No longer against those who passed 1070: I found your "Badlands" story illuminating. I am an immigration lawyer, and I speak with people on a daily basis whose lives and families' lives are affected by this country's flawed immigration policies.
Like many people, I initially chalked up the Arizona law's passage to bigotry, fear, ignorance, and hatred. After all, the people I talk to are gardeners, waiters, bricklayers, and the like — what's so dangerous about them?
Those favoring amnesty (myself included) very seldom realize that, in Arizona, illegal immigration means more than just additional unskilled workers. It means more drugs, more gangs, and more guns in their neighborhoods.
I am still against the bill, but I am no longer against the people who passed it. I don't have to deal with drug mules walking through my front yard — they do.
Congratulations on writing a thoughtful, well-balanced piece that helps people in other states understand the mindset of those in Arizona. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Stephen M. Hoeplinger, St. Louis, Missouri
Napolitano has sawdust for brains: Former Arizona governor and now U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has sawdust for brains. If the border is more secure than ever, then why is there all this drug trafficking?
Human trafficking is no less than slave trade. And the illegals? I hunt most of Arizona and see them everywhere. Buy their drugs and you support the cartels. Hire them as laborers and you support the slave trade.
Yes, Janet, our border has never been so secure!
Dennis Wright, Morristown, New Jersey
Never was secure: I was born in Bisbee in 1946. The border has never been secure.
Maria Howard, Arlington, Texas
Well put, R.J.: What astounds me about this story is that the people profiled along the border have more compassion in their little toes than all of the anti-immigration crowd in Texas and Arizona, who don't hail from the border area and pretty much don't have a clue as to what's really going on.
My point is that these border people are suffering from the drug- and people-runners, and they still understand why Mexicans make the perilous trip thousands of miles into the United States, putting themselves and their families at risk. These ranchers understand conditions in Mexico and why these folks must come.
If they didn't break our laws and come here, their families would suffer and possibly die. That many die on the road here is a terrible irony, but they have to take the risk, no matter how badly the smugglers treat them.
Thanks for this insightful story. I pray for the Krentz family and for the immigrants who have died in the desert for doing nothing more than trying to save their loved ones from poverty and despair.
R.J. Teal, Austin, Texas
You don't know what you're talking about, Helen: There are enough Hispanics in America right now. They are really a burden on the state and federal governments.
The ironic part of all of this that they want to live here but are not made to speak the language here. They're the only immigrants that we in the U.S. have catered to this way.
Helen Inglehart, Dallas
Our forefathers wouldn't approve of SB 1070, Paul: I have relatives who live and work in Arizona, as well as a best friend who works for the state of Arizona. I admire Governor Jan Brewer's courage in establishing laws that actually display the common-sense approach to the epidemic flooding of illegal aliens into our United States.
It's unfortunate that individual feelings are injured. I would certainly be offended if I was, for example, stopped by the police because I happened to be from another country. My guess is that many non-Americans are outraged because their ability to enter our country may be coming to an end and that it has the potential to seriously affect their ability to earn money without paying taxes.
Being an American is a blessing, and I make no apology for being born here or for working and investing my earnings in this country. I learned early on that it's not a bad thing to be able to defend myself. I don't want to fight every bully who challenges me, but if the security and well-being of my family or myself is threatened and I'm given no opportunity to retreat, I must defend my home and the lives of those I love.
I pray for our leaders in Washington. My desire would be for them to have such a profound change of heart that they would return us to the United States that our forefathers not only envisioned but established.
Paul Yeaman, Plainwell, Michigan
You're not making sense, Judd: The continual media hype about this law has smoke-screened its original intent.
If you're stopped for a traffic violation anywhere in this country, the first thing they ask for is your license and registration. Americans typically carry some form of identification. You need it in all aspects of our credit card-carrying society.
Why is this such a personal affront? Would you rather see that minivan filled with 18 illegals flipped over on the highway on top of one of your children? Or should somebody stop them beforehand and ask for proper identification?
Judd Tounsehdeaux, Phoenix
Understand rather than point fingers: The 1070 law is no different than the federal law. And, besides, if you read California Penal Code 834B, it states almost the same thing as 1070. People need to understand rather than point fingers and cry over something they have yet to read.
Richard Plunkett, Glendale
Should've nipped it in the bud: The government should've stopped all this illegal immigration 15 years ago. Now it's out of hand.
Dennis Huff, Wittman
Timothy's two-point plan: We, as a nation, need to do two things:
1. Reinstitute a guest-worker program like we have had at times in our past. There is a demand for cheap immigrant labor. Let's see to it that the demand is filled legally.
2. After the program is in place, harshly secure our borders. We have people who mean our country harm (and not just drug smugglers) trying to cross the border illegally.
If we have a way of channeling those who don't want to harm us into legal crossings, it will make it that much easier to catch those who come in illegally and want to harm our country.
Timothy Covington, city unavailable