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The label does not fit

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
South Philadelphia

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