

He does so well that his father also crosses illegally and joins him in July. Using fake documents, he also is hired at the vineyards, and dies five days later of heatstroke.

Valdivia blames the grower for his father's death and sends his body back to Mexico for burial, then returns to work in the same fields for the same grower.

Why wasn't he arrested and deported? Why is Giumarra Vineyards not being enjoined from employing him now that it is aware that he does not have the right to legally work in the United States? Are there no penalties to be levied against the grower?

I am the daughter of an immigrant who waited her turn to enter the United States legally and became a citizen as soon as she was eligible. My husband is the son of a legal immigrant. What is the answer to this insanity?

Joan H. Marsin

Anaheim Hills

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