Illegal aliens held in Arizona never have a nice day
Six members of the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady recently returned from Phoenix, Ariz., where we bore witness to the horrible conditions in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Tent City” detention center.
Sheriff Arpaio refers to this facility as his “private concentration camp,” which is not much of an exaggeration. The day we stood in vigil outside the facility, the high temperature was 107 degrees. We had plenty of water, spent only several hours exposed to the heat, and arrived after sundown (when it still was 100). The detainees are exposed to this extreme heat 24 hours daily.
A nearby animal shelter keeps its animals inside, in air-conditioned comfort. The people in this detention center have not been accused or convicted of a crime. They are individuals who are undocumented immigrants, some of whom have lived in this country for decades. Being in the United States without a green card or a visa is not a crime; it is a civil offense, comparable to receiving a traffic ticket.
While we were pleased that the Supreme Court decided to strike down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 law, no relief is in sight for the affected individuals. Between January and June 2011, our federal immigration system (ICE, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement) removed 46,486 undocumented parents who claimed to have at least one child as an American citizen. The United States detains over 280,000 people a year, at an annual cost of $1.2 billion to taxpayers. Much of that money goes to private contractors.
We Unitarian Universalists stand on the side of love. We will continue to encourage the federal government to implement policies and laws that keep families together and offer reasonable pathways to legal residency and citizenship for hardworking undocumented people of good character in this country.
It was both heartbreaking and scandalous to learn firsthand of the mistreatment of thousands of people who have come to the “home of the brave and the land of the free” looking for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Instead they live in fear of being torn from loved ones and/or having family members disappear overnight into the deportation system.
Obama has no respect for Court or Constitution
President Andrew Jackson’s refusal to allow Supreme Court rulings to interfere with his removal of Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma along the infamous Trail of Tears was done in the name of states’ rights.
Barack Obama’s refusal to let the Supreme Court fetter his laissez-faire immigration policy has been done in the name of federal supremacy. Two different philosophies, same disrespect for the U.S. Constitution.
On June 25, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional much of the Arizona law giving state and local law enforcement the power to enforce federal immigration law. However, the court unanimously said that the provision of the law that allowed the locals to inquire about and check immigration status was constitutionally fine.
Within hours, the Obama administration cut off Arizona’s access to the federal immigration database by suspending the seven “287(g) agreements” it had with Arizona law enforcement agencies. Arguably, suspending the 287(g) agreements is more constitutional than, say, refusing to enforce federal laws he doesn’t like, but this does seem an attempt to stick it to the Supreme Court, as well as to Arizona.
When a president shows a pattern of thwarting the actions of Congress and ignoring the rulings of the Supreme Court, it’s time for him to be removed. Impeachment won’t happen, so unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next January.
Obama has criticized Mitt Romney for making a lot of money in business. But when Mitt Romney was in business, making money was his job and he was good at it. Barack Obama’s job is to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” and he’s not at all good at it.
Rose Garden thrives, thanks largely to Carl
The well-deserved accolades that the Schenectady Rose Garden received last week (June 24 letter and June 26 editorial) prompt me to acknowledge the extraordinary financial support provided by the Carlilian Foundation, as directed by Charles W. Carl Jr.’s will.
Mr. Carl, the former owner of the Carl Co., established the Carlilian Foundation in memory of his mother, Lilian Carl, to fund not-for-profit organizations that benefit the citizens of Schenectady County. Ellis Hospital and Proctors were among the countless beneficiaries of Mr. Carl’s largess.
Virtually all of Mr. Carl’s financial support was anonymous. During his lifetime he never sought recognition or acclaim for his generous support. Mr. Carl’s love of roses led him to provide ongoing financial support to “improve and maintain the portion of Schenectady’s Central Park devoted to the Rose Garden, with the hope and desire that the Rose Garden be returned to its former pristine condition so as to be enjoyed and admired by the public as a Northeastern USA showplace.
Since Mr. Carl’s untimely death 11 years ago, his annual financial support continues and is provided for long into the future. His ongoing funding, along with the efforts of many dedicated volunteers, has resulted in a nationally acclaimed Schenectady Rose Garden that Mr. Carl would and the entire community can be justifiably proud of. He should be celebrated and remembered as a true Schenectady hero.
The writer is chairman of the Carlilian Foundation.
Joyce’s big campaign issue has been forgotten
Michael Joyce’s June 10 letter, “Any Princetown money issues old regime’s fault,” talks about the last supervisor spreading fear in the community.
What about Mr. Joyce’s spreading fear in the town last fall, while campaigning? He and his running mates going door to door stated that our town water system was bad and needed millions of dollars in repairs. He got elected, and not a word has been said about any repairs being needed.
We are now at the end of June. Somehow the water system has fixed itself. A miracle must have taken place.
This nonsense has bothered me since the fall campaign. I hate to think someone is lying. Let’s call it political spin, which is a form of propaganda that makes things sound good to your advantage.
M. Wayne Blessing
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