Neither Banadex nor its employees did anything inappropriate
In the March 22 article "Colombia seeks eight in Chiquita terrorist scandal," you reference a report by the Organization of American States regarding a shipment of arms that passed through the port of Turbo, Colombia, in 2001. Your article erroneously states that Banadex, a Chiquita subsidiary sold in 2004, "helped divert" these arms to the AUC. In fact, according to the very OAS report that you link from your article, neither the company nor any of its employees was found to have done anything inappropriate during this incident.
In addition to the international investigation by the OAS, the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia also thoroughly investigated this event and completely exonerated the company and its employees of any wrongdoing. The decision by the Colombian AG's office was to indict four individuals who were Colombian customs officers. There was one Banadex employee questioned about the incident, and he was declared to be "exempt from any responsibility" was released without charge.
Director, Corporate Communications, Chiquita Brands International
In response to the March 19 article, "The hidden cost of illegal workers": My husband owns his own business in the Bay Area, and I check each employee he hires with Social Security to verify his or her right to employment.
There are numerous businesses, however, that I know hire illegal immigrants as employees and pay them in cash. With their cheap, illegal labor, those who run these businesses are committing federal, state, and Social Security fraud; they are not paying for workers' compensation insurance and are able to reduce the costs to consumers.
These employers who exploit illegal immigrant workers decrease wages and so put a strain on businesses that do obey the law. Businesses that cannot make it without using illegal immigrants as employees should be filing for bankruptcy.
I consider contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) myself to have these illegal aliens picked up, but society is turning on those of us who abide by the law. I am afraid that my information will get out, and my property will be vandalized.
The federal government is losing the trust of the majority of its citizens. Sending a mixed message to law enforcement degrades national security.
Regarding the March 19 article on the economic impact of illegal immigrant workers: Relying on figures from the Heritage Foundation, the article argues that low-skilled undocumented workers "cost the government much more than they pay in taxes."
That may be true, but it misses entirely the primary benefit from increased flows of low-skilled workers, which accrues to consumers, not the government. More low-skilled immigrants mean lower prices for consumers on goods produced with low-skilled labor.
Consumers then have more disposable income left over to spend on their children's schooling, their retirement savings, charitable donations, or whatever else makes them happy.
Todd D. Kendall
Assistantprofessor of economics, Clemson University
I thought Becky Akers's March 21 Opinion piece, "A better way than the TSA," was excellent and accurate. For more than 10 years I used to travel every week, and I can tell you that my impression of "security" was insecurity.
At airports, I would often ask employees what they did just prior to getting hired by the Transportation Security Administration, and the responses ranged from "unemployed" to "pizza delivery." One person said he was a supervisor at a private detailing corporation. I said, "Detailing corporation – what do you mean?" He told me he worked at a car wash!
Can any of us say without equivocation that we would want the TSA to guard our cars, homes, bank accounts, or jewelry?
Sadly though, in my lifetime, I have never known of any government agency that was eliminated. Most agencies only expand and seem to do more harm. The TSA, in some form or another, will probably be with us for a long time. No politician will eliminate it because their opponents would say that they were putting Americans at risk.
Ms. Akers, who is writing a book about the TSA, will have many years to write more about what may be the worst federal agency in America.
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