There were two recent letters to the editor that made compelling cases for supporting comprehensive immigration reform (“Collins immigration vote helps families,” Aug. 2).

The two writers were praising Sen. Susan Collins for her vote for S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Such praise is shortsighted and misplaced.

The 1,198-page bill, as I read it, would do great harm to our nation; its principal feature is the legalization of the estimated 11 million-plus illegal aliens in the country.

It would be pointless, stupid and irresponsible to pass any sort of legalization without first stopping the flow of illegal aliens into the country. S.744 does not do it.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that “the net annual flow of unauthorized residents would decrease by about 25 percent relative to what would occur under current law.”

In the proposed legislation, there is no requirement to secure the border before legalization could start; there are only goals and objectives. Also, it would only make a feeble attempt to prevent visa overstayers.

Bob Casimiro


Warning to duck feeders: You’re breaking the law

The other day I went to Deering Oaks pond to read, relax and feed the ducks. I have done this many times and never had a problem. Indeed, there were numerous families with little children also enjoying feeding the ducks.

However, a park “ranger” came by and told me that I had to stop feeding the ducks because it was against the law!

I left and when I returned home, I looked online to see if there really is a law about feeding the ducks. I was surprised to read that there is a law against feeding any wildlife.

At the very least, signs should be posted around the pond to warn people of this law.

I interpret this to mean that no one, even little children, can feed the animals without fear of breaking the law. I wonder about my bird feeder. Does this count?

I am angry and disappointed that Portland has found it necessary to limit what I consider a happy family event.

So, I hope this is a warning to everyone who has enjoyed feeding the ducks. It could land you in jail!

One last comment: I loved the picture in a recent paper of the man practicing fly fishing in the pond — at least he wasn’t feeding the ducks!

Meta Gustafson


Drones better than bombs, but still can be abused

Frankly, I can’t understand the discussion about drones. To me, it is not a question as to whether we should use drones in the killing of an enemy. It is a question as to whether legally we have the right to kill a particular target.

If it’s legal and justified, it doesn’t make any difference if the method used is a bullet, bomb, poison or what. If it is not legal, then it is not OK, regardless of the method.

During World War II, the Germans started flying unmanned rockets into England, where I was serving in the 8th Air Force.

The rockets did very little harm to military targets but did a lot of collateral as well as psychological damage.

I didn’t know at the time, but that was the forerunner of modern-day drones. Over the years, there has been tremendous improvement to the weaponry in the drones, so they are able to pinpoint their targets.

Because of their accuracy, present-day drones not only eliminate danger to those controlling their travel, they also minimize the collateral damage to civilians, hospitals, etc.

When our formations of bombers flew into enemy territory, it wasn’t unusual for a plane to get hit by anti-aircraft fire or to get thrown off course by the weather. This created problems staying in formation, which increased the problems getting back to base.

The pilot would order the bombardier to jettison the bombs. They would not always land in empty fields. Collateral damage was sometimes severe.

I still wake up occasionally in the middle of the night dreaming of innocent children being hit.

So in that respect, drones are a vast improvement in cutting fatalities for both sides.

There is no perfect solution.

Drones are an improvement over some of the evils of the past, but they will get bigger and bigger and can be abused as well.

Al Burk


UCC incorrectly linked to Presbyterian Church

In reading the front-page article on religion in Maine (“Closing of South Portland church underscores Maine trend,” July 31), I was shocked to see the United Church of Christ listed as Presbyterian.

Where on earth did this misinformation come from? (The Association of Religion Data Archives was listed as the source.)

With more research, the writer would have found the UCC traces its roots to early New England and is better known as Congregational (churches that are entirely self-governing).

While there are Presbyterian churches in Maine, they are fewer in number and trace their roots to Calvinism.

Jean Roberts Leach

Ocean Park

NRA could teach the poor about insisting on rights

To protect one clause of the Constitution, we tolerate the occasional mass murder. When it comes to free speech, the Portland City Council — shame on them, and us — prefers to protect drivers from the pain of having to look poverty in the eye.

The homeless ought to enlist the National Rifle Association. Then maybe they can stand their ground.

Jeff Blake


Riverside Street pothole near turnpike needs fixing

Hey, Portland, what’s up with the huge pothole on Riverside Street at the turnpike entrance?

It’s been there for quite some time and no effort has been made to fill it. I actually saw a car disappear for a minute, only to emerge slowly from the other end.

I wonder how many wheels have been knocked out of alignment. How about some action?

David M. O’Connor



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