There is significant coverage of the humanitarian crisis on our border with Mexico. These press reports point the finger at the Trump administration as the source of any humanitarian issue that arises. Congress’ contributory role in these immigration problems is rarely an element to the coverage, but it should be.

The biggest reason people swarm to our southern border is the desire to find work in our country. Despite months of festering problems at the border, Congress only just recently passed a $4.5 billion stopgap aid bill. Even then, the House Democrats only went along reluctantly. That money won’t last long and will not solve the real problem: We need wholesale immigration reform.

When I called U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum to inquire what plans she and the Democratic majority had to actually fix the immigration problem, I was disappointed to learn that the congresswoman has no position paper on the topic, nor does she plan to sponsor any legislation to find a fix. Her aide informed me that immigration reform legislation did not make it into law in 2007, and there is no reason to believe that President Donald Trump would support a bill now. What stunning defeatism!

If McCollum’s defeatist views are shared by the rest of her Democratic colleagues, it will be no wonder if the border only gets worse. This suggests that the Democrats would much prefer the idea of keeping the crisis in the news as a way to politically embarrass the president (just in time for the elections), rather than actually finding a humane solution to the crisis.

So, as we read these stories that blame the president for the humanitarian crisis, let’s keep in mind that the real culprits are our do-nothing representatives like McCollum. That’s the real news story, albeit unwritten by the general press, including the Star Tribune.

Mark Kelliher, Arden Hills


The way Trump uses Twitter makes the platform a public forum

The headline for Michael McGough’s commentary on July 11 was: “The ruling on Trump’s Twitter account is unpersuasive.” But look closely — the ruling is very persuasive (“Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter,” July 10).

McGough’s prime argument was that “the idea that Trump’s motive in tweeting is to provide a forum for a robust exchange of ideas is the legal fiction to end all legal fictions.” But the court did not claim that Trump’s motive was to provide a forum, only that in effect he did. Read the majority opinion: “Once the president has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with.”

One motive that Trump has made clear repeatedly is that he wants to stifle the free speech of others who dare criticize him or disagree with him. His claim of “fake news” is a prime example. But the First Amendment protects free speech. Kudos to the court for protecting it.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park


GOP must stop protecting predators

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein engaged in sex trafficking of numerous early teen female children, according to the Palm Beach, Fla., chief of police at the time, the investigating detective and a current meticulous investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, Julie Brown.

Current Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta was the U.S. Attorney at the time, appointed by George W. Bush, and the FBI provided him with a 53-page indictment against Epstein (“Acosta defends his Epstein plea deal,” front page, July 11). Without consultation with the girls or their attorneys, Acosta worked with Epstein’s lawyers to create a “deal” by which Epstein was sentenced to spend 13 months in a large jail cell with a desk, and six days per week of 12-hour work-release time. The deal also gave immunity to all other people who may have aided Epstein’s criminal acts.

Let’s be blunt: Epstein’s and Acosta’s actions were known by U.S. senators when Acosta was nominated for labor secretary in 2017, and yet all the Republicans voted this protector of a wealthy financier into office. And, our current Republican president is an admitted sexual predator (“grab them by the ...”).

What will we do about Republicans in 2020? Justify what they do? Let it fly? Or as Willie Nelson sings, “Vote ’em out”?

Leon Thurman, Burnsville

• • •

Recent news coverage of Epstein focuses on his wealth, power, influential friends and ornate mansion. Where are the voices of his victims?

Last year 100 girls under age 18 found refuge at Brittany’s Place in St. Paul, a shelter for girls who are victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. At Brittany’s Place, hair braiding, board games and trips to the zoo are as much a part of the day as counseling, group therapy and activities to rebuild self-esteem. Like Epstein’s victims, these girls will carry lifelong trauma as a result of the adults who abused them.

Too often children’s voices are marginalized. We speak for these victims.

The Staff at Brittany’s Place, St. Paul

• • •

I have read and listened to the coverage of the recent indictment of Epstein for the sex trafficking of minor girls. The coverage of this story for the most part uses euphemisms, understatements, inoffensive language and underplays Einstein’s heinous pedophilic acts. As his crime is discussed and reported, we hear words and phrases like “luring girls,” “victimization,” “molestation,” “seedy behavior,” “underage young girls,” “violations” and “serial sex abuser.”

We will never understand the violence and the physical and psychological trauma that occurs from these pedophilic acts if we continue to refuse to call them for what they are: rape and assault. We need to stop the pretense, verbal evasion and purism. No, we need instead to offend. We need to honor all these young girls with the truth. No more euphemisms. These are not stories of unlawful sex acts. These are stories of violence, trauma, assault and rape.

Geri Minton, Roseville

• • •

Steve Sack’s July 11 political cartoon regarding Epstein’s “stains” rubbing off on Bill Clinton and Donald Trump seemed unintentionally complimentary to both presidents, as it assumed there is character there to besmirch.

John M. Fochs, Duluth, Minn.


Trump is still pushing the citizenship question. That should scare you.

President Donald Trump even considering issuing an executive order instituting a citizenship question after the Supreme Court decided the administration had no legal bearing to do so should frighten even the most ardent Trump supporter.

The idea that the president of the United States would consider overruling a Supreme Court decision through executive action puts a knife in the very heart of our system of checks and balances. This is how we slide into a dictatorship.

Christopher Dobson, Cannon Falls, Minn.

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