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Empathy, outrage over migrants

March 21, 2007

Re " 'We are on a trailer. We are suffocating.' " first of two parts, March 18

My three children were safely tucked in bed when I tried to avoid and then finally succumbed to this article. The topic of immigration is an important current issue, so on I read. It was difficult to breathe as I worked my way through Peter King's harrowing account. The unavoidable impact came two-thirds of the way through the story: "Daddy, I am dying." I gasped for breath, and my eyes closed like the doors on that refrigerator truck, "wrapped in almost perfect darkness." I wept for 5-year-old Marco Antonio Villasenor as if he were my own child.

I found myself thinking of all the children in the world born in places where their circumstances are unbearable. They suffer at the hands of people who appear to have gone mad. I believe it is our moral responsibility to ensure that all children live safely and have a haven from insidious wars, religious mayhem, rape, starvation and torture.

I wondered how softly Marco's last words left his little body. They need to resonate loudly to each of us.

LISA DAVISON

Santa Monica

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I am amazed by your article on the trailer that carried 100 immigrants right through a Texas border checkpoint. We are told by our elected officials that we are spending billions to build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, or terrorists, or both, depending on which audience our elected officials are facing during that particular speech. Yet a truck goes right through a checkpoint with 100 people aboard, some maybe already dead.

Why don't we simply open every truck? And what happened to our vaunted truck X-ray system? Why do we take the driver's word for his cargo? Please don't tell me it's because we're worried about backing up traffic into Mexico.

ROBERT CHICKERING

Laguna Beach

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This is just wrong. These people are not immigrants, they are illegal aliens. No politically correct term, just plain illegal aliens, criminals, terrorists.

These illegal aliens have no right to be here.

There is nothing wrong with our immigration system or laws. It is time to actually enforce the laws on the books -- severely fine every employer of illegal aliens, secure the borders, increase raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to pick up and deport every illegal alien.

STEPHEN SHORE

Windsor, Calif.

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Re "Smuggler's life on the line," second of two parts, March 19

So Tyrone Williams, the truck driver, is accused by the U.S. of being "vile and heartless" for ignoring the pleas of the illegal immigrants, thereby costing the lives of 19 of them. And what of the rest of us, living our entitled lives, benefiting from the labor of illegal immigrants in the vegetables we eat, the processing of our meats, the manicuring of our lawns and the mopping of our floors? Are we not deaf as well to the pleas of these migrants and blind to the perils of their border crossing?

How can we pass judgment on Williams when it is our conflicting laws that force these people to lock themselves up during the crossing just so they can work for us on the cheap?

SRIDHAR SUBRAMANIAN

Goleta, Calif.

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