Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 02, 2006

Immigrants earn decent treatment

I am encouraged by the recent displays of opposition to the worst aspects of the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Act of 2005 in cities such as Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and now on the floor of the U.S. Senate ("Immigration laws denounced," March 26).

I also applaud the leaders of BUILD - Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development - for their recent public stand against the xenophobia and misguided economic theory behind this proposed legislation.

But even as it grows less likely that priests, social workers and others who provide desperately needed services to illegal immigrants will be thrown into prison for their subversive acts against our "national security," we should avoid the temptation to become complacent.

In cities such as Baltimore that benefit from the labor, dynamism and investment of an expanding immigrant population, all of us must work to integrate this valuable population into the social and economic fabric of our city.

After hemorrhaging residents and tax base for decades, Baltimore has finally begun to benefit from a much-needed infusion of newcomers.

While yuppies and empty-nesters have been an important source of growth, we must not forget that a different group has been constructing and renovating their new homes, serving them in restaurants, driving them to work and carrying out many of the less-glamorous roles in our new urban wonderland.

Repaying this critical part of our labor force with the rudiments of human decency seems a rather small price.

Marco F. Cocito-Monoc

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Southeast Community Development Corp.

Invasion of illegals an ominous shift

The photograph of half a million marchers supporting the rights of illegal immigrants was frightening ("Immigration laws denounced," March 26). This isn't "immigration"; it's an invasion. And the fervor was repeated in many other American cities beyond Los Angeles.

I believe illegal immigrants want far more than a "job Americans won't do." They want every benefit, privilege and accommodation legal citizens enjoy, and they want it now.

There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and the number grows daily. I fear it is too late for walls, deportation or even legal consideration.

Any country that fails to protect its security and sovereignty cannot last long. What will we do when the illegal immigrant population swells to 50 million? Or 100 million?

America is witnessing a dangerous cultural and demographic shift.

And I don't see any happy ending in sight.

R. N. Ellis

Baltimore

When will Grasmick need to reapply?

There are many reasons that students at certain city schools do not achieve at appropriate levels, but they are mostly outside the control of teachers and administrators ("Fight over city schools promised," March 30).

Outside the school, there are family, peer-group and environmental factors. Inside the school, there are large class sizes, crumbling buildings, disruptive students and inadequate leadership, sometimes at the building level, sometimes at higher levels.

All of these factors have led to the current problems in some Baltimore schools.

But one constant in the underachieving record of some schools is state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick.

When will she have to reapply for her job?

Jonathan L. Jacobson

Baltimore

The writer is a retired Baltimore public school teacher.

Jury wouldn't back the energy barons

Constellation Energy is threatening to sue if the state legislature passes a law that prevents its pending merger with a Florida energy company ("Power politics in play," March 30).

My answer is to say, "Please, please, please sue us."

Unless the jury is made up of Public Service Commission members and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. executives, I like the state's chances of prevailing with a panel consisting of 12 gas and electric consumers who, one would suppose, would be unlikely to cast a vote that could lead to their own utility bills rising more than 70 percent.

Jeff Sattler

Baltimore

Let justice and love prevail on adoption

Happily, Ellen Goodman's column on the thorny issues that surround gay adoptions still managed to reflect her family's joy in welcoming their own new little girl ("Efforts to ban gay adoptions really hit home," Opinion

Commentary, March 27). Her remarks should be required reading for anyone involved in adoption legislation, whether they represent the interests of the church or the state.

The one point I feel compelled to dispute, however, is her assertion that "Roman Catholic law forbids gay adoption."

It is true that bishops in some areas are exercising more control over adoptions handled through agencies such as Catholic Charities.

As the spiritual shepherds of their dioceses, they are obliged to be vigilant that Catholic parents will fulfill their duty to raise their children in accordance with church teachings.

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