People who used to live in glass houses

sym·pa·thet·ic adj: Of, expressing, feeling, or resulting from sympathy.

un·com·pass·ion·ate adj: lacking compassion or feeling for others

in·tol·er·ant adj: Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practices or beliefs.

A reader commented on one of my recent columns (“Hook has no sympathy,” Letters, May 4) about my dubious compassion for illegal immigrants. She highlighted her own experiences and then explained the difficulties she had endured attempting to get her husband, a Mexican national, legalized. She opined that in her experience, perhaps because legal immigration was so difficult, it was no wonder that people naturally would (should?) take a short cut to get here by simply strolling across the border.

Now, on this particular topic I plead guilty as charged. I am not sympathetic. Nor compassionate. Nor tolerant.

As a matter of fact, I can safely assure you that walking into my home uninvited and making demands of any type would be distinctly hazardous to your health. In my opinion, walking uninvited into my country and making similar demands should get you considerably less credibility—let alone safety.

The reason is simple. The United States admits some 700,000 to 900,000 legal immigrants every year. At least a few people apparently have figured out how to do it the right way. (And to them, all I say is, “Welcome!")

I will admit there are exceptions to every rule, but they are, after all, exceptions for a reason.

In any event, I have some idea of what changes to current immigration laws should be made to fix this:

First: Protect citizens from undesirable aliens residing in the country. Grant private individuals the authorization to make citizen’s arrests.

Second: In cases of flagrante delicto, any person may arrest the offender and his accomplices, turning them over without delay to the nearest authorities.

Third: Only citizens by birth or naturalization and our companies have the right to acquire ownership of lands, waters and their appurtenances, or to obtain concessions for the exploitation of mines or of waters. All of the land in the country is originally the property of the nation, which can grant control over it to private citizens, albeit with certain restrictions—for instance, foreign citizens cannot own land within, say, 100 miles of the borders or 50 miles of the sea, that an area of land next to the coast is federal property which cannot be sold to particulars, and that only the nation may control, extract and process petroleum and its derivatives.

Fourth: Citizens shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions or commissions of the government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable. Foreigners, immigrants and even naturalized citizens of the country may not serve as military officers, ship and airline crews, or chiefs of seaports and airports.

Fifth: the federal executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose presence he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.

Sixth: A congressman or senator must be a citizen by birth.

Seventh: Cabinet members must be a citizen by birth.

Eighth: Supreme Court justices must be a citizen by birth.

I know these tenets don’t seem terribly sympathetic towards immigrants, but then again, they are the immigration provisions you will find in the Constitution of Los Estados Unidos de México.

(To see a translated version detailing same at the Organization of American States,