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Immigration Status

While we can all sympathize with the plight of people trying to find a better life for themselves and their families, Jose Antonio Vargas is on shaky ground when comparing the “rights” of illegal immigrants to the rights of gay and other U.S. citizens [“Not Legal, Not Leaving,” June 25]. If I were to enter a foreign country by illegally crossing the border or intentionally overstay my visa and then falsify a Social Security card or driver’s license, I would hope for leniency but certainly would not expect that government to afford me any rights. Talking about their “rights” is a slap in the face of all the immigrants who worked hard and waited long to enter this country on a legal basis.

P.J. Smith, BENTONVILLE, ARK.

Thank you, Mr. Vargas, for your brave and heart-wrenching article. As an immigrant and now citizen of this country, I have long thought the U.S. did the children of illegals a grave injustice. We have failed to remember how this country was founded and by whom, and I wish Mr. Vargas and every young person who fights to become legal much hope on the road to citizenship.

Frances D. Kurz, SPEARFISH, S.D.

Vargas writes that Arizona’s immigration law gives “law-enforcement officials the power to stop anyone whom they suspect to be ‘illegal.'” In truth, the law allows police to request documentation of immigration status only from those involved in a “lawful stop, detention or arrest.” Although concerns that such powers may lead to racial profiling are not unwarranted, Vargas’ description is inaccurate, which hurts his case in an otherwise thought-provoking article.

Anne D’Agostino, EAST HAVEN, CONN.

Pension Reform

In “Why We Need Pension Reform,” Fareed Zakaria conflates the situation in Wisconsin, in which workers had their collective-bargaining rights cut, with the vastly different situations in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., where citizens decided, through democratic means, to adjust the benefits that public-sector retirees would receive [June 25]. Unions protested. Still, unlike in Wisconsin, the fundamental negotiating relationship between workers and their government employers was retained. Zakaria’s piece ignores this crucial difference.

Chris Blado, SEATTLE

Some pension funds have been underfunded and some undoubtedly mismanaged. This does not mean all pension funds are underfunded and mismanaged. Reform is necessary. Pulling the rug out from under hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans who have spent their careers working for the public good is immoral and outrageous.

Arthur Hamlin, BRAINTREE, VT.

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