Letters to the Editor

Readers write about immigration law, military veterans' right to free speech, the mission of the shuttle Atlantis, and what to consider when thinking about how green a firm really is.

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Secure US borders and get Mexico to respect them

Regarding the June 11 article, "How to revive immigration bill": The foundation of the United States is based on the rule of law, which does not allow individuals to pick or choose which laws to obey. Illegal immigration is severely straining this foundation and is contributing to an unnecessary political division within the country.

The recent bilateral actions of the political leadership in Washington failed to earn the trust of the American people. Focusing on the needs of foreign nationals and not the citizens of our nation enhanced that distrust. Foreign nationals who willfully break US laws do not deserve the benefits America offers.

We do not need new immigration laws. The president and our legislative leaders must actively enforce and fund the laws that exist. If they want our trust, they must earn it by being honest with American citizens, the folks who can legally vote.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

George Dudley
 Fayetteville, N.C.

Regarding the June 11 article about the immigration bill: The Roman Empire declined because it was unable to protect its borders. Unless we Americans have the resolve to tighten the leaks on our southern border (which Mexico broadens by openly encouraging would-be migrants), the United States might share that same fate.

Most of the people breaking our immigration laws happen to be Mexican. Mexico is breaking the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the terms of the Gadsden Purchase that legally ceded the Southwest to the US after the Mexican-American War. Despite the fact that Mexico encourages its poor and destitute to break American laws, breaking the treaties is an act of aggression, and it should be treated as such!

Thomas Lane
 Rockaway, N.J.

Regarding your June 11 editorial, "First, enforce immigration law": Existing immigration laws are certainly not enforced, as they were when, after five years of legal residence, I became a US citizen in 1959 in a federal court.

The illegal immigration problem is a direct consequence of not strictly protecting our borders and not enforcing punishment for employment of illegal immigrants. Why make a further mockery of our laws by enacting new laws that will certainly not be enforced?

Illegal immigrants are attracted by better economic opportunities. Curiously, illegal immigrants are allowed to destroy the fabric of our legal system by our inaction, a system of law and order that they actually covet.

My experience of having lived in a country from whence many illegal immigrants come is that my US-born children could not go to public school, the authorities scrutinized our legal status, and citizenship was only granted by a presidential edict. Contrast this to the demands that illegal immigrants make on our educational, health, social, and penal systems.

We should pressure our government to enforce existing immigration laws and demand that both Democrats and Republicans stop playing political football with the future of our nation.

Moorad Alexanian
 Wilmington, N.C.

Double standard for military veterans

Regarding the June 8 article, "For military veterans, a free-speech dispute": What hypocrisy. A retired general can appear in a business ad in full military dress, contrary to military code, and the Pentagon doesn't seem to give it a second thought. But heaven forbid a retired serviceman or woman should speak out freely against the disastrous war in Iraq while wearing anything resembling parts of his or her uniform.

At least one of the veterans mentioned was dragged to a military hearing and punished. But can you blame top officials for wanting to stem the tide, in any way possible, of those speaking against such an unpopular war? Their situation is nothing less than desperate and is getting worse by the day.

Carl Mattioli
 Newtonville, Mass.

Fellowship in space

After reading the June 8 article, "With Atlantis mission, some misty eyes at NASA," I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon watching the shuttle Atlantis dock with the International Space Station. I was struck by how much the event represents humanity's goodness in a beautiful universe. While the shuttle rolled gracefully above the spectacular curvature of the Earth below to prepare for docking, I reflected on the legacies of Newton and Galileo that allowed for this event in our heavens.

As the gleaming machines finally joined, I could not help but be thankful for the thousands of dreamers, engineers, and support personnel who through their talent made today's feat possible. Finally, in a world where daily news is largely of terrible conflict, alienation, and injustice, I cheered as the docking port opened and Americans floated into a spaceship, greeted by their beaming fellow Russian astronauts. Today was a wonderful day, indeed!

Craig D. Wandke
 Monterey, Calif.

The people part of the environmental equation

I admire the attempt in the May 7 article, "How do you tell when a firm is really green?" to stimulate a meaningful ethical debate. But seeing Wal-Mart held up by one of the panelists as an example of a green firm was really heartbreaking. Yes, the company has taken on several initiatives, but they are efficiency steps that will ultimately save the company money or cost little or nothing.

The discussion did not address the most important issue, which is the environmental and social catastrophe of Wal-Mart's supply chains in the developing world where there are often no regulations or enforcement or transparency.

Ethical investing is supposed to be about placing people and the environment before profits. When that goal is whittled down by corporations and investment firms, we have to ask ourselves why, as investors, we would join in the profit seeking.

Maryellen Polikoff
 Burnaby, British Columbia

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