The restrictive new Arizona immigration law may be unconstitutional and/or ill-conceived, but 70 percent of the state's population favors it. And the federal government has delayed a policy decision for a variety of reasons, which has made the issue fester in the public mind and media.
President George W. Bush started a comprehensive approach and two U.S. senators are now pressing for a version of it. Congress has deliberately delayed acting on a hot-button subject. Neither President Barack Obama's immediate condemnation of the law nor your analysis in an editorial will make any difference. The imagined response about racial profiling and certain police misconduct hardly advances thoughtful discussion and appears akin to unprovable propaganda.
The better answer lies either in the deliberative legislative processes of Congress or a federal court challenge — or better yet both.
There are too many illegal immigrants, and our border with Mexico is a sieve for those seeking what is economic asylum. We deserve a secure border since Mexico can't and doesn't provide for many of its people. And that truth isn't refuted by arguing Americans buy Mexican exported drugs and ship weapons to Mexico. Though we are in a global economy, it is made up of independent nation states. Thus Mexico and the United States must admit both have problems, and Congress must set about working out a legislative solution that doesn't surrender U.S. interests and is fair to those illegal immigrants who have in some way earned or will earn the right to gain American citizenship.
Too many issues like immigration give rise to quick and hysterical public reactions and noxious charges. As diverse as the United States is, we can still solve most problems by dialogue rather than specious allegations that appeal to the basest instincts.
James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg
It's about time
Give Arizona a great big hug for me. It is about time someone did something about the people who don't belong here. They won't abide by our laws. They do what they want and expect us to take care of them. Send them all back and maybe a real American can get a job.
Donald R. Talbot, New Port Richey.
Arizona law is a blunder | April 27, editorial
The feds have failed
The blunder is not the Arizona law but the federal government's inability to police our borders. Arizona is being flooded with illegals and drug dealers while the feds seem powerless to halt the flow. The Times editorial mentions how much immigrants have contributed to the wealth of our country, however we are talking about legal immigrants, not illegals. The Arizona law concerns illegals, and why is it so hard to understand that it is a crime to enter the country illegally?
If the federal government can't or won't protect our borders, then border states should have the right to protect their own borders.
Dayle Stevens, Largo
Fed up, Arizona gets drastic on immigration April 28
A matter of legality
If the law is used correctly, no one should have a problem with it. If they used roadblocks as they do to catch DUI offenders and stop everyone to check their IDs, there couldn't be a question of racial profiling. When doing a drug bust I'm sure they don't just check the Hispanic-looking offenders!
I think we have lost the big picture here. What part of illegal is not understood? Illegal immigrants by very definition are breaking the law when they step a foot over the line into our country. It has become an invasion by another country.
We have immigration laws so our system is not overtaxed. Yet we are forced to provide medical care, education and housing for a group that gives nothing back. They work under the table and pay no taxes and break our laws, because they don't respect them.
Let them apply for entry into this country in the proper manner and we would all be happy! And if they don't like their country the way it is, stay home and work to change it. We did.
Mary Chandler, St. Petersburg
They are among us
In order to rid the state of Arizona of its illegally established residents, and given the U.S. government's inability to protect its borders, the governor of Arizona signed into law a bill that requires everyone to cooperate willingly to be identified as a legal citizen. That's not too much to ask.
With resistance so strong against the law, I wonder if the enemy isn't already established and readily identified: hollering the loudest and urging all citizens to join them in resisting the law and parading for its repeal.
As the comic strip character Pogo would say: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Hartley Steeves, Tampa
Okay with showing ID | April 28, letter
I agree completely with the letter writer in that asking for ID isn't, of itself, an onerous request. However, I wonder if she would feel the same if she were stopped by the police and asked for her ID for doing nothing more than walking down the street, minding her own business, but acting in a "suspicious" manner — with the definition of "suspicious" being at the discretion of the officer.
As much as the supporters of this new Arizona law insist that it will not lead to racial profiling, I think nearly everyone will agree that not too many white people will be stopped and asked for their ID to ensure they're not illegal Canadians.
Jerry Frissell, Palm Harbor
A USF traffic camera brawl | April 25, story
An unworthy technique
Thanks go to Michael Van Sickler for showcasing the problem with red light cameras in this article.
The University of South Florida should distance itself from the private and unscientific activities of Ed Mierzejewski, director of USF's Center for Urban Transportation Research. I was outraged by the populist techniques that Mierzejewski has used to sway public officials. I am also concerned with secretive deals between trauma hospitals by the red light camera companies in exchange for influencing legislation supporting red light cameras.
It surprises me that Floridians would support a big-government intrusion into their private lives. Of course, I am also against red light running. Instead of jumping on the camera bandwagon, our public officials should prefer scientific evidence such as that produced by USF Public Health Department over one man's Googling.
Dan Gerson, Dunedin
Red light cameras
Show a timer
When I approach a light in St. Petersburg, I sometimes glance at the crosswalk timer to see how many seconds are left before the light changes. I find this information to be quite useful. If there are 8 seconds left I will easily clear the intersection; if there are 2 seconds left I may not.
I think it would be only fair if every time a red light camera was installed, a highly visible timer was also installed. I'll bet fewer people would run red lights if they could more accurately judge how much time they had left before the light went red. The state seems anxious to punish drivers. How about helping them, too?
Roy Jones, St. Petersburg
Red light cameras
Remember the real intent
If the powers that be expect the public to buy into the idea of red light cameras, then they should stop abusing the system. In my opinion, the intent of the cameras is to catch true red light runners, not the person who does a right on red and crosses over the stop bar before the turn is made.
Wake up and use the red light camera idea the way it was intended. Its purpose was to enhance highway safety not supplement someone's budget.
Conard Hunter, Brooksville
Vouchers for 70,000 kids | April 23, story
A parent's choice
I'm a single mom with not enough money to go around, and I'm not sure what Pinellas School Board chairwoman Janet Clark is trying to tell me about my daughter. When Taylor was ready to enter kindergarten, I applied to five different Pinellas County public schools and was rejected by all of them. So I chose a Tax Credit Scholarship, and it has been a blessing. The school she attends, St. Petersburg Christian, has helped her blossom academically and socially.
I now read that Clark wants to take my choice away, and it makes wonder. Are you telling me you know what Taylor needs to succeed better than I do?
Shannon Coates, St. Petersburg
Share the cost
Disregarding the unconstitutional use of state funds to private religious schools, it is high time the state began taxing church property to fill the gaps in our state budget for education at all levels. Church commercial property could bring in a lot of revenue for local governments to fund infrastructure, mass transit, recycling, public schools, etc. Then follow that with taxing church noncommercial property like churches, religious schools, etc.
You can't have it both ways. If you want taxpayers to fund religious education, then share the cost. Emperor Constantine gave the church a good deal at Nicaea, but apparently that isn't good enough for our legislators who want to undermine public education, break the teacher's union, and force every child into religious indoctrination. They need to re-read our Constitution.
James H. Vredevoogd, Dunnellon
Radical Muslim group threatens "South Park" guys | April 24
A threat to freedom
Creators of the TV show South Park were intimidated last week when their scheduled show was modified. Radical Muslims caused this modification.
The Prophet Mohammed's picture should be included in everyone's e-mail for a year. Perhaps that would stop these terrorists from targeting individuals or shows depicting their dead leader (whom even they concede was a man with a beard).
South Park isn't always to my taste but, as Americans, producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone's freedom to create shows and express themselves should not be curtailed by these zealots. What a shame it was.
Marjorie Browne, St. Petersburg
Somali pirates cash in on Goldman | April 27, satire by Andy Borowitz
Pirates on Wall Street
The Somali pirates may not be a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, but they both certainly are in the same type of "business" — dispossessing others of their property, although by different means.
Considering the number of dispossessed, the value of property that has changed hands and the global consequences of their activities, Somalis are small potatoes compared to Goldman Sachs. It would be interesting to compare the punishments when both are found guilty.
Boris Maximow, St. Pete Beach