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Gov. Wilson’s Immigration Plan

* Gov. Pete Wilson has suggested repealing the ludicrous constitutional guarantee of citizenship for children of illegal aliens, and cutting benefits for undocumented migrants (Aug. 10). We can now expect a wail of protest from those who claim this is racism. I know from personal experience it is not. I am a Native American, a Jicarilla Apache who understands what is and is not racism. The uncontrolled influx of illegals receiving taxpayer-supported benefits by having children here is undermining the entire nation.

BABETTE BERIONES

San Diego

* I never thought the day would come when I agreed with anything Wilson said or did. It’s about time that people realize that California cannot afford to take care of everyone who sneaks in.

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Our children are the ones who pay for this. It does not take a Harvard grad to look at our underfunded education system to see that it stinks. If our elected officials payed a little more attention to the money we throw away enticing people to enter this country instead of caring for the ones that have every right to be here, some day we might have children who can read and write when they graduate high school.

Just for the record, this letter is not written by some middle-aged, white, right-wing conservative Republican. It’s written by a 33-year-old Cuban gay woman who proudly voted for President Clinton.

LOURDES RIVAS

Los Angeles

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* Wilson’s proposal relating to citizenship for immigrant children does not go far enough. The citizenship of the child should be that of the parents. If one of the parents becomes a citizen within the minimum required period plus a one-year grace period, then the children could automatically become citizens also at that time.

As a nation we deserve citizen children who will be raised by parents who can pass on to them the loyalties, values, duties and responsibilities of citizens. Asking non-citizen parents to become naturalized so that they are prepared to accomplish that educational task before their children qualify as citizens only indicates the importance of that status to the rest of us.

JOE KLEIN

Santa Barbara

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* I am writing about Wilson’s call for a constitutional amendment to abolish the long-standing rule that any person born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction is a United States citizen.

Although I am currently serving as the chair of the immigration section of the Los Angeles County Bar Assn., I am writing in my private capacity.

The governor’s request demonstrates a lack of appreciation of U.S. history. The rule of citizenship by place of birth has its roots in feudal English common law. However, in the period before the Civil War, this doctrine was weakened somewhat. One of the reasons for weakening of the doctrine was to protect the economic “rights” of slave owners. As a direct result of the Civil War, the old English rule was placed in the Constitution as the very first sentence of the 14th Amendment.

The need for the clear definition of U.S. citizenship was learned 125 years ago in blood. In today’s world, the sad fate of the former Yugoslavia is again demonstrating, in blood, the need for such a rule. It should not be tampered with for economic reasons.

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STUART I. FOLINSKY

Los Angeles

* After three years of imposing the highest taxes and having the lowest approval rating of any governor in California history, Wilson has stumbled onto a theme for reelection--blame illegal immigrants.

Call it the Guillermo Horton strategy.

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DAVID PODVIN

West Hills

* Wilson’s plan to eliminate illegal immigration is an omnibus of obfuscation. The governor has laid out a shopping list of federal action that is not only impractical, but unnecessary.

The cornerstone of illegal immigration is employment. All employees must have a Social Security number, which can only be obtained by those who have legal status.

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As everyone who has ever purchased an item with a credit card knows, a store has only to pass it through a magnetic detector to determine the credit status and outstanding balance. A prospective worker need not even have such a card, for all an employer need do to verify the status of an applicant would be to call an 800 number hooked up to a computer with access to the Social Security files.

Pete Wilson can hide his failed term as governor behind all the rhetoric he wants, it will produce negligible results and only further frustrate those who truly believe that the human wave crossing the border is bankrupting our economy.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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