Alien Notions

Virginia Postrel beams light with laser-like precision on the real motivation behind California Gov. Pete Wilson's anti-immigration posturing, a desperate move to prop up the crumbling socialist wel-fare state with a mean-spirited attempt to scapegoat racial minorities ("Border War," Oct.). All this to salvage his deservedly bleak prospects for re-election.

Wilson, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Sen. Barbara Boxer scapegoat immigrants for economic and social problems--loss of jobs, abuses of the welfare system, the failure of government schools--for which their burdensome economic and social interventions are primarily responsible. It is this same desperation driving Assembly Speaker Willie Brown's proposal to extend the legalized looting of asset-forfeiture laws to anyone accused of hiring "illegal aliens" and San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan's callous proposal for fingerprinting welfare recipients.

Postrel is correct when she says, "The promise of America is not a welfare check; it is freedom." But if these power lusters' assaults on our personal and economic liberties succeed, we will soon see Americans risking their lives to flee to other countries in search of the liberty that will have been murdered in America.

Mark Valverde
San Francisco Libertarian Party
San Francisco, CA

I just finished reading Virginia Postrel's wonderful editorial, "Border War." I wish she could be our first woman president.

L. Stephen Wolfe
San Diego, CA

Since I live in the agricultural half of Washington state, I have to contend firsthand with the same problems that are rapidly breaking the back of California. My home has been broken into four times. I have had my car stripped. My outside tools (riding lawn mower, sweeper, etc.) have disappeared. And every one of the people who were caught in these cases was an illegal alien Hispanic!

And Virginia Postrel has the nerve to stand up for these misfits. If there is one job open in our fertile valley, 20 illegals show up to claim it. Those who do not find work do not go back where they came from. They steal for a living. Our jails are fearfully overloaded, and the courts are turning away cases every day. This is not the America I want to live in.

It is evident that Ms. Postrel has not met the typical illegal face to face. Their lifestyle before they sneaked into our country was "if it isn't fastened down it is mine." True citizens of this country, of any race, disagree with this. The most ardent enemy of the illegal aliens is the native-born Hispanic.

Bill Davison
Toppenish, WA

Regarding Pete Wilson's proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that children born here to illegal immigrants are not entitled to automatic U.S. citizenship, Virginia Postrel complains the governor is being "murky." Clearly language can be crafted denying citizenship to a child of two illegal immigrants.

This isn't an academic exercise. Two-thirds of the children born in Los Angeles County public hospitals are born to illegal immigrants. But because of federal mandates and court decisions, California pays for delivery, and the United States bestows citizenship on the baby.

That infant then joins the ranks of "citizen children" and becomes instantly eligible for a range of federally mandated benefits, including welfare. Since that 2-month-old obviously doesn't open a checking account or enter into an apartment lease, that AFDC check is delivered into the hands of the illegal-immigrant parent. AFDC expenses for these "citizen children" are now the fastest-growing part of the California AFDC caseload.

Postrel opines that the governor's proposal "repudiates the founding principles of the country" and would serve to "keep the welfare state working at full tilt." But the 14th Amendment was adopted following the Civil War and was designed to confer citizenship on former slaves and their children. It is court decisions based on the 14th Amendment that are expanding the welfare state today.

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