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Dear Editor:

I would like to make just one reply (I promise) to the hornets I stirred up with my previous letter.

I note that no letter mentioned my main point about taxes. As to my claim that it is racist to disparage undocumented aliens as "illegals," I'm going to stand on years of observation. The right-winger web site has a headline: "INS Seeks Maximum Number of Refugees. Despite Sept. 11, immigration officials are doing everything they can to admit 70,000 refugees." Imagine that. Despite September 11th, the United States is still acting according to its own humanitarian traditions and obligations under international law to admit some refugees, after the refugee program has been held up for months. People who think like that need . . . an education in what it's like to be the U.S. spouse and children of a foreigner being tormented by the INS.

One responder stated: "[Hake's] worst 'canard' was his statement that...'most reasons for being out of status are not crimes but civil status violations akin to parking violations....' It's believed that about 60% percent of the aliens illegally in the US entered EWI (Entry Without Inspection). That's a violation of 8 USC 1325, which is a criminal statute. . . . Aliens who obtain visas or admission to the US through lying or fraud, also are guilty of criminal violations. It's factually inaccurate to say that no crime has been committed." This deserves rebuttal. My statement is literally true. Or, should I say, "it's believed" by people who know what they're talking about that my statement is literally true. I have represented many good people who are out of status, and therefore subject to deportation, who have absolutely not committed a crime. How can that be? That is true because they went out of status through no fault of their own while waiting for the INS to decide a valid application. I think that makes up "most reasons" for being out of status. I am NOT arguing that all undocumented aliens deserve to stay in the United States, nor that all of them did not commit any crimes. But I think it is rank hypocrisy the way the anti-immigrant voices speak about "crimes" when all of them are guilty of "crimes" themselves.

As to those who enter without inspection, it is true that that is a crime. Last I looked, however, that was regarded as not a continuing offense. That means that to be prosecuted they have to be caught in the process of entering. They are not still committing the crime years later. That's an important distinction of the criminal law. The majority of foreigners in the United States who are potentially subject to deportation, including EWIs, are not criminals. As I said before, there are reasonable ways to argue for limits on immigration. But taxes and services is a false argument. Painting all foreigners as criminals is another false argument. The reason one hears these false arguments so often is that the true motivations are ugly.


Bruce A. Hake
Attorney at Law
Damascus, Maryland

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