To the Editor:
I read with interest the irate letter from Fran Gallo (“They’re not immigrants,” Oct. 14) in response to a previous article about the treatment of illegal immigrants and the implications for a sanctuary city like Philadelphia (“Four days of fear,” Oct. 4).
Gallo uses the blanket term “criminal” to apply to all undocumented immigrants. Neither Gallo nor I are immigration lawyers, but any citizen should know that the terms “illegal” and “criminal” are not interchangeable. Having an expired green card or VISA is a civil violation not a crime.
While it is true that some illegal immigrants commit crimes, the very fact that they are here without papers is not in itself a crime.
It is disingenuous to claim also that undocumented immigrants are allowed “sanctuary” in order to get votes. Only citizens may vote — the recent driver’s license/voter registration fiasco notwithstanding.
I am also the descendant of immigrants who came here legally and obtained citizenship. So I understand the frustration of seeing others sneak in or overstay. But please, let’s avoid using labels that do not apply and enforce our immigration laws fairly.
Gloria C. Endres