"Why did it take his death for Marine Cpl. Roberto Cazarez to become a citizen?"

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Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Family of a fallen Marine sees his citizenship dream fulfilled," Dec. 7

The whole idea of "posthumous citizenship" is almost Dickensian in its "pound-of-flesh" approach. The cynic in me sees this as a warm and fuzzy human interest story to make those who oppose a rational immigration policy feel human. So many questions jump out: Why did it take his death for Marine Cpl. Roberto Cazarez to become a citizen? Why isn't citizenship automatic upon military enlistment or entry into a combat unit?

As a country, we seem to be so gracious in atoning for our past once the bodies are buried. Compensation for Native Americans, Japanese American internees and Jim Crow victims always seems to wait until their surviving numbers have dwindled to a precious few.

The Dream Act and the president's executive orders can only help some. It is a travesty that Congress can send people to war and dilly-dally about protecting them as individuals.

John O'Donnell

Los Angeles

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DW7LHDQQLRH5RQG2AGEXP35QGM Mr. B

    “Why did it take his death for Marine Cpl. Roberto Cazarez to become a citizen?”

    'Cause he didn't have a good, 'Merkan sounding name . . .