Coming Out Illegal
While we can all sympathize with the plight of people trying to find a better life for themselves and their families, Jose Antonio Vargas is on shaky ground when comparing the "rights" of illegal immigrants to the rights of gay and other U.S. citizens ["Not Legal, Not Leaving," June 25]. If I were to enter a foreign country by illegally crossing the border or intentionally overstay my visa and then falsify a Social Security card or driver's license, I would hope for leniency but certainly would not expect that government to afford me any rights. Talking about their "rights" is a slap in the face of all the immigrants who worked hard and waited long to enter this country on a legal basis. P.J. Smith,
Bentonville, Ark., U.S.
Thank you, Vargas, for your brave and heart-wrenching article. As an immigrant and now citizen of this country, I have long thought the U.S. did the children of illegals a grave injustice. We have failed to remember how this country was founded and by whom, and I wish Vargas and every young person who fights to become legal much hope on the road to citizenship.
Frances D. Kurz,
Spearfish, S.D., U.S.
The immigrants mentioned in your article dream of being educators, doctors, artists, politicians surely the U.S. does not need them as much as their own countries do. For those who are determined and resourceful enough to sneak into a country, just imagine what those qualities could do to fix the problems back home.
Pretoria, South Africa
"The melting pot" sounds less appealing when so many of its people who have built a society and contributed to the economy are ignored. If illegal immigrants pay taxes or serve in the military, let them become legal. Vargas and the other brave people who came out did so out of patriotism, nothing less.
One cannot help but notice the irony in the featured immigrants' being from nations like South Korea, Germany, India and numerous Latin American countries all future economic powers with increasing international influence queueing to trade in their old lives and become residents of the U.S., a declining foreign power with high unemployment and a stagnating economy. I predict that within this century, the tides will have turned, and TIME will be reporting on illegal immigrants from America residing in China, India and other such nations.
St. Albans, England
I'd like to commend Vargas and the other "dreamers" for their honesty and bravery. However, if I were them, I would have self-deported long before my status might have started to create problems for me. I would want to contribute to my own country and to live in peace, because only that is worthy of respect.
Bryan Walsh writes that the planet is in peril and that "we seem to be completely incapable of doing anything about it" ["The Earth Summit Can't Save the Earth," June 25]. The truth is that we are refusing to accept the extra costs to do anything to modify our ecology. Paul Beauchesne,
America's Pension Problems
In "Why the U.S. Needs Pension Reform," Fareed Zakaria conflates the situation in Wisconsin, in which workers had their collective-bargaining rights cut, with the vastly different situations in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., where citizens decided, through democratic means, to adjust the benefits that public-sector retirees would receive [June 25]. Unions protested. Still, unlike in Wisconsin, the fundamental negotiating relationship between workers and their government employers was retained. Zakaria's piece ignores this crucial difference. Chris Blado,
It speaks volumes that London's current mayor, Boris Johnson, says his hero is the misguided, empty-headed, odious mayor with terrible fashion sense of Amity Island from Jaws [10 Questions, June 25]. Brent Clark,
Harmony and Order
Many thanks for printing the stunning photograph of 10,000 martial-arts students in scenic surroundings [LightBox, June 25]. It was a visual treat and much needed respite from the ghastly images of war-torn countries that have appeared in recent LightBox spreads. Aditya Aggarwal,
More Appetizing, Please
To describe the treasured fischbrötchen of the Northern Germans as a mere "fried-fish sandwich" is almost sacrilege ["Five Reasons to Visit Kiel," June 25]. A fischbrötchen is made from a fresh, crusty roll that is cut in half and buttered, with either a pickled herring, smoked eel or smoked salmon between the halves. Wolfgang A. Daehne,