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WEDNESDAY, MAY 4, 2005
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Illegals utilize scarce resources

THE DECATUR DAILY:

The April 24 DAILY addressed several issues, including an article addressing council members' concerns about Hispanic gangs, and a reader's letter regarding environmental issues. Here, as in the rest of the country, these two issues are linked.

The members of the fast-increasing number of gangs in Decatur are Spanish-speaking, which makes them Hispanic. However, many are Mexican nationals, mostly illegal aliens. Some are also Guatemalan nationals, some of whom are also illegal. So, how can we begin to solve this problem? Report gang activity to the police and follow up to find out what was done. Take it a step further and call the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. By law, they must look into suspected illegal alien cases. Unfortunately, federal law prohibits school officials from reporting the many illegal aliens enrolled there each day. Public hospitals cannot ask about immigration status, either. So, that responsibility falls to the community as a whole. Also, before you hire people to landscape your yard or paint your house, ask them to sign an affidavit stating they employ only legal workers.

As far as the environmental problem goes, it is not rocket science how immigration affects our natural resources. Two-thirds of America's population growth is caused by immigration. In recent years, we have admitted more than 1.5 million people annually, and they have some 750,000 children annually. Immigration increases our population by more than 2 million per year. That means higher resource use and waste generation.

None of this is about xenophobia, racism or any other label pro-immigration proponents throw around. It's righteous indignation about what is being done to our country. Maybe, now that it's in our own backyards, more people will wake up.

Carmen Callahan

Decatur

Lawmakers and schools' import

THE DECATUR DAILY:

I was privileged to be part of a delegation of educators who traveled to Montgomery last week. Our intention was to create a show of force with other educators and AEA members from across the state during the Senate session slated for that day.

Due to a lack of attendance by our senators the previous day, no session was held Tuesday (April 26). However, our elected officials were keenly aware of our presence on Wednesday (April 27).

I wanted to thank our local Unified Service director for her leadership during this lobbying effort. Also, a tremendous thanks to Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts and Rep. Jeremy Oden for meeting with us and for their history of supporting our students. Both legislators were individually gracious and hospitable during our visit.

Each of us must make it a point to contact our legislators and remind them of their duty to us. THE DAILY lists those names in the printed and Internet versions of the newspaper. Please contact them today!

Matt Stiles

Falkville

More on Bible Belt charity

THE DECATUR DAILY:

Regarding the (May 1) editorial letter by Brandon Browning: It's commendable that Alabamians are noted for giving directly to charitable organizations, oftentimes in a spirit of Christianity.

But giving to one's own church (including the church building fund), though a charitable gift, does nothing to support property tax-dependent public education, and is of limited benefit in helping the at least 16 percent of the state's population who live below the poverty line.

Tina Seeborg

Decatur

Decision to ban book was wrong

THE DECATUR DAILY:

I have read your April 17 article about the banning of "Whale Talk" from Limestone County schools. There are several things that disturbed me about this article.

First, (board member James) Shannon should have excused himself from the vote because of his relationship with Mrs. (Christi) Brooks.

Second, the superintendent and his committee investigated this book and determined that the book did not contain material that should be banned. The school board should have supported those findings.

Third, students in today's world find far worse material on the computers their parents have purchased (as, undoubtedly, the Brooks family has). One parent's decision to take material away from students is censorship of the worst kind.

Mary L. Peterson

Bloomfield Village, Mich.

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