The Baltimore Sun

Archdiocese can do more to aid immigrants

I applaud the archbishop of Baltimore for his clear and cogent call to action on immigration ("We need action on immigration," Commentary, Jan. 5).

As the granddaughter of an immigrant, I am shocked and dismayed at the lack of support and services available in this country for immigrants who are escaping genocide and political instability in search of a better life.

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien's support of the "path to citizenship" model as a framework to promote human dignity and social well-being is a resonating call that our nation of immigrants should embrace.

However, I call upon the archbishop to look into his heart and find ways to mobilize the archdiocese to answer the overwhelming need to offer services and support to immigrants.

I challenge him to create a new ministry that specifically serves immigrants. I also challenge him, as the conservator of a diocese whose revenues exceeded $50 million last year, to consider providing more grass-roots support for local immigration outreach service centers.

The current funding for local immigration outreach is shaky, and church support for these groups would be a gesture that would speak volumes to the political community.

Pat Shannon-Jones, Towson

'Path to citizenship' undermines our laws

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien's column on immigration reform was an abomination and an affront to every legal resident in America, citizens and immigrants alike ("We need action on immigration," Commentary, Jan. 5).

First, Catholics make up only 24 percent of the U.S. population, so it is irrelevant for the archbishop to quote a poll that cites the views of Catholics alone. The majority of Americans (of all faiths or no faith) oppose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Border security can certainly be improved, but it will never be 100 percent effective. The same is true of workplace enforcement of immigration laws.

Thus, if we provide another amnesty bill (which is what a "path to citizenship" really is), as we did in 1986, that would guarantee that we would have another 5 million-plus illegal immigrants in a decade. What then? Another amnesty?

Or would we just stop pretending we care about immigration laws and let in anyone who wants to come to America?

Rex Johnson, Timonium

It's Bush who showed little respect for office

I have a different point of view from the reader who wrote in her letter "Anti-Bush vitriol shows no respect" (Jan. 4) that Thomas F. Schaller's column on the "43 reasons we won't miss President Bush" (Commentary, Dec. 30), did not "show respect for the office or give him credit for keeping us safe after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our soil."

Lest we forget, President George W. Bush led an administration that took us to war on false pretenses, a disaster that has lasted more than five years and in which more Americans have died than died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and from which tens of thousands more have come home maimed and disabled.

If the reader's concern is that Mr. Schaller has shown disrespect for the office of the president, I would suggest that Mr. Bush has beaten him to it.

Sandee Lippman, Baltimore

Sailing museum needs an innovative design

Edward Gunts' puff piece on the proposed design for the National Sailing Hall of Fame left me unimpressed with the architectural effort ("Well-anchored design," Jan. 4).

Sure, I give the designer kudos for incorporating the historic Capt. William H. Burtis House into the design - although that seems like a no-brainer to me. My big questions, however, are about the fact that I saw no mention of energy efficiency or LEED design for the building.

Sailors pride themselves on living light but being well-powered by the forces of nature: sun, wind and sea currents. So where is the ingenious incorporation of these truly fundamental concepts in the building's design?

A solar-cell-coated rooftop? A row of sail-shaped windmills along the promenade? Geothermal heating and cooling?

Something? Anything?

Respectfully, I must suggest taking another reading, weighing anchor and setting a new course: back to the drawing board. Please.

Louis Brendan Curran, Baltimore

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