E-mail letters, December 2, 2010

DREAM Act will
benefit all of us

In January we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. and the epic speech that lit a fire for civil rights nearly half a century ago. This week, our Congress will consider voting on an issue closely connected to that dream: the DREAM Act.

King said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I have a dream that one day all youth in this country will be able to pursue higher education without being judged by the immigration status inherited from their parents.

My nieces are bilingual, straight-A students who have straddled the cultural divide their entire lives, and volunteered in their community. They work in restaurants and nursing homes to pay their way
through college with a smile on their faces, while many American college students have never even held a job before graduation.

These “dreamers” know hard work and value education. They are frustrated by their lack of opportunities to better prepare themselves to join the workforce. They are youth full of potential but empty of hope.

Both the House and the Senate are considering versions of the DREAM Act now. If passed, students brought to the U.S. as kids without proper documentation could apply for temporary legal status, and eventually obtain permanent status and then citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military. This would open the door of opportunity not only for “dreamers,” but for all of us who would collectively benefit from their contributions to our economy.
Nicole Bernal Ruiz

DREAM Act would grant
amnesty to millions of illegals

I must take issue with both Bill Grant’s column and Nelly Garcia’s letter to the editor regarding the so called DREAM Act. This bill has been kicking around the halls of Congress since 2001 and has not passed.

This is a seriously flawed piece of legislation. It is always described as being “for the children” or “justice for scholars.” This is total nonsense. This transparent back-door amnesty scheme would apply mostly to adults in their 30s and would be the largest amnesty since the “one-time”
amnesty of 1986.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the DREAM Act would put an estimated 2.1 million illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, and would also give them access to in-state tuition rates, federal student loans, and federal work-study programs.

Illegals who gain citizenship through this bill would have the legal right to petition for the entry of their family members, including adult brothers and sisters and also the parents who illegally brought them to the U.S. in the first place. In less than a decade, the resulting chain migration could easily double or triple the 2.1 million green cards that will immediately be distributed.
Some of the major flaws are (from NumbersUSA):

There are no limits on how many illegal aliens may be granted amnesty, and they cannot be counted against any immigration cap.

There is no end date on the application period, so there is nothing to stop illegal aliens who enter in the future from applying if they are willing to lie about when they entered.

Every illegal alien who applies for amnesty would move to the front of the line, ahead of the millions of people who are in line to come to the U.S. the right way.

No alien who files an amnesty application may be removed from the U.S. before the application is adjudicated completely. This includes aliens with criminal records and even those with outstanding deportation orders, who would no doubt game the system to remain in the country.

A reasonable person might wonder why our Congress is pushing this legislation during a lame-duck session with only two weeks left before breaking for the rest of the year. With all the pressing matters before our country regarding job creation, tax policy, the foreclosure crisis, national security, etc., why is this being pushed on us now? Could there be a political agenda here? In spite of the heart-tugging stories you hear, could this be all about the political power?
Gary Akers

Extending drilling ban
won’t create more jobs

I see our president has extended the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska ban on offshore drilling for
another seven years. So much for creating jobs.

He says he wants a more environmentally friendly fuel. Let’s see him run his limo or Air Force One with a solar panel or windmill.
Bob Uhl
Grand Junction

Uncle’s story highlights
need for the DREAM Act

Passage of the DREAM Act might allow others the chance that my uncle had in this country.

He was born here in Colorado and worked in the fields to help support the family. Because of fieldwork, he rarely started or completed school with his kids of his own age, but he did graduate. He got a job with the railroad and eventually joined the Army during World War II. His railroad skills meant that he worked on rebuilding railroads in Europe after the D Day

After the war, he used his GI Bill benefits to attend the University of Wyoming and graduated with his degree. He eventually moved to New Mexico, got a job, married and raised three children. He paid taxes, never got into any trouble and was a well-respected member of the community. Last year he passed away and was laid to rest at the Veterans Cemetery in Santa

All this was possible because of the opportunity to gain an education and serve in the military of the country that gave him those opportunities. The only difference between him and those who would benefit from the DREAM Act is that he was born here and a citizen, although his parents and the brother who raised him were from Mexico.

Given the opportunity to do as my uncle, I am sure that most of the undocumented youth would choose a similar path and continue to add to the economic growth of this country. They should
at least be given the opportunity to show that this is why their parents brought them here and what they want also.
C. Maes
Grand Junction

Work at fairgrounds
benefits a small group

It certainly isn’t easy for the Mesa County commissioners to draft a budget for 2011 when revenue has dropped so much. To eliminate 10 deputy sheriff positions seems drastic , as this will have some level of negative impact on every citizen in the county.

Maybe things are so tight that this was absolutely necessary. Recent news reports suggest differently. The Commissioners have approved spending more than $750,000 to make improvements to the equestrian facilities at the county fairgrounds. These improvements will be paid with a loan. To benefit a very small number of citizens, all of us will get to pay for years and years and the interest costs as well.

It seems to me their priorities are way out of line. If we cannot afford necessities, we absolutely cannot afford this luxury.

In Washington, D.C., this sort of decision is called a pork-barrel project, an unnecessary project that benefits a small group at the expense of all taxpayers. I believe the same term should be applied to this expenditure and these commissioners.
John M. Leane
Grand Junction

Ending ban on gays
will have no benefit

Too bad the editors of the “already captured press” haven’t listened to Dick Black , a former combat Marine officer and U.S. Army lawyer who served in the Pentagon under Clinton.

He noted they didn’t find evidence of homosexuals being bullied for their sexual orientation — but did find 102 courts martial for homosexual assaults of other service members or on children in a four-year period.

Black noted that 1,160 retired generals and admirals wrote Congress asking they retain the ban on homosexuals in the military. Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmidt has reviewed the Pentagon report and published the answer to several key questions.

I cannot agree with what either Secretary of Defense Robert Gates or Admiral Mike Mullen
have said — that this can be done. They misrepresented what the Pentagon report said.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said on Fox news that gays have served in the military for decades and there hasn’t been a problem with our military being the finest in the world.” I agree with what she said. I also insist she has NOT given any reasonable cause to change either the policy or the law. After all, as she notes, they have served for decades with “no problems.”

And, as the former military officer Dick Black notes, change will cause disruption and there will be an increase in cases of soldiers raping other soldiers.

If Congress forces this change, there will be NO benefit, only harm done.
Robert Burkholder


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