- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2005

Conflict on the border

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) agrees that the federal government must act to secure American borders (“Minuteman volunteers vow to keep border secure,” Page 1, Monday). An amateur volunteer civilian border patrol like the Minutemen is not the answer. If a dozen years of sustained and unparalleled growth in Border Patrol agents has not curtailed illegal immigration, a handful or scores of self-styled amateur Minutemen will not do the job or serve the national interest.

Instead, as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, key to the administration’s enforcement strategy is a temporary worker program that would provide an incentive to foreign workers to “come out of the shadows” and acquire legal status.

The administration is correct that comprehensive immigration reform should encompass both a process (such as that of the bipartisan McCain-Kennedy bill) for legalization of immigrants who are already here, contributing to the American economy and American society, as well as increased enforcement at our land, sea, and air entry points.

The Minutemen lack the training to enforce federal immigration law, are not well-supervised, and are prone to vigilantism. Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union reported that a Minuteman volunteer from Colorado was arrested after he gave a ride to two migrants in his car.

According to the Border Patrol, the volunteer came across the migrants after they flagged him down for food and water while he was driving in Hidalgo County. Allowing Minutemen to take the law into their own hands and determine who has a legal right to be in this country is an affront to the rule of law and a dangerous step toward racial profiling and violence against Latinos, regardless of their immigration status.

America needs true immigration reform that is comprehensive, bipartisan and backed by effective federal leadership and widespread public support. Self-help is no help to the Border Patrol or the American people.


Legislative staff attorney



I applaud the Minutemen for their assistance with the growing problem of illegal immigration. I am pro-legal immigration. However, people who cross our borders illegally are not only thumbing their noses at our laws, but also are highlighting the incompetence of our federal government to protect us from terrorists.

Why bother going through scrutiny at an airport if you can simply fly to Mexico and walk across the border?

If anyone wants the Minutemen to leave, the solution seems simple. Have the Herndon day-laborer site enroll in the Basic Pilot Program, which quickly checks a worker’s Social Security number or federal work permit, so we can verify that the workers are here legally. I do not want my tax dollars spent assisting illegal immigrants.



I am responding to “Hispanic group challenges Minuteman initiative” (Metropolitan, Saturday). I am an American citizen, and I, too, live in Virginia. This article was particularly distressing to me, as I am married to a Hispanic man from Venezuela. I find the subject of illegal aliens to be extremely irritating, as my husband’s migration to the States was so difficult.

We had been married for a year before we could even get an appointment at the American Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Then, when we did get there, the employees sent us to the wrong place, and we wound up having to make a new appointment.

We had to return a month later, pay $300 to file a petition, and still our work was not done. I wound up having to take our 3-month-old son and leave for Virginia while my husband awaited the next step.

It took several months and a friend of ours screaming at embassy officials over the phone before he finally got his next appointment. He endured many hardships (including getting robbed and having someone try to steal his passport for the visa) and five months away from his wife and infant son before he finally made it to the States.

That, however, was not the end of the process. We have had to file more papers and pay many fees for him to get his permanent residency status. He is in the process of filing for citizenship, and we must, once again, file papers and pay fees.

Now I hope you can understand why illegal aliens upset me so. My husband and I worked long and hard for his visa. Why should anyone else be any different? As Americans, we are required to file for visas, pay for passports and receive vaccines in order to get into other countries, so why should people coming here be any different? I for one applaud the services of the Minutemen and hope they keep up the good work.


Front Royal, Va.

A reverence for cultural diversity

Helle Dale’s lament (“Clash of cultures,” Op-Ed, Wednesday) that UNESCO’s Treaty on Cultural Diversity, recently passed against just America’s and Israel’s opposition, is designed to limit cultural diversity, not expand it, confirms an increasingly prevalent political formulation: namely, that the degree to which “diversity” is used to justify the implementation of a program, policy or appointment is inversely proportional to the wisdom of doing so. (By way of another current example, President Bush used the “D” word in one of his early pronouncements of the Harriet Miers appointment; he did not for his nomination of Ben Bernanke to head the U.S. Federal Reserve.)

Perhaps more galling (“Gaul-ing”?) than the fact that the French led the charge against America at UNESCO is that they and their fellow treaty supporters learned this diversity doublespeak from… America. It was about 25 years ago that a sufficiently critical mass of Americans finally realized that affirmative action’s “reverse discrimination” was really just discrimination, unscrupulously used to ensure that a favored group received preferential treatment in education, jobs and sundry other benefits.

So, the mostly left-wing folks who used affirmative action as a weapon to favor their constituencies had to figure a new way around the “discrimination” label. In a brilliant stroke of politically correct wordsmithing, “diversity” was established as a value and instantly validated by an activist judiciary.

Today, every American institution from the Supreme Court to professional baseball to corporate America bows before the altar of diversity. No matter that the promotion of diversity is no different, in practice, from old-fashioned discrimination — and doesn’t ensure actual diversity so much as it does that benefits once again are legally bestowed based upon one’s skin color, gender or ethnicity.

Ironically, what the French and UNESCO did is actually quite American: Simply substitute one “D” word for another, and, voila, “cultural discrimination” becomes “cultural diversity,” pursuant to which France and its UNESCO amis feel perfectly justified in trying to exclude America from the globalization stage.


Oak Hill, Va.

Radiation poses a real threat

Joshua Gilder’s arguments against LNT (linear no-threshold) radiation are simply untrue (“Chernobyl exposed,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). His arguments are disingenuous to anyone with a scientific background.

Radiation causes cancer by damaging living cells. The more radiation, the more damage. Quite linear. The fallacy in Mr. Gilder’s arguments against this is that he ignores other sources of cancer that at different levels can easily override background-radiation-induced cancers in the statistics. Air and water pollution, smoking, asbestos and a whole array of known carcinogens are examples. That these can sometimes mask the effects of radiation does not mean that the radiation is not an ever-present danger.





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