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Sunday, July 16, 2006

SOUND OFF: DO ASK? DO TELL?

I reported that the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., wants to change his city's police-department policy of not asking victims of crimes about their immigration status. An editorial in The Charlotte Observer responded that the mayor "needs to back off."

Jack Stegall of Monroe, N.C., believes that the policy should be changed.

"Those who expect to receive benefits and protection from the law must assume some responsibility for obeying the law themselves," he explains.

Many readers agree, including Mark Jones of Huntington Beach, Calif.

"If someone who is in this country illegally is a victim of a crime," Jones writes, "they should remember that they committed a crime first."

"If they sneaked under a fence in the dark of night," writes Phil Clutts of Charlotte, N.C., "they knew they were doing something wrong for their own benefit, and should therefore be prepared to pay the consequences of reporting or not reporting a criminal act that they experienced."

"If they are going to come to the United States," writes Charles Seng of Lancaster, S.C., "they had better learn that, when you see a crime, you report it."

Jan Bohren of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., disagrees, however.

"We shouldn't confuse illegal actions (immigrant status) with criminal actions (robbery)," Bohren writes.

Maggie Nelson of Monroe, N.C., agrees with that distinction.

"Being an illegal immigrant is not a violent crime like robbery, assault, rape or murder," Nelson opines.

For William Carter of Weddington, N.C., the key issue is the public benefit derived from individuals cooperating with the police in combating crime.

"What person in his right mind would get involved with the police for any reason," he asks, "if there is a chance he or she will be deported?"

Check out the original posting with reader comments at http://jeffreyseglin.blogspot.com/2006/06/sound-off-dont-ask-do-tell.html or post your own by clicking on "COMMENTS."


Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.¶

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what question is being asked here. What I do know is that illegal immigrants should be dealt with, because there are so many who have come into the country the right way. It is very unfair to allow illegal immigrants so much. What does this do to the morale of those who tried the legal route?
As for crime....well, any one commiting a crime just has to suffer the consequences of it! The trouble as I see it is that we are now trying to find an excuse for anything and everything. Wake up America!

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