- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

A fog of secondhand arguments

Damon Ansell and Emily Sedgwick's Dec. 13 Op-Ed column, "Second-hand justice," reads as if it has been plagiarized from the tobacco industry's playbook. The authors suggest that President Bush should order the Department of Justice to drop the lawsuit against the tobacco industry. They repeatedly describe the lawsuit as frivolous. They contend that additional taxation of tobacco products has generated billions of dollars in "profit" for the government. Further, they contend that if tobacco company revenues are "ill-gotten" and subject to disgorgement, government revenue must be classified in like manner. They contend that because the tobacco industry agreed in the Master Settlement Agreement to prohibit future racketeering, future "illegal conduct" by the tobacco industry is unlikely.
The question that needs to be addressed is this: Since the vast majority of the medical and scientific community has determined that the nicotine in tobacco is at least as addictive as any other illegal addictive substance, how has the tobacco industry remained the only entity in the country allowed to market legally an addictive product without a prescription?

RICHARD P. FEHR
Sharpsburg, Ga.

Still a nation of immigrants

"It is time to face the reality," Linda Bowles says in a Nov. 23 column, "Through open gates," in which she says America is being "degraded, disunited and endangered" by immigrants. Columnist Phyllis Schlafly ("Is it assimilation or invasion?" Nov. 24) suggests that Mexican immigrants are trying to "reconquer" America. The same claims of "degradation" and "invasion" were leveled by the Know-Nothings in the 19th century, when the forebears of many of the same people who decry today's immigration came to Ellis Island looking for work. I'm sure I don't have to remind them it was an "invasion" that founded this country and expelled or displaced the many ancestors of, ironically enough, today's Mexican immigrantsnot to mention Indians. Funny how our history books do not call westward expansion an "invasion."
Further, I find it naive to suggest that poor, uneducated immigrants looking for work have less right to be here then those here on non-immigrant visas spending millions of dollars, studying, vacationing and destroying tall buildings with commercial airliners. The September 11 terrorists entered the country legally on visas. No Mexican immigrant ever slaughtered 3,000 innocent Americans. Yet articles in The Washington Times accuse these immigrants of sapping public funds, harboring terrorists and, of course, voting for Democrats. Indeed, to Mrs. Schlafly, an impoverished Mexican immigrant learning English in a Texas school is just as dangerous as a highly educated, well-funded terrorist on a legal visa. It is time to face the reality that this rhetoric is inflammatory and just plain xenophobic.
Our nation is still a nation of immigrants. At the National Archives, our government preserves the millions of immigration documents spanning our 200-year history. The immigration records of my grandparents from Germany and Mexico share the same building with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I cannot think of a better monument to our immigrant history. Unfortunately, articles in The Washington Times use these same documents against today's immigrants. If the writers would visit the National Archives, they would find all of our family histories are on the same shelf.

MIGUEL VIEYRA
Junction City, Kan.

Status of nanny immigration case clarified

In reference to Jerry Seper's Dec. 10 story "Appeals panel, judge differ on fate of nanny," we wish to provide an update on the status of the reported case and to clarify some procedural issues.
When your reporter inquired about the case of Melanie Jeanbeaucejour on Dec. 3, the record indicated that the motion filed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) with the Board of Immigration Appeals was still pending. On Dec. 6, the board sent the matter for review to the attorney general at his request. The matter is before the attorney general and not pending before the board. Your reporter's inquiry came about the same time the case status was changing.
I also want to clarify a point of procedure. You reported in the first paragraph that the board "has yet to schedule a hearing" on the INS motion. That is true, but only because the board generally does not hold hearings for motions and appeals. The only time board members may personally meet the parties in an appellate case is when the board agrees to hear oral arguments. Oral arguments generally are not granted for motions.
Finally, I question the purpose and tone of your statement in the final paragraph that "None of the panel members who ruled in the case has been available for comment." Your reporter did not ask me if they were available. If he had, I would have told him that, as a matter of policy and practice followed by most judges, board members do not comment publicly on the cases they adjudicate.

RICK KENNEY
Acting public affairs officer
Executive Office for Immigration Review
U.S. Department of Justice
Falls Church

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