President's immigration plan too costly, hurts workers

Regarding your Jan. 8 article "A sweeping plan for illegal workers": President Bush wants to match "willing workers with willing employers" but the willing workers he is referring to are illegal aliens. How about our own unwillingly unemployed? Many millions of unemployed citizens would like to be matched with willing employers.

What the president should do instead is vastly reduce legal immigration and deport all illegals; he should use hiring and identity laws to prevent illegal aliens from working or receiving benefits. That would raise wages while reducing unemployment, the cost of social programs, and overcrowding in schools.
Thomas P. McKenna
Montpelier, Vt.

I'm deeply concerned about the president's proposal for illegal immigrants. This seems to be a plan that rewards lawbreakers and has huge economic implications. Already many hospitals are forced to write off millions annually because many illegal immigrants don't pay for medical services. Americans should look beyond the "compassionate conservative" aspect of this new plan and look at reality - our taxes are going to get higher.
Jennifer Alcock

Considering America's place

Regarding Helena Cobban's Jan. 8 Opinion column "Americans need to recognize their place in the world": Our place in the world is to help those who are less fortunate. During the 1990s, we were content to sit on the sidelines and watch thousands die at the hands of dictators and despots. The only answer forthcoming was United Nations-based multilateralism - a euphemism for doing nothing. This administration has correctly identified that the world is a far different place today, and waiting for evil despots and suicide bombers to strike is unacceptable.
Rod Koppenhoefer
Rock Island, Ill.

Helena Cobban makes a critical omission when she blames only President Bush for America's deteriorating global image, but doesn't discuss the actions of President Clinton, who violated international law when he went to war against Yugoslavia. I spoke with many Europeans during this time who were furious that the US poisoned the Balkan peninsula with cluster bombs. The loss of respect for America and the increasing view abroad of this country as a rogue superpower began long before George Bush's tenure.
Michael Pravica
Henderson, Nev.

Online music revolution spurs creativity

Regarding your Jan. 7 editorial "Music Pirates Going Clean": The record industry's distribution practices leave most artists without an opportunity to profit from creative work. The online music scene - where the only crime is copyright infringement, not theft - has thankfully reversed this trend, allowing people much freer access to a wider range of music than the major record labels have ever provided. Let's hope the industry will take advantage of the Internet's radically reduced distribution costs to offer artists a real incentive for creative work.
David Robinson
Princeton, N.J.

Making a home in a homeless village

Regarding the Jan. 7 article "For city's homeless, will it take a village?": Too often the homeless are brushed aside. Now in Portland, Ore., there is a group of people running Dignity Village who are challenging stereotypes and allowing the homeless to create a safer environment for themselves. Also, this village may give many homeless people the chance to improve their lifestyles. Dignity Village should stay.
Amanda Trathen
Rochester Hills, Mich.

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