May 25, 2013

Letters to the editor: U.S. welcomes law-abiding immigrants

William Slavick ("Another View: Anti-immigration column ignores 11 million in need," April 25) misses the mark in his critique of Jonette Christian's Maine Voices commentary ("Repackaging amnesty as 'immigration reform' won't fool Americans," April 13).

click image to enlarge

A migrant worker tends lettuce crops in Salinas, Calif., in 2006. Citing the number of permanent residency cards granted each year, a reader says the U.S. is “more than charitable” to immigrants.

2006 File Photo/The Associated Press

As a country, we are more than charitable. We grant 1 million green cards annually, more than the next 38 countries combined.

In 2011, we granted green cards to people from 202 of the 205 countries in the world. Total charitable giving by the U.S. in 2011 was $300 billion.

Ms. Christian is pro-immigrant; she is simply against those who violate our laws and sovereignty by illegally entering our country.

The 11 million illegal aliens Mr. Slavick mentions are hardly victims of the North American Free Trade Agreement. After NAFTA passed in 1994, the number of plants in Mexico near the border increased from about 2,700 to about 3,700 in 2001.

Mr. Slavick makes reference to the Bible and says: "We should, as the Gospel teaches, welcome the stranger in our midst." Yes, but not necessarily permanently.

When Abraham was told in Genesis 15:13 that he would become a "stranger" in Egypt, it was understood his stay there would be temporary.

The same word, "stranger," is used in 1 Peter 1:1, and it means "sojourner," someone who stays temporarily in a place and then moves on. Who is not familiar with the peripatetic Sojourner Truth?

Robert Casimiro

Bridgton

Malaga Island exhibit shows policies' generational fallout

I recently visited the Maine State Museum and its exhibit on Malaga Island, which will close Saturday. The exhibit depicts the forced relocation of residents from the island to the mainland by Maine state government officials in 1912. Malaga Island is off the coast of Phippsburg.

In speaking with the museum staff, I learned that though the museum is across the parking lot from the State House, few of our elected officials have visited the exhibit.

The impact of well-intentioned legislators in 1912 reverberates a hundred years later. And we now reflect on their actions with shock and disbelief as ill-advised and socially and morally inappropriate.

This metaphor would seem to offer a powerful incentive for those governing and legislating in 2013.

The actions of those elected to serve will reverberate far in the future. And unintended consequences have far-reaching impacts far into the next generations.

I wish that more legislators had considered taking a short stroll across the parking lot to visit the Malaga Island exhibit even as they contemplated the issues of our day.

Jan Semba

Rangeley

Holiday offers opportunity to honor veterans' sacrifice

Another three-day weekend is under way, but I would remind all your readers that this Monday is also Memorial Day -- the day that we honor all those brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our country.

I read somewhere that seven Mainers are buried in the war cemetery in France who died fighting during World War II liberating all of Europe.

I'm getting too old to remember all the wars we engaged in, but to honor most I will enumerate as best I can, to wit: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and any other smaller wars I may have missed.

I would ask all the readers of this letter to take a minute during this holiday to offer up a small prayer for all those brave men and women who died in the above-mentioned wars and hope and pray the numbers decrease in the future.

God bless America and all its fallen heroes -- past, present and future if needed.

Frank Slason

Somerville

Voter fraud lesser threat than terrorist with a gun

How, with a straight face, can conservatives plead for the urgent passage of voter identification laws and then reject universal background checks for all sales of firearms?

Is the right to vote less sacred than the right to own a gun? Is voter fraud, real or imaginary, more destabilizing than an individual on the terrorist watch list freely purchasing weapons at a gun show from a private dealer?

Mark Berger

Waldoboro

Our senators must do more to earn kudos for courage

The Natural Resources Council of Maine placed full-page celebratory advertisement thanking Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King for "courageous votes" against amendments that would have allowed continued mercury emission in coal-fueled power plants, a vote that was unanimously joined by all the northeastern senators, including Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

I ask Sens. King and Collins to speak out strongly against the potentially disastrous mining and shipping of tar sands bitumen; the continued delay of the confirmation of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency; allowing possible completion of 11 new coal-fired energy plants before EPA regulations might stop them, and ending the filibuster on President Obama's nominee to the 2nd District U.S. Court of Appeals.

I would then join the chorus of appreciation for courage.

Robert Libby

Chebeague Island

Tax plan will bring back retirees, improve economy

An overhaul of Maine's tax structure is long overdue. We have seen too many of Maine's successful retirees buy property and move to another state and declare residency to avoid our state's higher income and property taxes.

We support the bipartisan plan to cut income and property taxes and raise sales taxes (while providing tax credit for low- and moderate-income families) and believe that it will improve our economy.

This plan deserves consideration, and we hope that members of both parties in the House and Senate will come together to pass legislation that will reform an outdated and regressive tax system.

Mary Johnson

Saco

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