U.S. Rep. John Kline's argument against President Obama's decision to give a reprieve to young people who entered this country illegally as children is flawed in its broad strokes of prejudice and history.
He was quoted as saying past generations of legal immigrants "came to this country to work hard, learn English, assimilate to the culture, and make great contributions to this great nation." Those that have entered this country, legally or not, have all needed to make individual choices as to how they conduct themselves once they are here. Our prison systems have had generations of "legal" immigrants who decided to engage in illegal activities.
I have had the honor and privilege of being acquainted with Alberto Perez, who was cited in the article. He has exceeded Obama's requirements for the reprieve, and Kline's description of "legal immigrants." Alberto is a driven, focused, and hard-working young man.
I have been impressed by his positive attitude, boundless energy, willingness to mentor others, and strong desire to continue his education so he may be of service to others. I was never aware of Alberto's immigrant status, and I couldn't care less.
His indomitable spirit and strong character make him an asset to this community and this country. Thank you, President Obama, for giving young people like Alberto the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
JILL TERRY, ST. LOUIS PARK
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Note to Republicans: I belong to the Democratic Party. It's not the "Democrat Party." These Republican cheap shots are tiresome, demeaning, and feeble attempts to denigrate a legitimate political party. Note that this term is not used by intelligent Republicans such as George Will or Michael Steele. It is used by the likes of Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.
VERNA HEIBERG, MINNEAPOLIS
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Regarding your June 18 editorial "Death spotlights lax motorcycle laws," it is clear that the Star Tribune has fallen into the same trap as many of the non-riding public: that helmet use alone is sufficient to ensure a motorcyclist's safety.
While my heart grieves for the mother mentioned in this story, nothing will be solved by passing a "one-size-fits-all" requirement. What is needed is a comprehensive study into the initial cause of crashes. These are not "accidents," and whether or not one is wearing a piece of equipment has no bearing on why or how the crash took place. Also, rider training and motorist awareness programs are of great benefit.
For over 20 years, ABATE (American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education) of Minnesota volunteers have offered the "Sharing the Road" program to teenagers during their drivers' education class. Tens of thousands of students have received awareness training that lasts a lifetime.
ABATE also strongly promotes the motorcycle training program statewide. Lessons learned in these classes benefit the student for years and years. These are proven programs that work and do not require heavy-handed legislation.
Even as motorcycle registrations have doubled, fatalities have decreased in recent years. While the Star Tribune and others continue to focus on safer crashing, ABATE will do all we can to promote safer driving and riding. The best crash is the one that never happens.
MARK BACKLUND, STATE COORDINATOR, ABATE OF MINNESOTA
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The Catholic Church, my church for 72 years, has at times lost its way and gotten lost for a while. Faith tells me all will eventually turn out OK. We Christians laugh and say God writes straight with crooked lines. Even so, I was saddened and disappointed to read that Archbishop John Nienstedt has withdrawn recognition of the union representing workers at the archdiocesan publication the Catholic Spirit ("Archdiocese dissolves union at Spirit newspaper," June 16).
Unions, like churches, have checkered histories. But unions have historically been a strong force for economic justice as well as a sign of the dignity of work and workers. While I believe Nienstedt thinks he has legitimate reasons for making this move, I am afraid his action sets a poor precedent and is unwise.
Like every other large institution, the Church needs a strong force to help keep it on the right path. Wisdom, as the archbishop knows, does not reside solely in the clergy. When push comes to shove, those in power -- even well-meaning archbishops -- use their power for their perceived benefit or cause. An individual, standing by herself, has little influence. It is too bad the archbishop does not see the union as his friend, rather than an obstacle to do away with.
DOLORES ULLSTROM, INDEPENDENCE
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An open letter to companies looking for a new state home: Move to Minnesota.
If you move here your employees might be cold but they'll be happy. They will find a great place to raise their families -- we don't care if they are straight or gay. Your employees can be part of a union. Or not, as they choose.
We are not a right-to-work-state. We believe in providing a good education to our children, which means well-educated, hard-working, caring, loyal employees for your company. Unlike some states, women in our Legislature can say the word vagina without getting censured, and we don't mind if they practice birth control. It is their business, not the state's.
We don't stop people who aren't blonde-haired and blue-eyed and say "papers please," so your foreign employees won't be afraid to live here. We see voting as a civil right, and we are not trying to hinder our citizens from participating in this critical civic activity. Crime is low, and the smile index is high. Our citizens are healthy and, in general, happy.
So don't just visit Minnesota, move your company here and create jobs. You'll never look back.
LEONARD LICHTBLAU, MINNEAPOLIS
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I commend the Star Tribune for adding the science page to Sunday's paper. As science literacy in our country decreases, and more voters and politicians make decisions based on dogma and superstition, it is so important for local and regional media to help keep us informed and competitive in the world.
ROD FISHER, EDEN PRAIRIE