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'Alien' should not offend immigrants

To the editor: Gov. Jerry Brown is my contemporary. I imagine that he, like me, read George Orwell's “1984” in his youth. ("Gov. Brown doesn't want California to use this word for immigrants," Aug. 10)

Despite Brown's signing of a recent bill striking the word "alien" from the California labor code — and actions taken by others to do away with the term "illegal alien" in favor of "undocumented" to

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describe immigrants who are illegally in the United States (in violation of federal law) — people residing in California without permission are in fact illegal aliens, as opposed to legal aliens who have complied with federal law.

The word "alien" is not an insult. This legislation — an unnecessary and politically correct reinterpretation of a common word — is an insult to citizens of the United States.

Joseph F. Paggi Jr., Pasadena

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To the editor: In the late 1970s, I arrived at JFK airport in New York a legal immigrant, excited and happy to be a part of this country, only to have that excitement turn into tremendous dispiritedness when I read the word "alien" on my green card.

Until then, I'd only connected that word with extraterrestrial life forms.

Now, as a naturalized citizen, I still recall with great clarity my mixed emotions on that first day: a disquieting sense of betrayal, embarrassment, anger, confusion, hurt and sadness, even shame. I felt like a child who is warmly welcomed to her new school, only to have the class bully spit on her from behind.

Thank you, California. Better late than never.

Bhuvana Chandra, Porter Ranch

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To the editor: How ironic, the history of California.

After Mexico won its independence from Spain early in the 19th century, California was under its control, and it had difficulty preventing Americans from immigrating to its territory — something it had tried to do, often with force. But the Mexican authorities in California did offer relief for immigrants who agreed to become Mexican citizens and conform to Mexican laws.

Now that the reverse situation is presented, the authorities in California are again compelled to consider alternatives to outright expulsion.

Gary Hastings, Redondo Beach

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