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Bad fence makes a bad neighbor

October 30, 2006

Re "Bush signs fence bill, pushes back," Oct. 27

I have heard many people slamming undocumented immigrants for living off our tax revenue and ruining our economy. I was wondering if these people could tell me how many undocumented immigrants their wall must stop from coming into the U.S. before the wall pays for itself, or better yet, bolsters our economy back to what it would have been without all the negative cash flow the aforementioned invaders allegedly cause? In what year (century?) will this happen?

BETH PESTIAN

Alhambra

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Approving the wall just before a crucial election was just the latest in George W. Bush's fear-mongering tactics aimed at diverting attention away from his failed policies. The wall will be the most shameful thing I will have seen in my 84 years. Sweet Land of Liberty gets trampled for political gains.

PAUL H. WANGSNESS

Burbank

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If Congress is serious about ending illegal immigration overnight, fine those who hire illegal immigrants. Why should we throw away our tax dollars on a fence so GOP hate-mongers can play to their xenophobic, bigoted constituents?

A fence is political grandstanding. Instead of solving the problem, it only ensures a continuing stream of desperate workers -- exactly what disreputable employers want. Worse still, the continued illegal immigration hurts U.S. workers and unions. But Republicans aren't about working Americans, whom they try to distract with prayer in the schools, flag etiquette, gay marriage and "intelligent design." The GOP is all about protecting multimillionaires, which is why there will never be a serious fine for hiring illegal immigrants, just the wasteful drama of a 700-mile fence.

MIKE SCOTT

Walnut Creek, Calif.

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If you want evidence of human arrogance and stupidity, you need look no further than the U.S.-Mexico border fence. Proposing to build a fence between the U.S. and Mexico indicates that, once again, we fail to recognize that wildlife is important and that it, like we, requires the ability to travel. At the same time that we are causing global warming and forcing species to move north to find suitable habitat to which they are acclimated, we are blocking their path.

Building a fence to stop immigration is like tightening your belt to prevent weight gain. Let's address the causes, not the symptoms. Invest in improving the quality of life for our neighbors. That would also be a good policy for other regions, such as the Middle East. (Of course, that may require "regime change" at home.)

MICHAEL J. VANDEMAN

San Ramon, Calif.

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