Letters to the Editor

Readers write about illegal immigration, Barack Obama, race relations in America, and insurgents in Iraq.

Eliminating incentives for illegal immigrants

After reading the July 17 article, "More communities use local police to enforce US immigration law," I think that Congress and the administration have failed in their duties to fix this mess, and the burden of this issue will need to be fixed by states and local communities.

If we are to end illegal immigration we must remove the incentive – jobs – to come to the US illegally. Employers must be held accountable with onerous fines and long jail sentences. Only then will the incentives to come here illegally for financial benefit end. It is not the person seeking a better life who is at fault, it is those who exploit them for monetary gain.

Kevin Fitzpatrick
Florissant, Mo.

President should unite Americans

Thanks for the July 16 article, "Putting faith out front," about Barack Obama. One thing disturbed me, and that was Mr. Obama's reference to "white America." A president of this country should unite us all in trying to make it a country that is truly the land of equal opportunity regardless of one's race. Seeing a country divided between "white America" and "black America" is not helpful to either race.

Barbara Carlin
Windsor Locks, Conn.

Ruminations on race

In response to the July 13 opinion article, "Feeling way too white," I think it is a shame that a simple stroll through a different neighborhood was considered an "unusual experiment" and deemed so noteworthy. My opinion is that if you go looking for stares from other people, you'll find them.

I, too, live in a mixed neighborhood that is not far from the rough areas of Long Beach. At night I have occasionally heard gunfire, but during the day I've walked through the area many times without any problems. Most years I've walked to the Martin Luther King Parade and Celebration, where it seems I am probably the only white person not there for official reasons, such as politicians, paradegoing church groups, and civic groups (police and firemen). It's a shame, because people who are not black are missing out on cultural events, tasty food, and great music.

Instead of one short walk, I think people should start regularly visiting the different parts of their community and patronizing the businesses there. You'll find some good food, experience different cultures, and have something to talk about.

Greg Kunz
Signal Hill, Calif.

I hope that after reading the July 13 opinion article, "Feeling way too white," where the author walked around a black neighborhood and discovered that talking to black people she didn't know could be "agonizingly awkward," everyone will be inspired to think more deeply about racism.

I see no point in analyzing every bit of discomfort between races. Americans are uncomfortable talking to many of their neighbors these days, regardless of their color. We all have a bit of anxiety about strangers for many reasons, and every nation has friction between groups. I believe that we are continually working on the race issue in America.

I think we should stop saying "racism is a defining characteristic of American life." If this were really true today, why is it that most of our immigrants come from non-European countries? Millions vote with their feet to come to this nation. For many people, America is one of the most tolerant and generous nations in the world, and white liberals who publicly agonize over their whiteness don't help us with anything.

Doris Watkins
Bangor, Maine

Learn from past military mistakes

In response to the July 17 article, "Risky US alliances in Iraq," which addresses how US forces are now cultivating ties to ex-insurgents, I believe that is exactly the played-out strategy our Defense department has used in other conflicts to our detriment in years past.

Is it time to call it quits yet? If the Iraqis are not stepping up to the plate to secure their own country, a strategy upon which this administration hedged all its wagers, I see no more reason to have our soldiers risk their lives for a people who will not defend themselves against terror.

Thomas Lane
Rockaway, N.J

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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