Last month, Jim Costanza of Olean referred to my commentary in the Times Herald regarding illegal immigrants. He wrote, “Comparing mostly honest, hardworking and law-abiding prospective citizens to Al Capone’s crime gang is a

bit over the top.”

They are not law-abiding. They have broken the law by sneaking into the country. He does not acknowledge that there are thousands and thousands of thieves, rapists, murderers, arsonists and gang members in that illegal immigrant

population.

He has written twice that illegal immigrants are merely trying to escape terror, violence and poverty, mostly caused by political, economic and military policies by the United States. This is insulting. The terror, violence and poverty are caused by socialist, autocratic dictators. Look at Venezuela, Cuba and Zimbabwe.

Mr. Costanza writes that the Bill of Rights states all men are endowed with inalienable rights, and these include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He believes this indicates President Trump and ICE are violating

the highest law of the land by denying these rights to illegal immigrants.

He is incorrect.

That statement is from the Declaration of Independence, which is a remarkable document, but is not the law of the land. The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which is the law of the land.

Mr. Costanza writes my hypothetical of the state trooper is flawed, that extenuating circumstances would alter the trooper’s response to enforcing a law.

Extenuating circumstances were not part of my supposition. They were Mr. Costanza’s supposition, not mine. I stand by my hypothetical example. Everyone I have talked to knew exactly what I was writing about.

Mr. Costanza goes on to declare that mitigating circumstances should be allowed to aid the illegals. Apparently unknown to him, there are already legal processes in place which use mitigating circumstances as reason to be admitted to the country. This is the basis of asylum.

In the beginning of his commentary, he wrote, “Mr. Smith’s arguments fall short of coherently refuting my own writing on immigration and the law.” I have reviewed my letter and find it coherent, concise, accurate and easily understandable.

In his final paragraph he falls back to his predictable name-calling and Trump-bashing: “fascist,” “Gestapo-like” and “Trump is an autocrat with no regard for democracy or decency.” If anyone is an autocrat, it is former President Obama, who issued hundreds of executive orders to bypass Congress.

Mr. Costanzo has called me incoherent, a manacled reactionary, a fascist and Gestapo-like. Well, I feel justified in responding. He has great anxiety and despair — and delusions that he and others are somehow above the laws of mere men and can break laws at will because of a perceived moral superiority to the rest of us.

(Kent Smith lives in Smethport, Pa.)

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