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The Baltimore Sun

Immigration reform became a bad bill

The Senate immigration reform bill was a bad bill ("Migrant bill hits wall in Senate," June 8).

It became more and more enforcement-oriented as it worked its way through the Senate. It lost support from immigrant-workers-rights Democrats and faced increasingly vehement opposition from its natural "enforcement-only" opponents.

It would have been an administrative disaster - a law virtually impossible to implement without enormous expense.

As the bill developed, the response from the anti-illegal-immigrant segment of the public forced it to grow more punitive - with large fines and administrative obstacles to permanent citizenship.

And now the undocumented-worker problem, specifically the compromise on guest workers' path to citizenship, needs to be approached separately from other issues of immigration policy and border security enforcement.

The common ground between the pro-business Republicans who are looking for domestic access to cheap and legal labor and the immigrant-workers-rights Democrats looking for a legal path to citizenship for a class of people who are already a permanent part of American society is very small. The window for compromise is quickly closing.

By considering the status of the undocumented workers already in the United States separately from the issue of the flood of future immigrants who will pour into America legally and illegally, Congress and the president would have a shot at developing reasoned, intelligent policies to address two related, but distinct, problems.

Without that separation, advocates from both extremes will continue to torch the middle ground and progress will be sacrificed to partisanship once again.

As frustrating as it is for most Americans to watch Congress talk tough, make promises and fail to live up to them, the death of the Senate bill is best for everyone involved.

Michael Justin Pierce


Secure the borders before legalization

The Sun's editorial "Too heavy a lift" (June 10) correctly notes that the immigration bill's collapse last week illustrates that "hard work doesn't seem to get done in Washington anymore."

But the hard work that did not get done in preparing this bill was about making sure that we can verify that we have stopped illegal immigration before we proceed with giving amnesty to the illegal aliens now in this country.

No matter how the president and the crafters of the immigration legislation spun the bill to the public, it was clearly an amnesty bill for many of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in our country.

The American people are companionate and will accept another amnesty.

However, Americans will require proof from our government that the borders are secure before we address what to do about the illegal aliens who are in this country.

After the 1986 amnesty legislation fiasco, in which the government promised to secure the borders but didn't do so, the American people are saying, to borrow a slogan from President Ronald Reagan, "Trust but verify."

Ron Wirsing

Havre de Grace

The voice of people vetoed border bill

The editorial "Too heavy a lift" (June 10) stated, "For too many lawmakers, obstructing a sweeping proposal is far preferable to supporting one that may be unpopular with voters or interest groups."

I always thought lawmakers were supposed to listen to voters and make laws accordingly.

The immigration bill failed for just that reason.

The American voters made themselves heard loud and clear.

We do not need a 1,000-page bill, drafted in secret by a small group of senators, that would reward criminal behavior for millions of illegal aliens.

We do need the government to enforce the laws on the books.

Kurt S. Willem


A mother and father forge a caring home

I'm not homophobic, but I do take exception to gay adoptive families finding safe refuge in Maryland ("Proud to call Maryland home," June 10).

Here's my take on this: One father plus one mother (married or not) equals a balanced, nurturing environment.

There is absolutely no substitute for that equation.

Patrick R. Lynch


Leaders must offer better life to all kids

The politicians sounding off about crime are like children playing games ("Crime plan puts city's elections more on track," June 8).

They want to throw more and more money at police action, when they ought to be putting more into education, child care, affordable housing, real job opportunities and small-business development in Baltimore neighborhoods.

Let's get real.

Yes, there may always be some thugs who get into crime because it looks easy. But as long as our leaders shirk their responsibility to see that adequate services are available to all, there will be many who get into crime because they don't see any other way to make a living.

If we want to use our tax dollars wisely, we will focus on giving them another way of life.

Our leaders do not have a right to public office if they are not prepared to work for all the people.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam


One lousy landmark for train travelers

I loved Jacques Kelly's description of great landmarks travelers see in Baltimore (e.g., the Shot Tower and the American Brewery) ("The city's landmarks stand as studies in urban eccentricity," June 9). But he forgot to mention one lousy landmark.

What is one of the first things train travelers see when they arrive in Baltimore?

That silly "Male/Female" statue.


Frank A. Vitrano


No shame in finding joy in Hilton's woes

Why did most of us take joy in Paris Hilton's incarceration, get irritated by her release and feel fulfilled by her reincarceration ("Paris' life not so simple: She's ordered back to jail," June 9)?

Schadenfreude. In German, it means "shameful joy," a pleasure one gets out of other's misery.

Usually this is a bad thing; however, in this case, it's justified.

Ms. Hilton is famous for being famous, and her sex tape made her more famous.

Every once in a while, the American public has simply had enough - enough excess, enough privilege, enough vanity.

Deep down, Americans believe in justice, poetic or otherwise.

I'm personally glad to see Ms. Hilton in jail, even though it does not change my station in life whatsoever.

Ray O'Brocki


Simple way to make an heiress disappear

There is an easy way to make Paris Hilton go away: Stop writing about her ("Paris in hot water with public," June 8).

Anne-Marie Sack


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