Mollie Tibbetts would be alive today if Cristhian Rivera had not been in the U.S. illegally. An Aug. 23 letter writer suggested that “there is not one study that shows illegal immigrants are any more likely to commit crimes than the general population.” That ignores the facts that simply being in the U.S. illegally is a crime and that stronger immigration enforcement would reduce the number of crimes committed. A common liberal refrain states that if tougher gun laws save one life, it would be worth it. If stronger immigration enforcement saves one life, would it not be worth it? Liberals want to make it easier for criminals to enter our country while simultaneously restricting the ability of American citizens to protect themselves. We need to encourage legal immigration, curtail illegal immigration and defend our Second Amendment rights. That’s how I will be voting come November.

Chad Hagen, Sleepy Eye, Minn.

CATHOLIC CHURCH ABUSE CASES

Argument that Hebda could have done more is at odds with canon

In an Aug. 21 commentary, Thomas J. Lyons states that when Twin Cities Archbishop Bernard Hebda was in the Archdiocese of Newark for two years, he had the power to investigate all that was related to Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (“Bishops who looked the other way, make way for new leadership”). That wasn’t the case.

Hebda was there as coadjutor archbishop, not as the ordinary. He didn’t have the power to do or see anything other than what his boss, Archbishop John Myers, delegated to him (Code of Canon Law, numbers 403-411). Hebda denied knowing anything about McCarrick, other than a case that was dismissed by a federal court, but Lyons expects him to have done more based on … what?

Had Hebda remained in Newark, become the full archbishop, discovered McCarrick’s true nature and done nothing about it, then Lyons would have cause to call for Hebda’s resignation. But that’s not what happened.

As to the claim that no bishops or seminary rectors locally were called to account, that’s a farce — Archbishop John Nienstedt is gone, Bishop Lee Piché is (unjustly) gone. The rectors who let the abusers through have been gone for years.

No, there is no cause for Hebda to step down from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But there is cause to suggest that Mr. Lyons do better research, then aim his anger at better targets.

Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, Peterson, Minn.

• • •

I am waiting to hear the most obvious answers to systemic change in the Catholic Church: Allow the other half of the world — women — to serve as ordained priests and abolish the requirement of mandatory celibacy for men. If all bishops in the U.S. resigned today, no matter the commissions or contritions, there would be no real change in the hierarchy or culture of this exclusive church.

Sue Anderson, Minnetrista

THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY

‘Support our president’ comes after ‘speak truth to power’

The other day a bank teller finishing my transaction asked, “Can I help you with anything else?” “Yes,” I joked, “world peace, or maybe get rid of President Trump.”

She laughed but then said in earnest, “We should support our president. We should be behind him.”

I had heard this argument before. I knew it well — part Minnesota Nice. Over decades I’ve automatically supported presidents I hadn’t voted for. Surely after an election, isn’t it time for the country to unite behind the winner?

No, not necessarily.

Donald Trump’s presidency has changed my thinking, beginning with his seemingly insignificant lies — such as — his predecessor wasn’t an American citizen or that his own inauguration crowds outnumbered those in 2012. When challenged by the fact-checking press (aka “the enemy of the people,” according to Trump and garden-variety dictators), he and his press secretaries continually repeat their untruths.

Those paying regular attention to what has been happening over the last two years realize that small lies have grown into immense problems for this country. Repeatedly truths (such as Russian meddling) have been attacked and labeled “lies” by the liars.

I wanted so much to point out to the young teller that some leaders divide rather than unite. Yet it’s their job to unite, and everyone’s duty to “speak truth to power.”

What did I say? “This president is leading us away from democracy into dictatorship. Think about it.”

Now I worry about how many misinformed, well-intentioned tellers there may be.

Beth Molberg, Plymouth

• • •

“Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon” — Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Until Trump speaks under oath, there is no reason to believe he is telling the truth.

Margaret Shryer, Minneapolis

• • •

Whether you love Trump or despise him, you must admit he’s a savvy investor. For a mere $280,000 ($130,000 to Stormy Daniels a few days before the election; $150,000 to the Playboy model shortly before) he ostensibly bought the presidency, with all the opportunities for profit and graft that has given him and his cronies. Those investments also ostensibly made him a felon, twice. Ironically, in buying the presidency he may also have purchased immunity from criminal prosecution, at least for now. But that hardly matters. A probable felon occupies the White House. Is anyone really surprised?

Mark Catron, White Bear Lake

ELECTIONS

The warning signs are there: We must protect our rights

The Netherlands, seeing what happened in the U.S. and other countries in the 2016 elections with Russian meddling, decided to use only paper ballots and do a hand count. It led to a resounding defeat of the candidates favored by Russia. This was March 2017. There are many articles about this online.

Contrast that with Austria, which in 2016 elected far-right extremists favored by Russia, putting them in power of the Interior Ministry. In February 2017, police raided the offices of the domestic intelligence agency and took all their records on Russian election meddling and other top-secret documents away in crates and plastic bags, directed by this ministry (“Far right in Austria raids, cripples its own spy service,” Aug. 19).

In the U.S., there are staggering numbers of provisional ballots — 9,000 ignored in the Kansas GOP primary for governor. They declare the winner by a few hundred votes and move on. Russian hackers, it appears, are taking folks off the rolls if they are thought to favor the candidate they want to lose. In Minnesota, there is same-day registration, so this is not a problem. We also have all paper ballots, counted by scanners, which aren’t foolproof to hacking, either. We do have an audit a few months after each election with volunteers counting by hand ballots of districts drawn from a hat. But there is no redress if the count is wrong, only a signal we might need to count ballots by hand in future elections. To date, the results of our audits have always been true to the original count. How do we get the other states to do same-day registration and to do paper ballots with audits? We are profoundly affected in our state by what the other states do.

Claire Benson, St. Paul