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American Apparel raid

October 07, 2009

Re "Stripped of jobs by Obama," Opinion, Oct. 3, and "Target: American Apparel," Editorial, Oct. 5

When I read about the raid at American Apparel several months ago, I felt that, although lawful, it was boneheaded. I sensed it was another beginner's misstep by the Obama administration. Tim Rutten's column has convinced me.

As a member of the majority who initially looked forward with hope to the much-needed change in Washington politics, I have finally joined the millions of the same voters who have plunged into despair and disgust.

For all the much-touted initial legislation passed by the new Congress, the Obama administration and the Senate leadership have proved to be a gut-wrenching mistake made by an electorate willing to believe.

If the president and the Democratic Senate fail to hear our dissatisfied voices, the Democratic Party is going to find itself in revolt and defeat for the foreseeable future.

Edgar Nell

Los Angeles

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Why in the world would Rutten think that 1,800 jobs were "lost" when American Apparel was required to fire workers having immigration papers that were "illegitimate"?

Does he not think that there are 1,800 "legitimate" unemployed workers out there to fill these positions? Is he concerned that legal residents will not take these jobs for the wages he quotes?

Take a look around. As much as my heart aches for anyone unemployed, we are struggling with our own safety net at the moment and cannot be expected to provide a safety net for the world.

Tom Walker

Costa Mesa

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Rutten's Op-Ed article focuses on the impact on the workers of being caught using false documents. I'm amused by the apparent argument that if a company pays well enough and provides benefits, it should be allowed to employ illegal immigrants.

As a third-generation American, I'm very pro-immigrant, but I am also very anti-illegal-immigrant. There are just too many problems all around -- most of them for the undocumented -- for our country to allow it to continue. President Obama has promised comprehensive immigration reform.

The Times has repeatedly called our immigration system "broken." The only things broken are the result of years of not enforcing existing laws.

Joseph Areeda

Los Angeles

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Rutten's column describes a sorrowful example of our nation's immigration problem, but it offers no solution or solace. The Obama administration is merely enforcing the law as it stands.

Rutten could be at least a bit pleased that these workers were not summarily loaded on buses and transported over the border. The fact remains that they are illegal immigrants, even if they have been paying taxes for however many years.

Does Rutten have a solution? How many years of paying taxes should make them eligible for legal status? One year, two or 10? Should it be one or two out of 10? Nine out of 10?

If you're going to criticize upholding the law, then you should at least posit a considered solution to the quandary.

Jaci D. Cuddy

Long Beach

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Without immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship, more and more workers will suffer the consequences of company firings; their children -- many American-born -- will be deprived of basic necessities and healthcare.

It is a dubious claim that unemployed citizens will flock to take the place of fired workers. It is counterproductive to penalize a segment of society that supports the economy by their labor, their taxes and purchasing power.

Take away all that -- and it's a hollow victory for immigration enforcers and a bleak future for families of the fired workers.

Lenore Navarro Dowling

Los Angeles

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Rutten's misplaced compassion for 1,800 illegal immigrants who are losing well-paying jobs with health insurance in Los Angeles is disgusting.

Now that those lawbreaking squatters have been fired from American Apparel, maybe 1,800 out-of-work American citizens can get off the unemployment rolls and feed their families. And because the government apparently knows who the 1,800 identity forgers are, how about sending them back to their own countries?

James Dawson

Woodland Hills

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What Rutten fails to mention is that what is being scrutinized are the Social Security numbers matching the employee.

Innocent people may be the victim of identity theft as a result of their Social Security numbers being stolen. I think the one fired worker said it best when he told the reporter: "I'm going to have to go to one of those sweatshop companies where I'm going to get paid under the table."

Why would he need to do this unless he was using a Social Security number that was not issued to him?

Who is the real victim here?

Estevan Martinez

Lawndale

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"Making an example" of American Apparel acknowledges that firing 1,800 illegal immigrant workers will allow the company to hire citizens and legal immigrants, but then the editorial dismisses that positive result.

The real failure of the administration's approach to this case is that it did not arrest and deport the illegal immigrant workers. Granting a "pathway to citizenship" (amnesty) will make official the displacement of citizens and legal immigrant workers. As history has shown, it will encourage even more illegal immigration.

With so many Californians -- American citizens and legal immigrants -- out of work, how can The Times argue that lawbreakers should stay?

Lamar Smith

Washington

The writer is a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee from Texas.

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What to do about illegal immigrants is a serious problem. Many people want to get rid of illegal immigrants, with not a shred of sympathy for their plight, but do not want to use the best way -- which is to go after their employers.

Esther Levy

Sherman Oaks

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