Illegal immigration is not a civil right

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The recent letter to the editor on the topic of immigration solutions (Immigration solutions must reflect our values, May 20, 2010) omitted or obscured two pertinent facts that deserve further comment.

The first was the statement, Dont get me wrong, nobodys defending criminals.  While I would completely agree, Websters definition of criminal is an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law. I believe presence in this country in violation of its immigration law would fit that definition.  

Secondly, the writer noted that immigration is a separate federal issue. Given that there are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States and approximately 12,000 agents in the section of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency that deal with these issues, the ratio of agents to aliens is about 1 to 1,000.   

Without additional measures (the Virginia DMV Legal Presence procedures for granting drivers licenses) and support from local authorities, the actual enforcement options are either to vastly increase the number of agents or to simply give up on enforcement as an impossible task. 

I believe that many of those who make this argument perhaps including the writer of the article actually know all this and are hoping to quietly subvert enforcement and steer the outcome to their preferred default solution: Giving up.

I am happy to see those who want to come to the United States and become citizens do just that, provided they demonstrate their good faith by getting in line and obeying our laws. To ensure we are all obeying those laws, I, for one, would be happy to have my status routinely and periodically checked at all routine traffic stops, when boarding a plane, when renewing my license at the DMV and when being treated at a hospital. 

Meantime, we all need to keep one thing in mind: Illegal immigration is not a civil right. 

John Mac Michael
Alexandria

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