Official: Foreign kids may be hazard | July 19
Border crisis recalls a sad chapter
As an American-born child of parents who emigrated here from Germany in 1955, I have watched the saga of the Central American children closely. While I understand the argument that legal immigrants wait years for the paperwork entitling them to come to the United States (as my parents did), my heart wants to believe the words written on the Statue of Liberty: "Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … "
I am more than sad as I watch our leaders posturing and arguing to send back the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have appeared at our borders in the past few months from Central American nations. The parents of these children have, at great expense, voluntarily and with incomprehensible heartbreak sent them to the arms of America to be sheltered from violence at home. And many apparently have simply made it here on their own, having no parents back home.
In an apparent attempt to rationalize sending these children back to possibly horrific circumstances, Florida's surgeon general, John Armstrong, has questioned, using "unconfirmed reports," whether these children may pose a medical threat to the state's population. However, a spokesman from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kenneth J. Wolfe, has stated that immunization practices in Central America are similar to those in the United States and that there is a medical screening process in place at the border.
The tragic image that is summoned up is that of the authorities here in America who denied the docking of ships full of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939. Those Jews were the monied, well-educated business owners who were able to secure the crossing. So I guess it stands to reason that these children, who are likely neither rich nor educated, stand no chance at all.
As a reference, those Jews are called "refugees" in the history books, not "undocumented illegal immigrants." There was a difference then that we paid no heed to. I pray that we heed it today. May God bless America.
Dagmar Milroy, St. Petersburg
Too many unopposed
With the approval ratings for Congress in the tank, you would think that incumbent members of Congress would be facing some serious opposition in the coming election. Not so.
About 80 sitting House members lack any opposition from a major party and most likely will win re-election easily. This is nearly double the number of those facing no opposition in 2012. American voters: apathetic, or just pathetic?
H.A. Smith, Palm Harbor
Hold Putin to account for disaster July 19, editorial
Obama's empty words
Three of the most often used words by the Obama administration are "accountable," "consequences" and "unacceptable." Consequences, I think, was Hillary Clinton's favorite word. Example: When the Iranians plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil, she said, "There will be consequences." It's been a couple of years and the public awaits anxiously to see what she meant.
As to the shot-down passenger liner, the Times says President Barack Obama "struck the right note by calling for prompt access to the accident site by international investigators." If the Russians don't agree to this, my guess is that Obama will find their denial "unacceptable," and he may even throw in a "there will be consequences" for good measure.
After drawing a red line about Syria's use of chemical weapons and later claiming that he did not draw the line, does anyone really believe that any nation, ally or foe, takes seriously any thing Obama says?
The only commitment this president has kept is to be on time for fundraisers.
Mike Lyons, Apollo Beach
Advance for gay rights | July 17
Religion masks bigotry
I am frustrated by the religious right's claim that providing equal rights to the LGBT community is an attack on their beliefs and their constitutional right to freedom of religion. They need to reread the First Amendment, which states in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of thereof … "
Under this amendment, you cannot base any law on anyone's religious beliefs, as it could be used to deny rights to non-Christians based on Christian beliefs. The amendment goes on to guarantee freedom of speech, freedom of the press and to peacefully assemble. Thus, people are free to worship as they please and to give voice to their beliefs. But they cannot force others to practice their religion or to establish law based on their beliefs.
I know quite a few members of the LGBT community who are devout Christians, and many churches that have graciously opened their doors and welcomed them into their membership. Those protesting equal rights to any citizens are just using religion to mask their own prejudice and homophobia.
Christopher J. Davies, St. Petersburg
Wrong side of history
It looks like Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and her party are ignoring the winds of change sweeping over the country. They again put ideology ahead of reason and stubbornly try and defend a cause lost long ago.
The Republicans are on the wrong side of history, again.
Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel
Redistricting arguments scheduled for Thursday | July 18
Don't let injustice stand
There should be no reward for trying to run the clock out in a constitutional case. Allowing elections to proceed under a map that was ruled unconstitutional would mean that candidates who might well lose elections in fairly drawn districts will not only win this time but go into the following election with the clear advantages of incumbency. "You violated the Constitution, but we'll let you get away with it this time" would be a terrible precedent.
Yes, doing things the right way will be costly at this late hour. But justice demands it. The state should do everything possible (including lawsuits) to recover costs from the guilty parties.
John Chamless, Pinellas Park