Asylum for immigrants won't threaten US security

In your editorial Dec. 10, "Bush's First Task: Immigration," I was troubled to read the assertion that "too many holes remain in the nation's immigration policies to keep terrorists out" and that one solution is to "make it tougher for immigrants to win asylum."

In fact, no terrorist is eligible for asylum under US law. In what way are we safer if we deny asylum-seekers the right to appeal their cases in our own courts? How does the summary deportation of battered women, children, or victims of human trafficking improve the security of our borders?

The asylum "reforms" removed from the recent House bill on intelligence reform would not improve our security.

Instead, they would greatly undermine basic protections for those genuinely fearing persecution, as well as our commitment to due process of law and to serving as a haven for those fleeing threats to their life and liberty.
Stephen Knight
San Francisco
Research Fellow, Center for Human Rights & International Justice

Import duties could pressure US on Kyoto

Regarding your Dec. 20 editorial, "Is Kyoto Kaput?": Perhaps what is needed to stiffen the spines of signatories to the Kyoto protocols is for the countries that have signed the agreement to jointly enact import duties on all American products based upon the estimated cost savings American manufacturers are earning by not having to cut back on their greenhouse-gas emissions. This would even the playing field and would soon let us see whether or not the US is truly, as it claims to be, a free trader.

Personally, I see the US as the world's greatest rogue nation and the greatest threat to world peace and well-being, unlike the US of only a few years ago.
Gordon Harris
Campbell River, British Columbia

Nuclear energy best solution for US

Regarding your Dec. 16 editorial "Middle Path on Energy": A balanced approach to meeting our energy needs has always been the smartest for this country. However, selfish and regional interests have kept us in gridlock for decades. We need to recognize that building new nuclear power plants is probably the only way to meet the growing demand for electricity without causing global warming or air pollution.

We should also push to find more oil in North America, including converting coal and tar sands. But those who would drill for oil in our remaining wilderness areas need to realize that giving up some energy resources may be worthwhile in order to preserve fragile ecosystems.

We need leadership in Washington that will encourage searching for domestic sources of fuel, that will promote building the next generation of nuclear plants, and use renewable energy sources where they make economic sense, all tempered with a sensitivity for the environment.
Robert L. Long
Albuquerque, N.M.
Nuclear Stewardship, LLC

Kiev vs. Kyiv: Why the 'y' matters

Ruth Walker's Dec. 17 essay "Why we're still chicken on 'Kyiv' " ignores the obvious parallel of Peking-Beijing. When the Chinese demanded that we adopt the spelling "Beijing," a much better rendition of the contemporary pronunciation than the antiquated "Peking," the world didn't come to an end, and we didn't lose touch with the fact that it is the capital of China. We got used to it, and now "Peking" looks peculiar.

Choosing "Kiev" is not simply a matter of tradition. It's also a political statement that Ukraine is still a province of Russia and has no right to its own language or culture.
Paul B. Gallagher
Horsham, Pa.

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