Alien Landings

To the Editor,

So let's see: I would like to attend a Shakespeare festival at Stratford-upon-Avon. Tickets have been sold out for over a year, and I don't want to go through all of that passport, immunization and customs stuff, so I'll just find a ship that will smuggle me to somewhere close to the United Kingdom, then I'll jump off and try to swim to shore.

Then I'll try to sneak my way across England to Stratford, where I'll attempt to weasel my way past the people who have tickets for the festival, just 'cause I think I deserve it. But if I don't make it, if I'm arrested for being an illegal alien, or if I drown in the attempt, according to Margaret Regan ("The Death of Silverio Huinil Vail," August 3) I should be able to count on someone in Britain to wag a finger at those mean old British Immigration people. So it's not my fault, it's theirs! They made me do it! I see.

You know, when an associate of mine visited Guatemala, she had to have all of her passport and visa stuff in order, and wait in long lines to go through Guatemalan customs and immigration. If she had pompously decided to instead crash the gates and try to sneak in, do you think the Guatemalan authorities would have labeled her with the oh-so-politically-correct, warm-and-fuzzy sobriquet "undocumented migrant"? Hell, no.

Nor does any other country in the whole world, so let's first of all cut the crap and drop such bullshit say-nothing expressions. Criminals are criminals, whether the crime is trespassing or stealing. Illegal aliens are illegal aliens. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word "alien," and it doesn't just refer to nasty little green guys in Mars Attacks!

"Undocumented" means something entirely different from "illegal." I suppose that if Margaret Regan is ever caught shoplifting, she'll try to call the stolen item stuffed in her pocket an "undocumented purchase."

My family, and my wife's, were aliens before they came here and became legal immigrants and American citizens. They had to endure God-awful shipboard conditions and then the cattle-call humiliations of Ellis Island. An earlier branch of my family was imprisoned in Canada and chained aboard ships, then taken away from their homes and families and unceremoniously dumped in a colony thousands of miles away--where they still had to go through the rules, inspections and long lines that are part of being an immigrant.

So did the millions of legal Mexican and Central American immigrants who played by the rules when they came here. Or is Regan claiming that all foreign-born Latinos in America are illegals, are criminals?

A basic tenet of life is that you don't always get what you want, when you want it, whether it's a winning Lotto ticket or legal admission status into a foreign country. Sometimes you don't get it at all; sometimes you have to wait, just like a grownup. Gee, what a concept.

--Tom Burns


"The Death of Silverio Huinil Vail" (August 3) quoted a social worker who said that migrant deaths have become so commonplace around the border that "they don't even make the headlines around here." The story then stated that Huinil Vail's Thursday death went unreported in the next day's Douglas Dispatch. The Dispatch did, however, cover the death in its weekend edition. --The Editor

Tracing the Sewer Lines

To the Editor,

I enjoyed your article on South Tucson ("Splitsville On the Santa Cruz," August 10) but I think you left out a few salient points.

The story starts several years earlier when the Veterans Hospital was first built. To complete this project, the federal government laid the sewer line down South Sixth Avenue to connect with the city system. Naturally the real estate developers were interested in this line to facilitate development south of what is now known as Ajo Way. So the City of Tucson negotiated an agreement with the federal government; upon completion, the sewer line would be turned over to the city. In return the city would be responsible for all maintenance and repairs--forever. It seemed like a good idea at the time--what can go wrong with a sewer line?

Of course, many of the property owners along South Sixth Avenue wanted to connect to the line also, but since these people were not part of the city, their requests were summarily rejected. Well, as you noted, in 1933 something did go wrong with the sewer line. (Is it possible the contractor used substandard materials?) In any case it was found that extensive repairs would be necessary, possibly to the extent of replacing much of the line, and the City of Tucson was on the hook for the entire cost.

As always, the immediate reaction of the city was to look for somebody else's pocket to reach into. The annexation was proposed, along with the establishment of an improvement district, so that the South Sixth Avenue property owners would be forced to pay for the repairs. It was in opposition to this attempted screwing that the City of South Tucson was born.

This information came to me from my step-father, Leonard R. Keyes, who was there.

--Thomas M. Warburton

In the Flesh

To the Editor,

The Skinny on The Skinny--I like it! Never would I have fathomed that The Skinny itself would have the honor of making its way into its own column (August 3). Well, it did, but so did the other Skinny, which recently debuted in The Arizona Republic.

But don't be fooled. These Skinnies aren't cousins; the Republic pilfered the Skinny name from the Tucson Weekly.

Though I'm not always thrilled about who or what or how content is presented, the Weekly came up with the original Skinny idea, so it's the founding father. Isn't that one obvious? A political gossip column isn't a unique idea, but deliberately taking another's idea without giving credit or asking for permission is plagiarism.

Sorry, but changing the font size and not underlining the Skinny name doesn't constitute a real change. And the Republic didn't even bother to change the column's placement.

Unfortunately, the copyright laws aren't always clear regarding names and titles, and it may be difficult to prove intentional plagiarism--though it's highly suspicious considering Phoenix is just two hours away! But, Weekly, you have no choice but to fight for the "one true Skinny"; it needs you now more than ever!

--Sharon Platt

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