Pros and cons of Mexican identification cards

I completely agree with your Dec. 12 editorial "Who IDs illegal immigrants?" on identification cards issued by Mexican consuls for Mexican nationals who reside illegally in the United States. Those officials who recognize these cards as proper identification are not only breaking our federal immigration laws, but they are giving de facto recognition - and in effect, amnesty - to the cardholder.

In light of the Sept. 11 disaster, these individuals are in the US without having been cleared by any criminal investigation - an investigation that which is required of all legal immigrants. By opening US borders even more, we also allow for unfair competition for jobs, thus reducing the wages for workers at the bottom rung of the employment ladder. Many people are losing jobs to lower-wage, illegal alien workers, some of whom work "off the books."

Byron Slater San Diego

Border Solution Task Force

Allowing human beings the ability to identify themselves effectively is hardly "a badge of legitimacy." All persons, whether lawfully or unlawfully, present in a place should be able to say, "This is who I am," and have their identity respected as a basic human right. This is not "creeping amnesty," but rather a recognition of human dignity.

You neglected to point out that in California, unlike many other states, immigrants without lawful status are unable to obtain a California driver's license or a state ID, making them virtual nonentities.

There is also a practical benefit to accepting the Mexican ID card: improved community relations with law enforcement. Persons who lack legal status will be better able, and perhaps less fearful, to interact with local police, especially when they have been the victims or witnesses of a crime.

A person's identity is completely separate from the lawfulness of their presence here in the US.

Congratulations to the jurisdictions, such as Anaheim and San Francisco, that have recognized the distinction.

D. Douglas Keegan Watsonville, Calif.

Santa Cruz County Immigration Project

The costs of free trade

Your editorial "Trade, out of the slow lane" (Dec. 10) praised the passage of free trade as helping a nation's "natural progress toward higher standards in working conditions and the environment." Most of the evidence I've seen shows the opposite. "Free trade" - in most countries - undermines labor and other human rights, livelihoods and incomes, fisheries and forests, water reserves, and so on.

David Lewit San Diego

Tax relief will help economy more

Regarding "Rising optimism buoys hopes for economy" (Dec. 12): The economy isn't as good as it should be. The best way to improve the economy is to give people tax relief so they can spend, save, and invest as they see fit; as well as granting tax relief for corporations. America needs help getting back on its feet, and more government spending will only weigh us down. Letting us keep more of the money we earn makes sense. We should all be voting for an economic stimulus package that provides tax relief.

James Stead Mapleville, R.I.

Majestic meteor showers

Thank you for Steven Schnur's essay "Drawn together by night and the light" (Dec. 12, Home Forum). He was able to verbalize through writing what we all felt, wherever we were, as we witnessed the meteor shower. I have tried to explain what I saw. I hope my friends will read your account and realize "the meaning and the majesty."

Karen James Santa Fe, N.M.

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