The multifaceted debate over how to handle illegal immigration

Regarding the March 10 article, "Divide is too deep for immigration reform": As I watch politicians in Congress debate immigration reform, I often wonder if many of them realize the limitations the US Constitution places on any legislation they might pass. The popular compromise on immigration - the guest-worker visa - does not prevent the children of these foreign laborers from becoming US citizens.

I believe immigration has served this nation well, and like the vast majority of US citizens, I am a descendant of immigrants. I am not specifically against immigration. But I do feel the time has come to more closely control the process of immigration and naturalization.

Therefore, I believe that the only way we can resolve this issue is to amend the Constitution to no longer allow a child who is born in the US an automatic right to citizenship if his or her parents are here illegally. Once such an amendment is passed, the debate in Congress can be undertaken knowing that most bills that are proposed will pass constitutional muster.
Christopher P. Smith
Laramie, Wyo.

Tired rhetoric contributes to deepening the divide over immigration reform. I think the article dumbs down the complexity of reform to a contest between the "elites" (who want amnesty for illegal immigrants) vs. the "public" (who doesn't). The article conveniently left out of its analysis the global economic forces that push poor people to leave country and family for the US, resulting in depressed wages in the States.

For example, a community in the Philippines which grew rice, fed itself, and sold extra rice in the market, was put out of business by the importation of rice grown abroad. When people can't grow the food they need, they look for jobs wherever they can, and oftentimes that means going abroad. But such realities wouldn't fit nicely into the elites-vs.-the-public debate. Where do the immigrants fit into this debate?
Monica Medina

The March 13 article about illegal immigration gave us facts in an evenhanded way about the difficulty of stopping illegal immigration when both political parties tolerate it for their own ends. Republicans seek to enrich the bottom lines of their large business contributors, while Democrats are already counting the heads of those who they feel will vote for them. Meanwhile, average voters say they want illegal immigration stopped. These voters need to let their legislators know that pandering to illegal immigrants by giving amnesty is unacceptable.
Barbara Anderson
Portland, Ore.

Sea lions threaten salmon

Thank you for the March 10 article, "Lean times for salmon fishermen." Depleted salmon runs are due to more factors than the article states. Sea lions, still on the protected list, support their 300 to 800 pounds solely by eating fish; their favorite is salmon. Because of their protection and because they have no natural enemies, sea lions are overpopulated. And now, they have left the ocean, following salmon 100-plus miles into fresh water up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

The sea lions camp out at the entrances of bays and rivers all along the length of Oregon, northern California, and Washington. Commercial and sport fishermen and native Americans all have fishing limits - but sea lions don't. Power companies, loggers, and governmental agencies have spent millions to restore salmon runs, and yet no one will make the hard decision to reduce sea lion overpopulation.
Lora Hecht
West Linn, Ore.

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