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Your Views: We cant show leniency for criminals
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The Times received a number of letters from readers reacting to Sunday’s story on Linda Gonzalez, the wife of a deported illegal immigrant. Today’s letters section includes several, with more scheduled to appear Friday. To read Sunday's story, follow this link 

I was once again disappointed in an article in The Times, specifically Sunday's front page account of the wife of an illegal alien left alone since her husband was returned to Mexico. I found it ironic that this article ran on the weekend of our Independence Day celebrations.

Ms. Gonzalez stated she is not afraid to speak up and criticize Hall County and its treatment of Latinos. She feels that there should be leniency shown to certain illegal immigrants. However, she admits her husband was here for five years, not in the process of becoming a citizen, and apparently knew he needed a license to fish but ignored that, also. The facts are he broke the law and did so knowingly.

I will be criticized by some I am sure; call me heartless and unsympathetic. I am baffled as to why more Latinos don't push for changes in their own countries for increased wages and better standards of living. I hear how much they love their country, but can not make a decent living there.

We Americans fought and died to have a country that we are proud of. Do others not feel that same desire or have a willingness to sacrifice to change their country? I am a retired veteran who I served in the military for more than 20 years. I will defend anyone who wants to come here and become a citizen and welcome them gladly. I realize it's expensive and time-consuming, but no one said freedom is free. Americans continue to die for this freedom.

I think our law enforcement is doing a fine job, and hope they will continue to enforce the laws diligently. It makes me proud to be a part of this community.

Mrs. Gonzalez knew the circumstances, and as unfortunate as it is, she will have to make a decision to join her husband or endure the separation.

Military families endure separations frequently but do so that we can have a more secure nation. I find it hard to compare these situations, but so as sad as it may be, highlighting this situation doesn't change the facts.

We can't show leniency for criminals. If I am in another country illegally and I break a law, no matter how "harmless" the act may be in some minds, I know for a fact I will not be shown leniency. That's how it should be.

We cannot afford to make exceptions. Wake up people, this is not a question of sympathy; we all have hardships. The fact is, there's a right way to do things, and we have to enforce that.

Donald Sawtell

Story read like editorial
Regarding the story, "His wife, an American citizen, was left behind," I'm amazed that this issue rated above-the-fold, directly under The Times banner placement in Sunday's paper.

This is not a new story; it is a thinly-disguised editorial comment. This incident happened several weeks ago and was correctly reported upon then.

Mr. Gonzalez made the choices that placed him and his family in this position. He chose to enter this country illegally, and I assume Mrs. Gonzalez knew this. Just because he spent "five years of calling America home" does not negate the fact that he was breaking the law by being here illegally. Once again, this is something the Gonzalezes have brought upon themselves. It is not the fault of the federal, state or local governments.

It appears that The Times is joining the rest of the elite, MSM in its whining regarding our immigration laws. We are a nation of laws, and until the laws are changed by the representatives of the people, they must be enforced.

I'm sorry for the Gonzalezes, but there are millions, possibly billions, of people who are suffering much more serious problems than they are, problems not of their own making. There are men and women serving and dying to protect our freedoms, victims of flooded-out homes, earthquakes, fire devastation, serious health issues, and victims of oppressive governments who cause starvation and death among their peoples and crimes perpetrated against the innocent. The Gonzalezes problems pale in comparison to these.

Donna Coghlan

Why break law to fish?
I am sorry that Mrs. Gonzalez is now alone, but I cannot understand why she did not make sure her husband abided by the law and became legal, knowing the effect it would have on her if something happened to him.

Also, why was he breaking the law when he had to know if he got caught he would be deported? Gainesville has plenty of food pantries. There's no need to fish.

Pamela Goss

Husband is to blame
I read with much interest the front page article about the unfortunate lady, Linda Gonzalez, whose husband was deported back to Mexico.

Sheriff Steve Cronic's department deserves praise and kudos for implementing section 287(g), which allows deportation of criminals who are determined to be in the country illegally.

Ms. Gonzalez does not need to be angry at the system of laws which deported her husband. She should be angry at her husband who, by his actions, has put her in this position. She has known for five years that her husband could be deported because of his illegal status. We should be sorry her family has been broken apart, I am sure this would be difficult to bear. This a perfect example of "you reap what you sow."

Would it be terrible for her to reunite with her husband and live with him in Mexico?

Fred Powell

Couple gets no pity
In response to Sunday's article, "Wife trying to get husband back in U.S. from Mexico," sorry Mrs. Gonzalez; I have no sympathy for you.

Break the law, pay the consequences. After living in California for more than 30 years and seeing the burden illegal (no, not "undocumented" but illegal) immigrants have put on the schools, health care system, social services, law enforcement, etc., I am refreshed to see that my new home, Hall County, enforces immigration laws.

Hats off to the DNR for upholding their sworn oath and not making a mockery of the law. We may not agree with all of our laws, but we have to abide by them. I could certainly provide better for my family if I chose to ignore this country's tax laws, but unfortunately if I don't, I have to pay the consequences. Yes, even if it is a "minor offense" and a nonviolent crime.

My brother married a non-U.S. citizen and they had to jump through all kinds of hoops to do it legally. But you know what? They did what they had to do, and my sister-in-law is now a legal citizen.
Stop with the excuses and respect the laws of this country or accept the consequences.

Duane Ware
Flowery Branch