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Letters to the Editor

Citizens Are Applauding, Too

THANK YOU, Antonio Diaz Chacon.

Stating the obvious, you’re a good man and are appreciated by many people from all walks of life.

MARY ANN CINOWALT

Albuquerque

Model Candidate for Legality

I COULD NOT agree more with the Journal’s editorial, “Now That’s a Neighbor,” with reference to Antonio Diaz Chacon.

This young man did the right thing and more when he saw a stranger grab a 6-year-old neighborhood girl off the street and pull her into a van. With no hesitation, he jumped into his truck and pursued the van while his wife called the police. He followed the van until it crashed. Diaz Chacon then ran to the van, rescued the little girl and took her home to her parents. His quick actions indeed averted what could’ve been a tragedy.

However, what disappointed me is the Journal’s failure to recognize the big “white elephant” in the room: the fact that Diaz Chacon is an illegal immigrant. This was never mentioned in the editorial and surely deserves to be because it is a vital part of the sum total of this entire picture.

Under these special circumstances, I would have liked to have seen the Journal point out that while Diaz Chacon is not an American citizen and has been trying to become one for the past four years, he deserves special dispensation. Why?

Diaz Chacon has proven beyond a doubt that he is a model citizen, he is gainfully employed as an auto mechanic, he pays taxes, he does not have a criminal record (to my knowledge), and is a hero and a productive and decent human being who is truly an asset to the Albuquerque community. … Let’s help make Antonio an American citizen. We need more people like him.

As a major influence in this state, I believe the Journal should champion the cause for Diaz Chacon’s effort to become an American citizen and call upon our congressional delegation to become actively involved and do everything possible to expedite the process.

MIKE SANTULLO

Albuquerque

A Ride in the Clergymobile

FOR CONSIDERATION of the Catholic clergy, who have waded into illegal immigrant licensure waters, I offer the quote from the gospel of Matthew: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Originally referring to taxation, it has been extrapolated to mean the separation of religious and secular politics.

It is within the scope of the clergy to provide to the needy food, clothing, shelter, spiritual counseling and transportation to and from work, if they wish. But Mother Church has superseded her authority when she takes it upon herself to lecture the state to do so.

The church would not accept a breach of canonic law but expects the people of New Mexico to accept the illegality of the undocumented and for the state to give them the privilege to drive as a matter of social justice. Could legally divorced and remarried Catholic couples regularly receive the sacrament of Holy Communion in the name of social justice? …

The church appears to pick and choose which state laws to criticize and which are advantageous. The church does not accept Catholic migrants who were married by the state as married in the eyes of the church. …

I have a social justice solution for all those people who do not have driver’s licenses, have a suspended license, cannot drive or do not own cars. Establish the Archdiocesan Van Service. For no fee or a nominal fee, volunteers would shepherd around all those in need of a ride — immigrant or not. What better example of walking the walk than to see the good Archbishop Michael Sheehan and Bishops Ricardo Ramírez and James S. Wall as your van drivers. …

The onus should not be on New Mexico to promulgate social justice or, until Congress affects change, to offer a back-door solution through MVD.

MOLLY BALDWIN

Albuquerque

Migration Not a Criminal Act

THE ANTONIO DIAZ Chacon story revealed refreshingly “good news.”

The protagonist is an unassuming, undocumented, 24-year-old humble man, a mechanic, with a wife and two young children and little money. Thank you for making this a front-page story.

His spontaneous reaction to save the child being kidnapped speaks of a good heart and of exemplary concern for neighbor — and risk-taking. How moving to learn that when he and his wife were offered a new washing machine by an admirer of the heroic action, their response was that theirs was being fixed, to please donate the new washer to a “family in need.” What an example of unselfishness for our materialistic society!

I’m also moved by Mayor Richard Berry’s response and actions. You reported that he said, “the last time I checked, the criteria for a hero isn’t based on race, creed, color, national origin or immigration status.”

This event and news story happened the same week when the New Mexico Catholic bishops’ statement on the issue of driver’s licenses was published in the Journal. The bishops show that the Christian position is so often a countercultural position — of the dominant culture, of course. From Abraham to Mary, Joseph and the newborn Jesus, the Bible is filled with stories of the need to migrate. In the Mary and Joseph story, God inspires them to migrate — immediately — for survival of the child Jesus.

Another hopeful part of the article is the use of the term “undocumented immigrant” rather than “illegal alien.” Maybe Diaz Chacon will move some hearts to realize that lack of “documentation” does not equal “illegality” or worse yet, “criminality.” The Bible, our nation’s history and the present reality show that migration is often a last resort for survival and care for family.

The immigrant is a human being who is not a criminal just because he/she migrated. He/she labors behind the scenes typically with fear and often enduring abuse, but their labor is needed and makes our nation function. Diaz Chacon and many other immigrants act heroically daily to the benefit of others and for their families!

FR. RAFAEL GARCIA, S.J.

Albuquerque

Sorry, but the Law’s the Law

KUDOS TO THE man who saved the little girl from kidnapping. He deserves them.

But his heroic actions should not be allowed to smokescreen the fact that he is an illegal immigrant who has broken the law by sneaking in here illegally. Not to mention that he has taken an American citizen’s job, is not speaking our language, and more than likely is taking advantage of our country’s numerous free benefits that are supposed to go to legal New Mexico citizens.

KEITH AND JUNE KOFFORD

Albuquerque

Just More of the Left’s Drivel

THERE IS NO “God-given right” of people to migrate to the United States by breaking our immigration laws regardless of the reasons the Catholic Church says there is. It is very frustrating and tiresome to see that the Catholic bishops conveniently omit the critical word “illegal” in this issue. The Catholic Church has a serious problem using the word because it hurts their bottom line, which is to allow as many illegal immigrants into the state as possible so that they can fill up the pews for Sunday services and contribute a lot of money to the church.

It is pure liberal nonsense to suggest that when people insist that our immigration laws must be enforced by the public servants of New Mexico and the federal government, (they) are “part of an anti-immigrant agenda.” Those of us who support the repeal of the 2003 law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license support lawful, not unlawful, immigration into the country from all over the world. It is foolish to think that attempting to verify addresses of some of the driver’s licenses discriminates against immigrants and is a waste of taxpayer money. Since when does a liberal care about wasting tax dollars anyway?

There are many ways for the government to waste our tax dollars — it does that very well. But this isn’t one of them. It has been well documented that people from (other) countries have been caught with New Mexico driver’s licenses, and they pay people big money to be able to do so. The federal government, along with many state and city governments across America, have for years refused to enforce current U.S. immigration laws. What makes anyone think that reforming the law to require immigrants to learn English, pay fines and taxes and wait at the back of the line will be enforced in the future?

ROBERT DOW

Albuquerque

And What of the Workers?

AS A CATHOLIC I find the bishops’ op-ed column disturbing. I am a parish member of St. Jude’s on the West Side and have watched a new parish rise from the dirt. The article by the archbishop and the two bishops refers to moral concern and social justice for undocumented (illegal) immigrants that the church expresses on this licensing issue.

As a union organizer I stand for rights of workers and believe that all workers should be paid a fair wage and have health care for their families, yet when I approached the parish priest as well as Archbishop Michael Sheehan on this issue that directly affects workers and their families, I was told that the church does not get involved in the wages and benefits that the contractors pay their employees.

The question I have today is: Why are licenses for undocumented (illegal) immigrants more important than wages and benefits for workers and parish members?

It is easy to write a letter, but to “toe the mark” is much more difficult. Where is the social justice for us, the workers of New Mexico? Where is the moral concern for us, the workers of New Mexico? I can tell you it is in the pocketbook of the parish and the archdiocese.

I ask only that the archdiocese open its heart to the workers of New Mexico and pay us the same respect that it pays to the undocumented (illegal) migrants. After all, we are the brothers and sisters in the faith who donate to the church every week.

SCOTT T. LE FEVRE

Albuquerque

It’s Still the Wild, Wild West

AFTER READING the Journal article “License Checks Run Into Problems,” I can’t help but think that Billy the Kid would be proud of New Mexico if he were living because, just like 1880, our state is still a haven for outlaws!

TIM T. KNIGHT SR.

Peralta

Stick to Spiritual Matters

THE CATHOLIC bishops would better serve their flock by keeping their focus on cleaning up their own house instead of meddling in affairs of state.

While I’d like to think that their appeal to maintain the current law on providing driver’s licenses to illegals is motivated by compassion and sound reason, I do believe that the real reason, similar to many Santa Fe politicos, is maintenance of their constituencies. For the church that means keeping the illegals in the pews. For the politicos it means keeping them in the voting booths.

As a New Mexican, I — like 72 percent of my fellow New Mexicans — am embarrassed and frustrated by the crazy policy we have on driver’s licenses issued to illegal immigrants. As a member of a Catholic family, I am incensed and disappointed by the stand of the church leadership.

Illegal is illegal, is illegal!

Whatever happened to separation of church and state, and whatever happened to elected representatives heeding the will of those they represent?

DAVE COULIE

Albuquerque

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