Letters to the Editor

Letters: Nov. 27, 2018

14th Amendment not what it seems

With regard to the letter of Felix Vargas (Nov. 7, 2018), I disagree with his conclusion. Contrary to his belief, there is no constitutional guarantee of citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in this country. Now, upon first glance at the 14th Amendment, there does seem to be such a guarantee, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

However, if one looks at the original intent of the 14th Amendment, birthright citizenship is contradicted. A senator who helped draft this amendment said about the word “persons” in the aforementioned sentence, “This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners ...” This meaning was supported by another senator, Edward Cowan, who said, “[A foreigner in the United States] has a right to the protection of the laws; but he is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptance of the word ...” Therefore, President Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship is constitutional, and he is merely taking care that the laws are being faithfully executed, as that is one of his constitutional duties as president.

Kaleb Fisler, Kennewick

Assault weapon wording too broad

Those rascally rabbits changed a definition on us in Proposition 1639. Webster’s defines assault rifle: “any of various automatic or semi-automatic rifles with a large capacity designed for military use.”

This fractured proposition defines semi-automatic assault rifle as any semi-automatic rifle.

This sneaky foot work has succeeded in passing a law that has turned the .22 rifle for farm plinking that I gave each of my children into an “assault weapon.” I know of no armies in the world equipped with .22-caliber rifles.

Lincoln once asked, “How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?” He provided this answer, “Four, calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.”

Robert L. Whitson, Richland

Cougars deplete deer population

I have been a deer hunter for many years but have not been hunting the last three years because of back problems and surgery to fix them. On a recent hunting trip to the Tucannon River Valley I found a marked change in deer populations. In talking with an area farmer, I was told the cougar population had increased dramatically and the deer herds have decreased dramatically. He said he used to see 50-150 deer in his fields at dusk but now sees hardly any. He reported seeing packs of cougars and has had a deer killed in his driveway and another killed in his yard by cougars. His neighbors have had similar experiences. He said that his niece, who lives a short distance away, shot a cougar 16 feet from her back door.

It appears little or nothing is done about this. If this continues, it will only get worse, with more cougars preying on deer, young elk, calves and sheep. Hopefully not on people.

The state once had professional hunters, and hunters with dogs also helped keep predators in check.

Please contact the Game Department, state legislators, the governor, and ask them to do something before this gets worse.

Duane Garner, Kennewick

Citizenship truly is our birthright

Birthright citizenship is a recognized fact.

The first clause in the 14th Amendment clarifies the law. Congress has a duty to follow precedent regardless of revisionist attempts to subvert democracy. One has merely to read the law to understand its intent. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Immigrants pay Social Security, Medicare, federal, state and local taxes, whether documented or not. As such, immigration law mandates that workers must meet the requirement to pay their taxes. Although immigration patterns are often based on economic necessity, requests for political asylum occur also. As a nation of immigrants, no one claims to be above the law. So it seems reasonable to ask why should Donald Trump get preferential treatment concerning refusal to release his tax return for public purposes? Workers do not have the luxury of making their own rules, neither should he.

In this case, should not the rule of law apply where people who seek a better, more secure life want to be treated with equal justice and respect?

Richard Grassl, Pasco