States unfairly take children from poor parents

Yes, tougher state rules are removing more and more children from their parents and overloading the system ("Adopting in the US," July 29). But contrary to your editorial, a lot of those parents are not "abusive or otherwise unfit."

Far more common are children – like those in the Florida family – taken solely because their house was overcrowded and the electricity and water were cut off because their working father couldn't keep up with the bills. Even when the community raised $13,000 to help the family, the child welfare agency wouldn't give the children back. Or the Missouri mother who lost her job as a home-health aide and then lost her rented house. When she asked the child-welfare agency for help, they took her children. Or the New Jersey children taken from loving parents solely because of housing problems – and because there was a rich suburban couple that wanted to adopt them. The caseworker said he was told by his supervisor that "children should be taken away from poor parents if they can be better off elsewhere" – and when he wouldn't go along, he was fired.

These cases are far more common than the brutally abusive, hopelessly addicted parents who make headlines. That's why even as crime, poverty, and child abuse have declined, the foster-care population keeps going up. The new laws touted by the Monitor are simply a way to turn the child welfare system into the ultimate middle-class entitlement: Step right up and take a poor person's child for your very own.
Richard Wexler
Alexandria, Va.Executive Director

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

Don't reward illegal immigrants

Regarding: "A diploma: new ticket for immigrants?" (July 25): They are not "immigrants" and they are not "undocumented students." They are illegal aliens who broke our laws by either sneaking into our country or remaining here after their visas expired. They should be permanently deported, not rewarded with the lowest tuition rates and citizenship.

Where is the fairness in charging a US citizen student, from out of state, the much higher out-of-state tuition while rewarding a law-breaking illegal alien with the lower in-state tuition? With crazy ideas like this in Congress, it's no wonder we have around 7 million illegal aliens in our country and another 300,000 being added every year.
Thomas McKenna
Montpelier, Vt.

Overpopulation in Mideast

The perceptive opinion column, "Who will lead an Arab renaissance?" (July 24) overlooked one important problem of the crisis Arab nations face, and that we face as well in our struggle against terrorism. That problem is population growth.

Populations of Middle Eastern countries are on course to double in the next few decades, after a threefold increase since 1960. How can these countries raise their living standards and provide education, jobs, and opportunity to all these restless young people? How can women's rights, freedom, and good government be achieved in time to erode the natural resentment of impoverished people to follow leaders who preach hate and promise simplistic solutions, usually involving violent action against those more fortunate?

There are no easy solutions to the problems faced by Arab nations, but as acts of terrorism demonstrate, these problems are ours as well. In our own self interest, we must try to defuse the hatred and violence by helping to improve conditions faced by young Arabs as they struggle to better their lives.
John H. Blake
Hollister, Calif.

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