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Letters: Immigrant issue divides LI

This June 18, 2014 file-pool photo shows detainees

This June 18, 2014 file-pool photo shows detainees in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas. The surge of Central American children crossing the U.S. southern border has shifted the politics of immigration. Credit: AP

The op-ed by immigrant advocate Patrick Young, "Trump is wrong on birth citizenship" [Opinion, Aug. 28], lays out a case for legitimizing "anchor babies" by referring to language in the 14th Amendment and the 1898 court ruling U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

The Wong decision ignores the motivation for the language in the amendment, in particular the clause "under the jurisdiction." Fortunately, the Supreme Court settled that motivation in the Slaughterhouse cases in 1873. The language was intended to exclude children of diplomats and other subjects of foreign states born here. Even the dissenting minority affirmed that the citizenship clause was designed to exclude only people who were subjects of a foreign power.

Immigrants in this country illegally, for citizenship purposes, are under the jurisdiction of the country in which they are citizens. Therefore, they and their offspring who happen to be born here cannot be citizens.

Perhaps now is the time to reconcile the two apparently contradictory Supreme Court rulings.

Alan R. Lichtenstein, Commack

I recently returned from a vacation in Rome and Greece and was amazed at the complexity of the architecture and engineering of early Western civilization.

In our relatively young country we have surpassed others in scientific advancement, largely as a result of the vast contributions of immigrants who came here to escape poverty and to build better lives for their families despite the bigotry and hateful rhetoric that greeted each of these groups.

Curiously, we hear this rhetoric again today from many of the descendants of these earlier immigrants. Donald Trump's statement that not all of the immigrants entering the country illegally are criminals and that there are "some good ones" is designed to appeal to the basest human emotions of bigotry and hate.

In truth, the overwhelming majority of these individuals are fleeing terrible conditions. It's not true that there are some good ones but rather, there are some bad ones, as there have been with every other immigrant group.

Gary Zucker, East Meadow

Except for the American Indian, we are a nation of immigrants. Every one of us can trace our family back to another country. Our ancestors who migrated to the United States are all descendants of Adam and Eve -- whether we are Jew or gentile, white or black, or of European or Asian descent. Regardless of how long ago our ancestors settled here, none of us has more right to be here than another immigrant.

People migrated to America because things were unsatisfactory "back home." Unfortunately, many immigrants were not treated respectfully when they first came. There was discrimination against any group that didn't fit in with the existing immigrant colony.

So now it's the Mexicans and Central Americans who are unwelcome. This has almost nothing to do with citizenship and illegality and everything to do with prejudice.

Robert Shorin, Syosset

Donald Trump's presidential campaign popularity is like a political summer fling -- the people's infatuation with celebrity, wealth and candid entertainment.

Trump appeals to the non-voter, who will show up for the "The Donald Trump Presidential Show" but probably won't show up on Election Day.

Like a summer romance, the public's love affair with Trump will not last.

Susan Marie Davniero, Lindenhurst