Letters

Texas GOP Hasn't Alienated Hispanics

Some opponents of immigration reform are quick to shout that the Republican party has alienated Hispanic voters and needs to reverse course.

The editorial, "The Hispanic Leaven" (Dec. 23), omits some facts from this debate that your readers might like to know.

My home state of Texas is among those where Republicans have supposedly alienated Hispanics. But Texas has a GOP governor, two GOP senators, and the most Republican members of the US House and of the state legislature in history.

Also, public opinion polls show that a majority of every ethnic group, including Hispanics, supports immigration reform.

Immigration policy should serve the national interest, not partisan politics.

Lamar Smith, Chairman

Washington

House Subcommittee on

Immigration and Claims

Immersion won't mean sink-or-swim

In less than six months, Californians will vote on a measure to replace our current system of bilingual education with English immersion for its 1.4 million limited-English students.

In the editorial "Bilingual Ed.: Yea or Nay?" (Jan. 13), you refer to the sink-or-swim approach of the past and the hope of seeing an alternate proposed to bilingual programs, which, in practice, are native-language programs.

English immersion is a transitional class for limited-English students that provides extra language assistance along with the regular curriculum, with the goal of graduating the child into a mainstream English classroom as soon as possible.

Where currently used, this process generally takes a year. Yet, the initiative allows flexibility if the child needs more help. Sink-or-swim is known as submersion. Our initiative calls for immersion.

On June 2, Californians will vote on a long-overdue change in the method with which immigrant children are educated. We plan to garner the strongest support from those directly affected by the policy change.

Sheri Annis

Los Angeles

English for the Children Campaign

Leave room for the trees

Regarding "Stemming Suburbia's Sprawl" (Jan 9): I am glad Seattle is setting aside traffic-free areas and attempting to guarantee that nature will continue to inhabit cities.

My wife and I love to visit Savannah, Ga., where Gen. James Oglethorpe set up his "experimental" city in the 1700s. This new country must have seemed to contain an endless amount of nature, but the general had the vision to plan large squares within the city that were set aside for flowers and stately southern oaks, magnolias, and other trees and shrubs. The squares continue to be focal points in Savannah, and roads run around rather than through each of them.

Savannah's squares are a good model for contemporary visionaries to use to provide future generations with something more than miles of pavement and buildings.

Don L. Griffith

Decatur, Ga.

Miss Manners, where were you?

"Making Peace in Israel: a 'Miss Manners' Class for the Brash" (Jan. 8) is right on target. While in Israel, my wife and I experienced this brashness. We were pulled from our tour group and I was strip searched. Our belongings were strewn on a table, and soldiers held up my wife's lingerie, flauntingly touching the hosiery and undergarments. Adding insult to injury, they attempted to confiscate a hair dryer and a curling iron.

Other members of the tour group were aghast at the humiliation we experienced, yet there was nothing they could do. One gets the impression that Netanyahu's bombastic and combative attitude is pervasive at all levels of Israeli society. What a shame.

Raouf J. Halaby

Arkadelphia, Ark.

Your letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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