The Baltimore Sun

Why not enforce immigration laws?

Congratulations to Frederick County Commissioner Charles Jenkins: He has brought a measure of sanity to the discussion about immigration ("Rising immigration debate," Sept. 23).

Most Americans support legal immigration - and realize that many of our families would still be in Europe, South America or Asia without immigration.

But the debate today should be about whether we are going to respect and enforce the law.

Calling a group of lawbreakers "undocumented" immigrants instead of "illegal" does not change their status.

Many public officials take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and, by extension, to see that the laws of the community are enforced.

I can't understand what it is about the term "illegal" that many of our elected officials seem not to understand.

I'd like someone to help me out here: Tell me why our immigration laws can be ignored - and let me know what other laws we don't have to obey.

John Boughter


Phony bomb merits more punishment

I was in Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, and I have been inconvenienced by intrusive inspection of my luggage and even a body search at a foreign airport. But I'm grateful for the precautions and willing to accept any inconvenience if it will prevent another terror attack.

But the bail of just $750 and release of Star Simpson make a mockery of the inconveniences we travelers endure today ("Student accused of bomb hoax," Sept. 22).

This woman deliberately set out to alarm security at Logan International Airport in Boston with a fake bomb - and then had the audacity to call it art.

Have we sunk to such depths of complacency that she was allowed to walk away with mere $750 bail and an attorney alleging that airport security was "almost being paranoid"?

Rosalind Ellis


Bush seeks to block Democratic success

The article Monday about President Bush's efforts to scuttle expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program was mostly accurate but missed some key points ("Bush vows to veto children's insurance bill," Sept. 24).

First, the claim by Mr. Bush and other Republicans that the effort to provide health care to uninsured kids will be a slippery slope to state-run health care is a smokescreen.

Mr. Bush and his supporters oppose this legislation for two reasons.

One, some of their longtime friends in the health insurance industry oppose this bill because it may take some money out of their pockets.

They'd rather see lots of needy children go without health care than risk the possibility of losing a few premiums they might otherwise collect.

Two, opposing this bill is part of an obstructionist effort by some Republicans to keep the Democratic-led Congress from accomplishing anything positive, regardless of the will of the public or the public interest.

While I certainly hope voting against health care for children will blow up in the GOP's face, I would rather see more children get health care, even if one of the side effects would be to cast a Republican or two in a positive light.

Susan Rosenau


No censure for other rude partisan slurs

It was sad to see 23 Democratic senators go along with the censure of MoveOn.org ("Democrats pursue a deadline on Iraq," Sept. 21).

The bill is a pathetic waste of time.

One after another, Republican politicos are having the vapors over the MoveOn.org ad, joining media gasbags to hyperventilate over the group's having the temerity to contradict President Bush's designated, beribboned front man for the war in Iraq.

I wonder where all these GOP-enabling talking heads were when popular conservative media personalities slimed decorated former U.S. servicemen such as Sen. John Kerry and former Sen. Max Cleland?

The Washington elite wisdom seems to be this: IOKIYAR - It's OK if you're a Republican.

Richard Levy


Updating weapons will improve safety

While I disagree across the board with Bennett Ramberg's philosophical arguments about the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, I think it is important to point out one major fact he got wrong - his contention that the program would cost $155 billion over 30 years ("Does the United States really need to build a new nuclear weapon?" Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 16).

While it is uncertain how much the RRW program would cost at this point, the National Nuclear Security Administration fully expects the total cost over the first five years to be less than $1 billion.

And under no circumstances, through its entire life cycle, would the RRW program come close to costing $155 billion.

NNSA is committed to moving forward with the RRW program only if it can be done without conducting an underground nuclear test.

But the best reason to support the RRW program is that it would allow us to improve the safety and security features on our warheads to help prevent their accidental or unauthorized use - without increasing our existing strategic capability.

Our program continually works to extend the life of each warhead and ensure each weapon's operability. However, because of the unique, decades-old designs and materials of our old warheads, it is not possible to incorporate modern safety and security features on these warheads.

Improvements in these areas cannot be made without the RRW program.

David Campbell


The writer is director of congressional, public and intergovernmental affairs for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Take part in revival of nuclear energy

The increasing use of nuclear energy as a basic source of electric power is inevitable. What is not certain is whether the United States will participate in this trend ("Nuclear revival a mix of hope and fear," Sept. 23).

While interest in new nuclear plants in this country is growing, we are still short of real commitments.

That's not true of many other countries with new or reinvigorated nuclear programs, including massive new plant construction starting in China, India and Russia.

The world will see much greater use of nuclear energy in place of fossil fuels to help reduce pollution, stop global warming and for simple economic reasons.

The United States will need to be one of the more aggressive players in this process.

Mohammad Modarres

College Park

The writer is a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Human hands wrote Bible, marriage laws

I would remind the writer of the letter "God has ordained limits on marriage" (Sept. 24) that humans, not God, wrote the Bible and decreed that marriage is a "union between man and a woman."

D. A. Mednick


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