The refugee crisis is a tragedy of failing to invest in the capacity of other countries. People pour across America’s borders seeking asylum from corrupt governments, violence in their neighborhood, and towns ruined in the wake of natural disasters. If we truly wish to help these people seeking aid, it is in everyone’s best interest to invest more money in positive democratic development, where institutions have the power to enforce laws, and people have the ability to choose who creates those laws.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department, the executor of the country’s diplomatic and humanitarian missions, experienced a $17 million cut between 2017 and 2018. As the government continues to defund its diplomatic arm, humanitarian concerns grow more severe and widespread. This is the natural consequence of failing institutions in one part of the world receiving less and less support from prosperous countries in another part. We cannot expect people to try to stay in a place that threatens their family’s livelihood. When we fail to invest in the governing, economic and development capacity of other countries, we fail to address the cause of America’s current societal debate. We need U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and all of Minnesota’s U.S. representatives to push for increased funding of diplomatic missions.

Thomas Crawford, Princeton, Minn.

• • •

How can we know what is required of the Justice Department (under its “zero tolerance” policy) as to applicable current law regarding treatment of minors detained at the border? The 23-page Flores settlement of 1997 (Flores vs. Reno, available online) provides such guidance. Under the settlement’s legal requirements, it is the responsibility of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that:

1) Section V: All facilities must provide contact between minors and family members from whom they were separated. (It’s unclear if this is being currently done.)

2). Section VII: All minors must be placed in “licensed” programs, such programs to provide not only specific care guidelines but also oversight. (It’s of some concern that the June 20 executive order directs future placement facilities be constructed at federal Army bases, where “licensing” guidelines and their enforcement, now under state and local purview, would be optional).

3) Section X: “Up-to-date records of all minors” placed for more than 72 hours must be documented and retained. Statistical information gathering is required as to minors’ placement, where and with whom — including transfer, removal and release. (It’s unclear if this is presently being done.)

4). Section VI: Families must be reunified, and the INS must “make and record the prompt and continuous effort” toward that end. (It’s unclear whether the INS has established an adequate record system — as noted above — documenting the whereabouts of minors, such that required reunification takes place.)

As informed citizens, let’s insist that the Trump administration follow current law, as stipulated in the 1997 Flores settlement.

Judith Monson, St. Paul

• • •

As the U.S. House continues to struggle to come up with any kind of comprehensive immigration bill, it has become quite clear that there is a singular group often standing in the way. I am calling out members of the Freedom Caucus for the bullies they are. This group of representatives continues to stand in the way of compromise at almost every turn. The entire House spends a great deal of time worrying about the next election. Term limits and publicly financed campaigns could go a long way to help our democracy function as visioned.

Suzanne Davies, Lutsen, Minn.

• • •

Certain Republicans are quick to point out the unintended consequences of Democrats’ policies and imply that only policies favored by Democrats have unintended consequences. Surely President Donald Trump’s immigration policy is an example of a Republican policy with unintended consequences.

Rachel Wilson, Minneapolis

• • •

With the Star Tribune burying us in front-page articles about the border crisis, I was stunned to find on Page B5 the story about a Minnesota school staffer being killed by the actions of an illegal immigrant who was high on meth (“Driver who killed school staffer while high on meth is sentenced,” June 21). Juan Carlos Garcia Morales, who caused the death, had been deported from the U.S. at least three times for illegal entry, convicted at least five times for driving without a valid driver’s license and had convictions for other crimes in Minnesota.

According to the article, Morales will be out in two years, with no certainty that he would be deported again. Of course, he can locate in one of the Minnesota sanctuary cities to find refuge from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Isn’t this a classical example of what’s wrong with the catch-and-release approach to illegal immigration, and doesn’t this story deserve space on the front page of Section A, even if it doesn’t fit the news media’s preferred narrative? I find it more heartbreaking than the news about children who have been temporarily separated from parents who have broken the law, but who are alive and are being cared for in a safe place.

Wes Mader, Prior Lake


I also agree on ‘rigorous’ analysis. Here’s how I define it.

I concur with the mining industry’s acceptance of a “rigorous” examination before any mining permit is issued (“On mining, let’s follow facts and the law,” editorial counterpoint, June 20). After all, water is clearly our state’s most precious resource and warrants full protection.

However, the key here is what is meant by “rigorous.” My expectation would include:

1) An independent professional medical review that covers all possible threats to health, including the impact of mercury and other poisons that enter the water system and could threaten the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior.

2) Public hearings throughout the state that guarantee citizens the right to raise questions and the obligation to provide answers.

3) Candidate debates. The quality of our water is a vital state concern and is a “must” issue for all candidates. Let the sunshine in.

Arne H. Carlson, Minneapolis

The writer was governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999.


Trump’s policy is a tax hike by another method

While America’s eyes are fixated on children in cages, President Donald Trump is quietly raising taxes. The story about Trump’s visit to the Iron Range states that some taconite workers have already seen tariff-­related price hikes. Another quote states that suppliers have received letters saying they are going to see an increase in material costs and that businesses are planning to pass the higher costs on to consumers.

To be clear, a tariff is just another name for tax. Someone has to pay to make America great again, it just won’t be corporations. Think about that when the price of your soda pop in cans goes up because the cost of aluminum includes a tax on imports.

Richard Crose, Bloomington

• • •

“Minnesota farmers exported $2.1 billion worth of soybeans in 2016. Most of them went to China.” (“Soybean stress,” Business, June 22.) Why did all those farmers go to China? And “soybean stress”? It’s kinda like preschool stress; you just gotta have sympathy for the little sprouts.

Ron Carlson, Lakeland