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The Sept. 1 op-ed against legislative referendum LR-121 by Bethany Letiecq (Gallatin Valley Human Rights Task Force) and Travis McAdam (Montana Human Rights Network) is notable primarily for what they omitted. For example, do their organizations claim there's a "human right" to reside illegally in the U.S.?

They don't actually say so. Indeed, they systematically evade the fundamental matter of lawbreaking that's at the heart of this subject. Their language includes "immigrant" and "undocumented people," but illegal aliens (a term you'll find in the U.S. Code) aren't immigrants, and calling them "undocumented" is obviously meant to suggest that their immigration problems are mere paperwork snafus, rather than criminal behavior. (Yes, illegal entry is a crime. See Title 8, Section 13 25 of the Code.)

The two authors also dismiss Montana's population of about 5,000 illegal aliens as inconsequential. How short-sighted! Other states ignored illegal immigration when it was "small," just as Letiecq and McAdam now urge us. This allowed it to become huge, and those states — not just California — currently deal with billion-dollar costs imposed by their illegal-alien populations.

The simplest interpretation of the Letiecq-McAdam op-ed is that they want illegal aliens to continue residing in Montana. Or perhaps they'd really like open borders so that, by definition, all foreign migration to the U.S. is legal. Just think of the havoc that would wreak on the American job market, at least if you're someone who works for a wage. (For employers who crave cheap labor, it would be terrific.)

Phil Mooney

Bozeman

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