Letters to the editor

Apr. 21, 2013 @ 07:50 PM

Need for common-sense immigration reform

The Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” is negotiating an immigration-reform package, including requirements for paying back taxes and fines, learning English and getting in back of the line.

Current discourse largely places the blame for our broken system on the workers. While people from many countries have come here and are out of status, what is largely missing in this argument is our country’s need for these workers.

One must only look in the kitchens of Atlanta, the blueberry fields of North Carolina, the chicken plants of Albertville, Ala., and construction crews throughout this great nation to see whole industries full of immigrant labor.

Those in this country looking to adjust their status should have requirements. However, the requirements should not be so high as to prevent the majority from meeting them.

We need these workers. They are not displacing low-skilled U.S. workers as much as they are replacing workers who decades ago went to college or other semi-skilled labor markets.  

Fines should not put too high a burden on immigrant incomes. Criminal/civil violations also should be looked at closely. People with multiple no-license offenses should not be barred from adjusting status. Those with other violations should be able to explain circumstances if they apply, such as inability to adequately defend oneself in court due to language barriers.

We need a common-sense solution that takes into account both the needs of our country and the immigrant population.

 

Jose Cardenas

Community Organizer, El Centro Hispano

Durham

 

Animal experiments aren’t a necessary evil

World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 20-28) spotlights the millions of animals who suffer and die each year in research and testing. This is an important time to address the myth that animal experiments are a "necessary evil," essential for medical progress.

In February, the National Academy of Science published an extensive study that revealed how decades of research and billions of dollars spent on mice experiments to study burns, trauma and sepsis were effectively useless, and misdirected treatments in people, because the mice responded in ways that are completely different from people.

This is not the first study to demonstrate that a significant area of animal research has been a costly waste, but if society is paying attention it should be the last. A new era in biomedical science has emerged without the use of animals, using human cell cultures, genomics and digital imaging, to name a few of the many available methods.

Increasingly, scientists are acknowledging that animal research is not producing the results attributed to it, or deserving of billions of taxpayer dollars. Nor does it justify the incredible suffering involved.

 

Sue Stanton

Durham