The private sector can help to ease the suffering in Darfur

Regarding your March 10 editorial, "America's and Africa's duty in Darfur": It is rewarding to read that the hard work of people like former Marine captain Brian Steidle is finally beginning to pay off for those suffering in the Darfur region. Although the work of the African Union (AU) has been considerable, the security situation in Darfur has not been controlled, and the time has come for greater international involvement.

In addition to UN and NATO forces, the private peace and stability industry offers immediate capabilities that can be used to help address Darfur's complex problems. Several private firms have been active in Darfur for several years already providing logistics, transport, and medical services, albeit in a limited role. These companies are currently helping to operate and manage AU bases in Darfur and are fully capable of increasing their role to assist in bringing greater security to both western and southern Sudan.

Whether it is providing airplanes for reconnaissance and transportation or security guards to protect refugee camps, the private sector can help ease the suffering of those affected by the genocide.
Derek Wright
Director of Membership, International Peace Operations Association

Tougher immigration laws: boon or bane?

The March 14 article, "Churches resist tougher immigration laws," quotes the Rev. Bob Edgar as saying, "What we want is immigration reform that finds a way to assist those who have come across [the border] and been productive citizens."

Mr. Edgar clearly believes that religion should have the ability to intrude into secular matters, namely in defining who should be a "citizen" of the United States and under what circumstances. The people he wishes to help are not only not citizens of the US, they are not even legal residents.

If religious organizations believe so strongly in their duty to assist those in need, then they should be assisting illegal immigrants in returning to their home countries and making decent lives there, not finding them housing and jobs in the US. Or, religious groups should work with their members here in the US to sponsor legal immigrants. As an Episcopalian, a US citizen, and an Arab-American, I believe these religious bodies are overstepping their bounds to make US citizenry foot the bill for their charity to illegal aliens.
Mara Alexander
Alexandria, Va.

Regarding the March 14 immigration article: I work as an interpreter, mostly in cases where laborers are injured and employers contest the claim for workers' compensation. Many laborers in California are undocumented. Instead of Congress creating new laws, why doesn't the government just require businesses to obey current immigration laws?

Will the new House bill criminalize interpreters who help these workers get legally required services? By criminalizing legal help to undocumented aliens, Congress would create a slave race of workers in the US. Would the citizen served by these undocumented workers also become a criminal? Must we ask cooks or motel maids for their papers before we allow them to serve us?

Before writing new laws, Congress should study the current immigration laws: It is extremely difficult for average workers to get any type of visa to come to the US and work.

The answer isn't to make illegal migrants' presence a crime, but to supply industries that currently use undocumented workers with an easier way to get legal workers.
Mary F. Johnson
San Carlos, Calif.

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