What can we say about your 20 impressive years? You have defied the odds, and kept a much-needed balance of news, business and social reporting alive in our beloved state. Your Arkansas spirit shines boldly in every issue, even when the topic is contentious. Thank you for your tenacity. You are all an amazing example of true grit in the face of journalistic adversity. We wish you many more years of success.

Rita Mitchell-Harvey

Little Rock

Hines doesn't get it

Little Rock City Director Lance Hines (Ward 5) is not very good with analogies. He is quoted in the May 16 Democrat-Gazette, saying, "I would equate [Occupy Little Rock] to a houseguest who had worn out his welcome ..." He is equating a collective political movement in a public space with an open-ended invitation from the city manager to an invitation to a private house. He is overlooking First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, and petition. I wonder if he had a decent political science course; if so where?

Robert Johnston

Little Rock

On racial profiling

Your cover story and sidebar ("Treacherous intersections," May 16) on driving while Latino was pretty good as far as they went. Your reporters did a pretty good job of seeming to indict the Bryant and Benton police departments for racial profiling.

But a little more investigative journalism would have helped if you were trying to show the Bryant and Benton police are guilty of racial profiling in their traffic stops. Your Hispanic sister newspaper must have enough Hispanic staff members that you could have sent a couple three-car teams to drive around with video cameras recording each car to show whether or not the police are making kosher traffic stops. Nothing beats a visual record of people driving and how the police act. 

If the stops were legal, then the arrests and detaining for ICE would be proper for someone without an Arkansas driver's license or other proof of residence. Without a proper Social Security number or photo identification, how are lawmen suppose to track an illegal alien down if they skip a court date or don't pay a ticket or fine?

 You really ought to have gotten some real numbers and statistics on arrests and tickets issued in Conway, Southwest Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood and Jacksonville, and maybe those in Northwest Arkansas. All these areas have growing Hispanic populations. How was the reader supposed to tell if the number of stops is out of line with other local areas?

As someone who has lived in San Antonio, Laredo and Del Rio, Texas, in the 1980s, plus Germany in the late 1970s — with visits to London, Paris and Amsterdam — I can testify that people from other countries have different driving habits and skills. What they consider OK driving was often considered unacceptable by Americans, from military police on European bases to Hispanic police officers in South Texas. Does Mexico have high school driver's education classes like many Americans take? Did the people you interviewed even study the driver's license manual before they started to break the law and drive without insurance and a license? Why didn't they get an international driver's license before leaving their home country?  

In many other countries, foreign economical criminals, which illegal aliens are, don't have any rights. Getting detained for ICE is nothing compared to the treatment Americans receive in those countries, especially in Latin America and the Middle East. 

A story in the San Antonio Express-News the week of Mother's Day detailed how the Del Rio sector of the Border Patrol is jailing and holding for trial all the illegal aliens they capture. Under a 1950s law, most of the illegal aliens serve time in prison after being convicted or just admitting to entering the country illegal. If they are arrested again, then they face a much longer sentence as a convicted felon. According to the story, the number of illegal aliens trying to cross in that section of the border has plunged dramatically.

Yes, it's sad when illegal aliens get separated from their kids who are American citizens. But the parents are economical criminals. If they don't want to take a chance on getting stopped in Saline County, then the simple answer is to move to Little Rock or south Pulaski County and avoid Saline County. And, to stop driving. ICE won't ever capture all the undocumented aliens.

Nothing will change until the U.S. adopts a modified DREAM Act and constitutional amendment that provides that U.S. citizenship requires at least one parent to be a citizen. This would put an end to new anchor babies being born in the U.S. In short, to get Republican support, any new plan must also provide that any undocumented alien who remains in the country would be guilty of a felony offense. 

For the Democrats, the only exception would be employed aliens who have a child or parent who is a citizen or has a green card. They would be issued a new ICE/IRS taxpayer ID number with photo identification but wouldn't be eligible for welfare benefits and couldn't apply for citizenship unless they served in the military for four years first. They could get the current green card status if they pay a fine and back taxes for however long they had been in the country as an undocumented alien.

With such a DREAM Act amendment, ICE could then concentrate more on stopping new aliens from crossing the border and ICE and the IRS could deal with single illegal aliens without kids and employers still hiring aliens without this new taxpayer ID number. 

Keith Weber


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