Putting a face on California's illegal immigrants

I teach at Ramona High School, a community school in East Los Angeles. A high percentage of my students, all girls, are illegal immigrants.

My colleagues and I work hard trying to get these students to a level where they can compete academically, but we are losing. We are up against the gangs and a culture that places more emphasis on jobs and family than education and assimilation into American society. We don't have the money or facilities to keep up with the flow of undocumented aliens coming into our country, especially those from Mexico, where the birthrate is four times the US average.

These wonderful people don't deserve to be forced out of their homes and flee to yet another country in order to find food, shelter, medicine, and education.
Richard J. Hardy Jr.
Grover Beach, Calif

Regarding your Dec. 2 article, "Next Steps for Illegal Immigrants": Thank you for a sobering article about illegal aliens in California. Illegal immigration has disrupted California. Illegal aliens compete with US citizens in almost every aspect of life.

They are given California seller's permits and have opened businesses that compete with those of US citizens. These undocumented foreigners are now demanding the same rights and privileges as citizens. Eventually, if they are allowed driver's licenses, I predict they will demand to vote. We should demand illegal immigrants leave the state or face incarceration.
Priscilla Espinoza
Nuevo, Calif.

Your editorial, "Next Steps for Illegal Immigrants," said that granting driver's licenses would "put expediency over legality, and put more migrants and the nation at risk." That is our schizophrenic immigration policy in a nutshell - expediency over legality.
Barbara Vickroy
Escondido, Calif.

Blame British for unrest, not the IRA

Your Dec. 2 editorial, "Setback in Northern Ireland" puts the blame on the IRA for the failure of the peace process so far. But any cursory review of the 800-year-old conflict between Britain and Ireland reflects that the blame falls squarely with Britain and its unwillingness to allow the Irish people the right of self-determination.

Northern Ireland was gerrymandered into existence by the British for the sole purpose of maintaining a political entity with which they could continue to dominate the Irish Catholic population.

Until Northern Ireland ceases to exist, Ireland shall never be truly free, and Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.
John F. Henning III
San Francisco

Criminals will get around gun laws

In response to your Dec. 2 editorial, "Closing gun-control loopholes:" I am a retired deputy from a sheriff's department in what is considered a high-crime area and I am a life member of the National Rifle Association. In my years of working the streets, I never had any problem with a law-abiding citizen owning a firearm. The "bad guys" obtain their firearms via burglary or the black market.
David L. Betts
Cortez, Colo.

First flight not American monopoly

Your Dec. 2 article, "Another 'plane,' and legend, to rival Wrights' flight," is right to point out the Wright brothers were not the only ones who built flying machines. But don't forget Richard Pearse of New Zealand, who, several months before the Wright brothers, flew 350 yards on March 31, 1903.
Henry Ellingworth
San Jose, Calif.

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