Justice Watch

Arizona cracks down on illegal immigrants

PHOENIX - Immigrant parents have been flooding community leaders with calls and pulling their children out of Head Start this week after Arizona voters approved a ballot measure aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, Hispanic officials said.

Proposition 200 requires proof of citizenship when seeking public benefits or when registering to vote. Government employees are required to report suspected illegal immigrants seeking public benefits or else face jail time and fines.

Martin Delgado, a legal resident, said he fears for his wife, who is here illegally. She is among the estimated 300,000 to 350,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona. "She fears even to go out to walk because anyone can ask her for legal papers," says Mr. Delgado.

"She doesn't have any type of identification, and now it will be harder to go around."

Phoenix-area Head Start leaders said attendance dropped dramatically Wednesday as worried parents kept their children home from the federally funded preschool program. In one classroom, only two children showed up instead of the usual 20.

Doctors say 'I'm sorry'

CHICAGO - It's a basic lesson children learn even before their ABCs - say you're sorry when you hurt someone. But it's now being taught in the grown-up world of medicine as a surprisingly powerful way to soothe patients.

Some tort reform advocates say an apology can even help doctors avoid malpractice lawsuits. The softer approach, now appearing in some medical school courses and hospital policies, is drawing interest as national attention has turned to reducing both medical errors and the high cost of malpractice insurance, blamed for driving doctors out of business.

Doctors' often paternalistic relationship with patients is giving way to an understanding that "it's OK to tell the patient the whole story," says Dr. Paul Barach, an anesthesiologist and patient safety researcher at the University of Miami. It's "a huge sea change as far as our relationships with patients," he said.

Textbooks challenged in court

ATLANTA - A sticker in suburban Atlanta science textbooks that says evolution is "a theory, not a fact" is being challenged in court as an unlawful promotion of religion. The lawsuit, filed by six parents and the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, begins this week.

Cobb County school officials adopted the disclaimer after science textbooks it adopted in 2002 were criticized by some parents for presenting evolution as fact. More than 2,000 people signed a petition opposing the biology texts because they did not discuss alternative theories, including creationism.

"I'm a strong advocate for the separation of church and state," says parent Jeffrey Selman. "I have no problem with anybody's religious beliefs. I just want an adequate educational system."

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