- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2005

Illegals and judicial bureaucracy

The article “Border Patrol grabs 1.15 million illegals in ‘04” (Page 1, yesterday), certainly is good news for Americans. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner deserves a good deal of credit for clarifying the lines of authority and giving his agents a clear mission. However, the article did not address how many of those criminals were actually deported.

The obstacles to getting rid of illegals are myriad. The system is clogged by conflicting statutes, administrative regulations, judicial fiefdoms and a feeding frenzy of immigration lawyers. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 clearly states that the arresting officer can order an alien removed without a further hearing or review if the alien lacks valid documents.

We are a nation of laws, but we are becoming a nation obsessed with the politically correct, liberal ACLU mentality.

BOB ALLAN

Rochester Hills, Mich.

Swearing on the Bible

It is not surprising that people who are anti-God are challengingeveryone else’s right to speak about God or to God or even to hint at His name or His influence in our lives (“Atheist sues to ban hand on Bible,” Page 1, Saturday).

Many have attempted, like the Grinch, to steal Christmas and other religious holidays, and to try to make us forget that our nation was founded on the principle of religious liberty, the very reason our ancestors risked their lives to come to a new country where they would not have to practice their religion underground.

What is surprising is that some of our legislators and our courts would allow the undermining of our Constitution.

I am pleased that President Bush is upholding the Constitution and exercising his religious freedom. During the invocation prayer, Michael Newdow, a licensed minister of atheism, can pray along with the others, or not pray, as he chooses. That doesn’t make him a “second-class citizen.”

As a Catholic, I don’t consider myself a second-class citizen, even though the clergyman present will not be a Catholic priest. I am free to choose to pray with whomever the president chooses, or not. My freedom of religion is secure knowing that if a Catholic president were being inaugurated, he or she would be free to choose a priest.

I pray to God that the freedoms for which our forefathers paid such a high price will not be chipped away, but will flourish under the Stars and Stripes, and that we will remain one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

CAROLYN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring

Until reading Michael Newdow’s view on wanting to legally prevent “President Bush from placing his hand on a Bible while being sworn in at his inauguration,” I didn’t have a strong view one way or the other. Now, I do.

In a secular country, which we are (and given the events around the world, that clearly seems a good thing to be), the use of a Bible for a swearing-in would seem to lack any sort of meaningful symbolism. I believe the president, and members of Congress, too, should be sworn in with their hands on a copy of the Bill or Rights and of the Constitution. That would be symbolic. In fact, why not the members of the Supreme Court?

BARBARA ANN PORTE

Arlington

Relationship between Somalia and Somaliland

Richard Rahn’s recent column about Somaliland (“Curious case of Somaliland,” Commentary, Thursday) contained many inaccuracies about Somaliland and its relationship to Somalia that need to be addressed. First and foremost, I, too, celebrate the democratic successes Somaliland has had in recent years.

However, Somaliland’s recent democratic successes should not come at the expense of Somali sovereignty, which Mr. Rahn ignores.

It should be noted that Somaliland was never intended to be “independent” from Somalia. The British, who controlled northwestern Somalia (known as Somaliland), and the Italians, who controlled northeastern Somalia (known as Puntland), including the southern part of Somalia, agreed to grant independence on the same date, July 1, 1960, to facilitate the merging of the two areas into one Somalia.

The British, wanting to claim they gave independence first, jumped the gun and gave independence to Somaliland four days ahead of when Italians gave independence to their territory. Nonetheless, the two areas were quickly merged, reflecting the desires of the people of both areas to be one country. Now, a great number of Somalilanders strongly oppose the secession of Somaliland.

The desires of the people from both areas to be one nation make perfect sense when one understands the clan ties between the people of Somaliland and Somalia.

In addition, the ties continue to be close when one understands that the current president of Puntland, adjacent to Somaliland, is from Somaliland and the current government of Somalia has provided 61 seats in its parliament for the Dir clan, which is the ruling clan in Somaliland.

In fact, some members of the Dir clan are pushing for independence from Somalia. In that regard, from a clan perspective, independence makes sense. Nationwide, internationally and culturally, it makes no sense and probably is one of the reasons no one is moving or should move to recognize a Somaliland state.

It also is important to note that Somaliland is not comparable to Yugoslavia or the Baltic States, as Mr. Rahn states. Yugoslavia was separated because of the historical irreconcilable religious differences and extreme hatred therein.

The Baltic States have distinct languages, religions and ethnic differences. More important, the Baltic States were independent in 1918 and lost that independence only through Soviet aggression. Somaliland and Somalia are one in culture, language and religion.

It also is very bothersome that Mr. Rahn has attempted to equate the current government of Somalia with the Siad Barre regime of the 1970s and ‘80s. The current president of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who was elected on Oct. 10, was imprisoned by, and fought against, Mr. Barre for years. President Yusuf, as president of Puntland, also fought terrorism throughout the 1990s in and around Puntland. Without Mr. Yusef’s help, Somaliland would not have the democratic opportunities it has today.

It is not true that all of Somalia is in chaos. Somalia has made great strides in the past year in reconstituting its government for the first time since 1991. It has an elected parliament, which is inclusive of all the major and minor clans, including members of the ruling clan in Somaliland.

The parliament has selected the president, speaker of the parliament and prime minister. The prime minister has put his Cabinet together and has presented his plan of governance to the parliament. It is working to establish itself in Somalia and should do so in the next month.

Most important to the United States, the government of Somalia is very aggressive in supporting Western standards in all phases of governance, economic development and fighting terrorism. Somalia is strategically located and has the strategic resources and desire to become a great friend to the United States.

A year from now, even greater strides will have been made and the world will appreciate Somalia. Accordingly, Somalia can no longer be described in the terms Mr. Rahn used in his column, and because of this, when the time is right, Somalia and Somaliland will be as they were, one nation under one God.

ABDULLAHI DEL

Ambassador-designate

Embassy of Somalia

Washington

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