U.S. Sen. Tina Smith focuses on our poor immigration processes and the humanitarian crisis within our borders as misguided and oppressive, but offers nothing to remedy the proximate causes that are driving millions from their homelands (“Ending a bad policy won’t fix humanitarian crisis,” Opinion Exchange, June 21). There are an estimated 68 million individuals displaced from their homelands fleeing much worse crisis situations. These desperate individuals and families are lost to an often-unwelcoming world, at the mercy of many leaders and citizens of countries to various levels of acceptance.
Many countries provide humanitarian aid but little else to remedy the ruthless atrocities that have displaced millions. The U.S. announced Tuesday that it is withdrawing from the ineffective United Nations Human Rights Council for its lack of effort to remedy these situations. The world has united on trade, banking, treaties and even climate change. How about uniting to work to make life tolerable for all the displaced migrants back in their home countries? We need to rein in corrupt governments and gang violence, stop war and oppression, and improve economies. Bring the world back home, and we end the migration problem.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
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Thank you, Sen. Smith, for calling attention to what you rightly call a humanitarian crisis in our immigration system and for sponsoring the HELP Separated Children Act. Whatever political party you belong to, it should be a no-brainer to support policies to provide basic child welfare for innocent children. Still, we need to address the inhumane practice of deporting people who are simply working hard to provide safety and food for their children. To those who are angrily yelling about people breaking our laws by coming into the country illegally, please take a breath and consider a few questions: What did your ancestors do to deserve to come to the U.S. legally (considering that before the 1920s, most immigrants were able to come without any legal documents)? If you faced a situation where your life or your children’s lives were threatened in your home country and your only access to legal entry to a safe country is to go to the U.S. border and ask for asylum, what would you do to protect your children? If we love families, why not offer paths to legal status for hardworking parents and keep all families together?
Susan Ranney, Plymouth
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The president has done a sudden reversal and issued an executive order to reunite parents and children separated by his disastrous policy. Some commentators have stated that it could be that some parents and children may never be reunited, as the children are too young to provide needed information about their parents. They will be placed in foster homes while their parents wait for trial and possible expulsion without their children.
It will take a great effort, but we must do everything we can to reunite a family. Children old enough to give their name and other information can quite easily be reconnected with their parents who mention their kids’ names and more.
For the very young — and sadly there are such children who have been separated from their families — modern technology can be set up to assist the search. One of the easiest and most reliable is through DNA matching. Law enforcement does this all the time to track criminals — or exonerate an innocent person. The systems are already in place and effective. There is no reason for our government not to use every possible means to right this terrible wrong.
The Rev. Joel B. Wiberg, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired ELCA pastor.
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If America is such a racist country, why are so many minorities trying to sneak into our country?
If America’s white privilege is so pervasive that opportunities for minorities are limited, why are so many minorities forcing their way into our country?
Why would any American blame our government for imperfect treatment of the illegal children sneaking into our country while refusing to change the laws that encourage parents to allow their small children to walk thousands of miles unchaperoned to get to America?
Why would Americans support legislators who write immigration legislation that encourages the trafficking and abuse of children?
Karen Schroeder, Rice Lake, Wis.
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The flow of immigrants to our borders will stop only when the problems they are fleeing in their countries are solved. Big job. Use the money it would take to build a wall to instead take on the corruption, poor education, lack of access to birth control (taboo subject), health and poverty problems that make those places areas to escape from, not visit. Treat the drug cartels as the terrorists they are. Work internationally, for example with the U.N., to eliminate corrupt governments at national, regional and local levels in those countries. Accelerate the fight against illegal drugs coming into the U.S. to eliminate the funding of those terrorist cartel networks.
And maybe work harder to educate people in this country so they won’t support those regimes by buying and using drugs.
None of this will be easy. All of it is humane and necessary.
And if the pictures of crying babies in the detention centers bother you, think about all the crying babies in those countries whose parent or parents don’t have the courage, will or financing to try to escape.
Don Grussing, Minnetonka
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I was happy to see on the TV news that 25 new citizens were sworn in this week in Minneapolis. They came here legally. From all different countries. They followed the rules. They were not separated from their children. Welcome!
Steve Johnson, Zumbrota, Minn.
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The Star Tribune has said over and over and over again that the policy of separating “immigrant” families is President Donald Trump’s policy. On June 20, an editor’s note (Readers Write) said “there is no law requiring the separation of families attempting to cross the border.” But an article in today’s paper, “Trump ends separation policy” (June 21), says that a 1997 consent decree called the Flores settlement “prohibits immigration authorities from keeping children in detention, even if they are with their parents, for more than 20 days.” Perhaps a consent decree is not technically a law, but the fact is, the requirement to separate children from their families when the parents are detained has been in place since 1997. Your newspaper has been intentionally misrepresenting the facts in this case.
James Brandt, New Brighton
PUBLIC-SECTOR LABOR UNIONS
One could always ... participate?
It’s telling that Kim Crockett (“Pending court ruling could restore balance,” June 21) finds Education Minnesota’s use of dues money to train teachers how to obey anti-discrimination legislation a waste.
Mark Janus (the plaintiff in the court case she was writing about) and those like him could do one of two things:
One, run for union office. My experience as a unionized state employee is that the union and the polices resulting from collective bargaining were the most democratic part of my work life.
Or, two, he could agree to continue with the terms and conditions he was hired under and forgo the advantages won through collective bargaining.
Crockett’s notion that each individual in a bargaining unit could negotiate his or her own terms does not even make it to ridiculous.
John Sherman, Moorhead, Minn.