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Same law? Not really

Tue., June 1, 2010, midnight

“Applause was treason” (Letters, May 26) stated that California “has the same type of law” as that recently passed in Arizona but has been spared outrage because it is “a leftist state.” Not quite.

California’s Penal Code 834b empowers law enforcement agencies “to verify the legal status” of any person “who is arrested” for cause other than suspicion of violation of immigration law. The Arizona law makes such suspicion itself the probable cause and, however one feels about it, that’s a major difference.

The same letter writer also called congressional Democrats who applauded (I’ll take his word for it) Mexican President Calderon’s criticism of Arizona’s law “traitors,” and suggested they be “prosecuted.” To suggest such a thing for those who merely express support of a constitutionally protected opinion, however ill-advised – and, yes, our free speech protections extend to visiting foreign dignitaries – is not only distinctly un-American, it displays a disregard of one of our most basic principles. If that writer doesn’t happen to consider another president’s unprovoked invasion and occupation of another nation – along with the forced overthrow of its government – treasonous, it also shows an odd lack of perspective.

Steven A. Wells



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