The Baltimore Sun

Immigration limits take a terrible toll

The essence of the article describing the experience of David Garcia, a legal Mexican migrant worker harvesting apples in Maryland, is captured in the words "home together" ("Hard on the wrists and the shoulders," Sept. 21).

After at least three trips to the United States, Mr. Garcia appears to have no desire to move his family to the U.S.; he considers Mexico his home, and he undertakes the journey and the separation because of his commitment to his family.

Mr. Garcia is one of the lucky ones; he has a guest worker visa for this trip.

But crops are rotting in fields and orchards all over the U.S. because farmers are unable to find workers to pick them as a result of the fact that the U.S. government caps the number of guest worker visas issued at a small fraction of the number desired by U.S. employers and Mexican workers.

Another result of this policy is that over the last decade, more than 5,000 people have died in the deserts along our southern border while trying to cross into the United States.

The great majority of the people losing their lives are not drug dealers or terrorists.

Like Mr. Garcia, they're hardworking individuals devoted to their families who are faced with a horrendous choice - gamble your life in the desert or stay home and watch your family be destroyed by poverty.

I'm not lobbying for any particular migration bill. But we have a very serious problem here: Good people are dying needlessly as billions of U.S. tax dollars are wasted building a 2,500-mile border wall and supporting the largest federal police agency, the Border Patrol.

Martin Davidoff, Catonsville

Judge offered stern but honest warning

I was in the courtroom and heard Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard give the lecture cited in Peter Hermann's column "How do you help those who won't help themselves?" (Sept. 19). I was so impressed by the judge's sincerity in trying to lay it all out for Lennette Priscilla Johnson and give her the chance to see the truth about her situation. The judge was more than fair, but firm, in explaining Ms. Johnson's options.

The judge's eloquent speech did capture the attention of everyone in the courtroom; Ed Burns and David Simon couldn't have written better dialogue.

Although I was upset about being stuck at the courthouse to deal with a case involving a break-in to my house, it was worthwhile to witness this genuine attempt to help a criminal.

T. Fleckenstein, Baltimore

Greedy energy firm gets what it deserves

I am sick to death of Constellation Energy Group, its excessive profits in recent years and its grossly overcompensated CEO, Mayo A. Shattuck III ("Outbidding Buffett," Sept. 23).

Let Constellation fold or be sold.

The consumers of Maryland will be better off without it - at least Warren E. Buffett's group has some class, and maybe Constellation's management can learn something about business management and class from Mr. Buffett.

M. Weber, Towson

Palin still learning woes disabled face

Just because Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has a baby with a disability doesn't mean she can claim to be a "friend and advocate" to all disabled families ("Friendship isn't enough," editorial, Sept. 22). Actions and experience speak louder than words.

I am a parent of an 18-year-old with a developmental disability. Mrs. Palin has a baby with Down syndrome.

She is new to this experience. She has not fought the school system for appropriate educational services for her child.

She has not sat on the lonely end of an IEP (individualized education plan) meeting full of educators and administrators.

Is she worried about what will happen to her son when he ages out of being legally entitled to education and graduates to being "eligible" for adult services?

Is she concerned about the growing population of disabled adults who need the assistance of agencies stretched to impossible limits with reduced funding?

Is she facing a waiting list for services for her child that has no end? Has she fought health insurance companies for medical treatment and services for her child?

I don't need a friend.

I need to know that my son has a future that will be safe and productive.

Paige Pape, Towson

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