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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son?

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I am always puzzled when HCN's feature article ("Young, All-American, Illegal," 8/16/10) takes up a cause from a humanistic heartfelt perspective while completely ignoring all other perspectives. In doing so, our status as a society dedicated to the rule of law is undermined, ignored and trivialized.

As a sensitive and humane person, I am of course sympathetic to the plight of these kids. But how can Daniel Glick (and President Obama) talk of "punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents" when our whole legal system grants authority to parents to do exactly that, determine the fate of their children until they reach the age of majority? Haven't we all, during our childhood, faced that issue and survived?

The fact that life in another country is miserable doesn't justify the expectation that my society is obligated to support these poor unfortunates because they think it would be better to live here. Sure, some may be smart and they may contribute positively to our society, and they may be very sympathetic and lovable, too. But none of that is relevant to the fact that they haven't arrived (or stayed here) through legitimate channels. In an ideal world, perhaps there'd be no national borders, but in the world we have, these "All-American" kids get their education and their health care on my tax dollar while we tell the 10-plus percent of my neighbors who can't find work that it's just too bad.

Imagine a similar situation from the reverse point of view. I decide I really like France, and I can't find any work here anyway, and my family doesn't … you know ... shouldn't the French welcome me as a countryman-in-training, say, in Provence, with open arms? I'll work hard, honest! And hey, I'm an American ... where's the love?

Avram Chetron
Ashland, Oregon

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