Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

July 15, 2006

Honor immigrants but shun illegals

I am writing to commend Hazleton, Pa., Mayor Lou Barletta for his anti-illegal-immigrant proposals ("Hazleton, Pa., all-American," July 9) and state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for his recent letter regarding the fiscal impact caused by the many illegal immigrants in our country ("Consider the costs immigrants impose," July 9).

As a citizen and a taxpayer, it angers me when illegal immigrants rally in the streets and claim that they are victims of racism as a result of the recent focus on immigration reform.

I'm astounded that we as a nation allow illegal citizens to drain our taxpayer-funded services such as education and emergency health care.

We are a nation of immigrants. My ancestors were immigrants from Poland. But they chose to obey the law and enter this country legally.

They also took the necessary, yet time-consuming, steps to become citizens, while they also adopted and willingly learned the language of the nation they so much wanted to embrace as their own.

I welcome all immigrants into this wonderful melting pot, so long as they enter this country in a legal way, embrace and learn English and obey the laws of our land.

The word immigrant is an honorable word that should be used to describe all of the diverse people who have worked hard to become legal citizens.

However, people who have entered this country illegally, who do not have proper authorization to be in this country, and who use the taxpayer-funded services of this country without fully paying for these services, should not be called "immigrants" or any other politically correct label.

They are criminals who are breaking the laws of this land.

Jennifer Armstrong

Glen Burnie

Schaefer's integrity merits more respect

That did it: The Sun's editorial "The Schaefer legacy?" (July 7) pushed me to my pen.

This editorial came on top of a series of news stories either castigating or ridiculing state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, with hardly a word about his extraordinary public record of supporting and appointing women and minorities or of his broader record as comptroller.

Yet in the name of misdirected political correctness and selling a declining newspaper, we read over and over of his "walk again" comment to a young female employee (who said she was not offended by the remark); of Mr. Schaefer's irritation with a counter clerk in a McDonald's who couldn't speak understandable English (who hasn't experienced that?); and of his remark about not debating chocolate cake with Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens.

From these remarks and without the slightest reference to his recent record as comptroller, The Sun, like his eager political opponents, called Mr. Schaefer "pathetic" and encouraged him to get out of office before spoiling his legacy.

The Sun also calls Mr. Schaefer a "laughingstock."

To many of us, he has been a distinguished public servant.

Never once has Mr. Schaefer been influenced by anything other than the public interest - not as mayor or governor or comptroller. And he has never been motivated by personal opportunism or unduly influenced by politicians of either party, by vested interests and certainly not by the media.

And on top of his exceptional service, Mr. Schaefer has brought us colorful political theater that includes humor, candor and often subtle insight as he questions those who lean too far in any direction.

Let's keep him in office until he's 104.

James L. Fisher

Towson

The writer is president emeritus of Towson University.

Stereotypes distort debate on Poland

Like his earlier work Neighbors, Jan T. Gross' new book, Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz, is likely to give another stimulus to the discussion of the history of Polish-Jewish relations.

The subject will be debated by historians, who may agree or disagree with Mr. Gross' interpretations. I am not afraid of the debate. The only thing I do fear is an unhistorical perception on Polish-Jewish relations in the 20th century.

The review of the book by Joan Mellen that The Sun published confirms that this is likely to happen ("Poland's little Holocaust after the Holocaust," July 2).

Reading Ms. Mellen's remarks, I had the impression that the author was inclined to use Mr. Gross' findings to support a preconceived thesis.

Such an approach can only fuel existing stereotypes and prejudices.

And referring to the killing of Jews in Poland after World War II as a "little Holocaust" is a very emotional accusation and an unjustifiable comparison.

The debate over Polish-Jewish relations, which intensified after the collapse of communism, has played a very important role in the process of reconstructing Poland's identity as a democratic and modern nation.

The yearly commemorations of the killings of Polish Jews in Jedwabne and Kielce, and the public discussion after the publication of Neighbors, demonstrated that Poland has been able to debate its history in an open and serious way.

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