- The Washington Times - Friday, November 29, 2002

Amnesty deja-vu all over again

The cornerstone of good immigration policy is that it be fair, equitable and not reward scofflaws at the expense of those who play by the rules. Unfortunately for the United States, it's deja vu all over again.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza is promoting the administration's policy that panders to one politically powerful ethnic group, Mexicans, much to the delight of Mexico's President Vicente Fox ("Bush again to push amnesty for Mexican aliens," Nation, Saturday).
Rather than acting as a good neighbor and helping us control our border, the government of Mexico facilitates illegal border crossings by providing specially made "survival kits" and identification cards to would-be border jumpers, cards that allow illegals to open bank accounts, enroll their children in school and obtain driver's licenses.
Census data show that 9 million illegal immigrants call America "home," a population significantly larger than that of our largest city, New York. The scale of illegal immigration alone should serve as a wake-up call to the highest level of our government.
While immigration has served as our nation's backbone for more than 200 years, the strength we have gained from it has been in the fair process undertaken, not from a system that favors those who jump the queue. Not only does favoritism toward border-jumpers evoke animosity among legal immigrants, it sends the message that scofflaws are rewarded when they come to America illegally. The net result will be even greater illegal immigration and further loss of control over our borders.
Our government needs to develop long-term solutions to help our legal immigrants integrate into American society, especially the 21.3 million who don't speak English very well. They remain marginalized and oftentimes ostracized in the shadows of our society and are not likely to reach the American dream.
Let's help those law-abiding immigrants who play by the rules and come to the United States legally, not those who mock our laws and steal across the border.

MAURO E. MUJICA
Chairman and chief executive officer
U.S. English
Washington

Feds need to make healthy improvements

Suzanne Fields' column titled "Nursing Home Corp." (Op-Ed, Nov. 21) is correct to state the federal nursing home quality initiative is an excellent new program, yet incorrect to claim that federal reimbursements are not a problem.
The Bush administration's initiative to improve the quality of nursing home care is a great idea, but it is offset by the cutting of Medicare benefits by $1.8 billion on Oct. 1, which threatens the quality of care provided to patients. Access to quality care has now been jeopardized, and our patients are put at risk.
As Congress has now adjourned, and failed to restore the funds, it fails the logic test to allow federal Medicare cuts to stay in effect that threaten to eliminate key frontline nursing staff jobs, particularly certified nurse aides, who provide 80 percent of the direct hands-on care to patients. Study after study has demonstrated the direct correlation between number of staff and quality of care.
Congress departed Washington, leaving in its wake an incongruent and illogical policy of supporting a new federal nursing home quality initiative, while simultaneously cutting Medicare funding upon which quality care is contingent.
Furthermore, with a majority of states struggling to close budget deficits, and avoid freezing or reducing essential Medicaid-funded seniors' programs, we need help from the federal government now more than ever to ensure that funding for seniors' care is stable and intact, not shaky and wobbly.
It is time for our nation to have a consistent and logical policy for long-term care not the cut-and-paste, finger-in-the-dike approach that exists today, and that is made worse by slashing Medicare funding. Congress cannot, on the one hand, demand higher quality patient care and, on the other, cut the financial resources necessary to achieve this essential public policy objective.
We are excited about the new federal nursing home improvement program, and want it to be the success it deserves to be. Yet, for Congress to adjourn without resolving the disconnect between instituting a new "quality" program while cutting the funds to actually improve quality is a disappointing way to end the session, to say the least.

DR. CHARLES H. ROADMAN II
President and chief executive officer
American Health Care Association
Washington

Bible business

The article "Bible society marks 50 years for Revised Standard Version" (Nation, Monday) didn't state the main reason why many fundamentalist Christians don't like the proliferation of Bible translations that has taken place, starting with the Revised Standard Version (RSV). It doesn't have anything to do with a preference for thee and thou, or for the sometimes archaic language used in the King James version (KJV).
The major objection is that the RSV and many other recent translations are translated from different original Greek texts than the KJV and also the New King James Version. The KJV and NKJV New Testaments are based on the textus receptus (received text or TR), while most newer translations are based on the Westcott and Hort (W-H) Greek text. Seven percent of the Greek words in the TR are different from those in W-H. Many of the differences are omissions or additions, not just substitutions of words. Many of the W-H omissions include direct references to Jesus Christ, and dramatically affect the reading of individual verses. In fact, some entire verses are missing in the W-H version.
While Westcott and Hort claimed that their texts were older (and, therefore, more accurate) than the TR texts, this assertion is not borne out by scholarly research. In fact, there are tremendous variations between many of the original W-H texts, much more so than between any TR texts. In those cases, Westcott and Hort chose a text or cobbled together more than one text to form their version. Additionally, there are about 5,250 partial or complete original Greek texts that support the TR, while there are only 400 texts that support W-H.
Many fundamentalists also don't think God's Word should be "owned" by any individual or company, as in the case of a copyrighted translation. It is illegal to make and distribute copies of these translations without paying royalties to the copyright owner.
And, of course, if a company owns a particular translation, as in the case of Zondervan Publishing, which owns the New International Version (NIV), it is free to make wholesale changes as it sees fit. Zondervan recently released a gender-neutral version of the NIV called Today's NIV. Zondervan had planned to replace the NIV with the TNIV, but delayed that move for now due to protests from fundamentalists.
I refer readers to an excellent book on the subject, "Which Greek Text? The Debate Among Fundamentalists" by Charles L. Surrett.

HUGH GUYNN
Raleigh, N.C.

Bad grammar

As the mother of a current Peace Corps volunteer, I enjoyed the article about the former Peace Corps volunteers who recently returned to Morocco ("Renewing ties with old friends in Morocco," Page B1, Saturday). I plan to send it to my daughter to encourage her in her work in Honduras.
However, I do want to point out a couple of errors that troubled me because they aren't the first such errors I have seen in The Washington Times. The first is the quote from the former English teacher who says, "[B]etween the students and I ." The object of the preposition "between" should be "me."
I realize that when a reporter gathers quotes, they are taken down in the speaker's own words. But it is troublesome when such errors are made by an English teacher and then reprinted without correction or the (sic) notation.
Then in the 11th paragraph, the word "more" is inserted before "stronger," as though it might be needed for clarity or correction. I'm sure you know that "stronger" is the correct comparative form of "strong."
Sorry about the nitpicking. I just thought you'd like to know. I do enjoy your paper. I've recently switched to The Times after subscribing to The Washington Post for 15 years, and your paper is a refreshing change.

SUSAN CRAWFORD
Falls Church


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