Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

March 25, 2006

U.S. must enforce immigration laws

I must be one of the "confused white European descendants" the Rev. J. L. Carter referred to at a protest of the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Act of 2005 ("Immigration bill draws criticism," March 20).

I am certainly confused by Pastor Carter's logic.

It seems to me that the special role the United States has played in promoting democracy and welcoming the poor and under-privileged of the world has had a quite unexpected outcome.

It seems that some people now believe that the United States no longer has the right to decide, through its elected representatives, who can enter the country and in what numbers. And that it can no longer enforce its own laws.

And, yes, I am confused when otherwise well-meaning citizens claim it is not illegal to be an "illegal immigrant." Maybe the meaning of "illegal" has changed and no one told me.

I am confused when these same citizens claim it is OK, even a moral imperative, to assist those who have entered the U.S. illegally.

In my world, knowingly assisting anyone to break the law of the land is also illegal.

Of course, what do I know? I'm just one of the millions of U.S. citizens who choose not to break the law for any reason, much less because it simply gets in the way of what we want.

I am also one of millions of descendants of immigrants who entered the country legally.

Many other people still enter legally every day. But if you can come in illegally without repercussions, why bother with the paperwork to do it legally?

And if you can assist individuals to break immigration laws without repercussions, why can't you assist any other lawbreaker?

Donald S. Smith

Baltimore

Nation of hypocrites on immigration rules

America is a nation of hypocrites - not always, and not on every issue. But when it comes to our immigration policy, there is no fairer way to describe us.

The truth is that we want the millions of illegal immigrants who are here, because we want their cheap labor and the cheap goods it helps make possible.

But we don't want to openly embrace the illegal workers or to admit that they are here because we asked them to come.

But the employers who give them jobs, in effect, asked them to come, and our unwillingness to sanction those employers means we asked them to come as well.

We are not really a nation of laws so much as a nation of scofflaws - and we seem to prefer it that way.

But if we want to reform our immigration laws, we should not let the hardcore hypocrites among us make our policy - because then we get bills like the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, which has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.

This bill panders to the worst angels of our nature.

It would place the bulk of the burden of immigration enforcement on the workers; it would break up healthy, intact families; it would criminalize the work of clergy, medical care providers and educators; and it would cultivate fear and distrust.

If this is the best we can do, we should just go back to our comfortable hypocrisy - after all, we seem to prefer it that way.

Larry DeWitt

Baltimore

Port transfer posed threat to our pride

Terrence Guay just doesn't get it ("A setback for free trade," Opinion

Commentary, March 14). Even though the port deal fell through because of huge political pressure, the real reasons the deal collapsed are just under the surface and apparently undetected by Mr. Guay as well as the Bush administration.

However, Americans, after constantly being reminded of 9/11, terrorists, evildoers, etc., by President Bush, now fear anything Arab or Muslim.

And after watching almost daily broadcasts showing anti-American demonstrations and hatred for anything Western in the Arab world - from the Danish cartoon episode to the rantings of the Iranian president - many Americans found the idea of allowing an Arab country to buy operations at our ports a slap in the face.

The economic benefits this deal offered are irrelevant to most Americans.

Believe it or not, sometimes there are more important factors than money - such as our pride.

Leslie Levine

Owings Mills

New policies needed for Latin America

The Sun's March 15 editorial regarding Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's foray to Chile might have been more properly entitled "Offensive charm" instead of "Charm offensive."

When Ms. Rice says that the United States has no trouble in dealing with countries from either side of the political spectrum, is she forgetting how the administration she represents helped try to overthrow the elected government of President Hugo Chavez in March 2002 and was involved in the overthrow of popularly elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti?

In the case of Venezuela, the people rose up and literally shook the gates of the presidential palace, which caused the coup-makers to recognize that their power grab was a failure.

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