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I understand The Nation's agenda regarding immigration. But I fully expect that in pursuit of that agenda it would thoroughly vet any article it prints. This article contains so many errors they are too numerous to recount. Probably the most egregious is the statement on the printed edition's page 22: "In 1983 he became a legal permanent resident, automatically acquiring US citizenship." This is simply wrong. While a legal permanent resident may become a US citizen, there is no automatic citizenship in legal residency, perhaps with the exception of adoption [as in the case in question in this article--Ed.], where a child may enter the country as a legal resident and become a citizen on an adoption being finalized. Every other legal resident, as far as I know, has to wait five years (unless the residency was gained through a marriage, in which case it is three), and then apply for citizenship. There is no such thing as automatically obtaining US citizenship simply because a person acquired legal resident status.

And while many people in deportation (no called removal) proceedings claim to be citizens, in the majority of cases that claim is proved to be false. For those who don't know, before a person is deported (removed) from the US (with exceptions for criminals), s/he has a hearing before an immigration judge, an administrative appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and then the opportunity to have a federal appellate court individually review his/her case. It's not that easy to deport a US citizen. I believe the numbers presented in this article are wildly inflated and demonstrate an acceptance of unsubstantiated charges, rather than scholarship. I am surprised at and disappointed in The Nation.

Alison Igoe

Washington, DC

Jun 17 2008 - 2:41am

Web Letter

What a chilling article. I follow immigration issues more or less closely. I was already alarmed at the lack of due process protections for people who fall into ICE custody, and had heard of various cases of US citizens being arrested and deported. Until now I'd had no idea of the scale of the problem.

It looks as if ICE is "not knowingly" arresting and deporting citizens routinely, and on a large scale.

With this pattern of "accidents" happening, none of us is safe.

One person "disappeared"--of any nationality, and of any legal status--is too many. This situation is a violation of the Bill of Rights, and of basic human decency, and it needs to be stopped.

Thanks to Jacqueline Stevens for a crucial piece of research, and for the wake-up call.

Mary Hopkins

Boston, MA

Jun 10 2008 - 12:06pm