Let's begin with our new favorite reader, John Paul Bertke, who loved everything in last week's Immigration Issue and went on about it at some length in our comments section (which we very much appreciated): "The Immigration Issue begins with 'You Are All Welcome Here,' printed in seven different languages, setting the tone for an informative, well-coordinated series of well-written essays! The next page gives us the Emma Lazarus sonnet that is engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty, those purely patriotic American words, welcoming 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses' to the American Dream. All of us need to read and recite those quintessentially American and undeniably religious words. We need to take the extra time to reflect on the beauty, the color, the music, the culture, the ideas—all of the magical differences that we gain, this opportunity to blend our ethnic diversities into the richest culture on earth.
"And I appreciated your Amanda Abrams piece, 'Blessed Are the Merciful,' which makes it clear that Christians have a role to play in this drama. Surely they cannot ignore the New Testament words of Jesus Christ, who was very crystal clear in demanding support for the poor and strangers in our communities. There can be no doubt on what Jesus would expect of them in this contemporary immigration situation."
And so on. He concludes: "INDY, this was your best issue ever! The staff writers each contributed a gem to the collection, and the sum is greater than its parts. The issue was full of useful information. And I hope that we will find many follow-up stories coming, in order to keep our knowledge current, and keep close track of friends and villains in this fluid situation, in which this unprecedented wave of hate and ignorance is being visited upon our communities right now."
Thanks, John. And we're working on it.
Hugh Giblin writes in praise of Erica Hellerstein's piece on the Montagnards ["The Mountain People"], whom he says are "virtually unknown in North Carolina and sadly forgotten by the U.S. government, despite their huge army and civilian causalities when fighting for the U.S. against the communists in Vietnam. I can support her comments on the unrelenting religious and economic persecution by the Vietnamese government on the Montagnards, systematically violating their human rights for forty-two years. Despite rhetoric condemning such cruelties, the U.S. government nevertheless conducts a large trade with Vietnam and has never used that leverage to insist they honor human rights. The day after President Obama brought up the human rights issue, the Vietnamese police stopped three activists from meeting with him at a conference. Such was their contempt for human rights and the president's words. These are clean-living, hard-working, personable people who deserve much better.
"A bill is now in committee in Congress that would honor the Montagnards' loyal contributions to the United States and insist that Vietnam respect their basic human rights. I would urge anyone who really cares about this issue to contact their representatives and urge passage of the bill."
Finally, Baron Gil takes exception to our sidebar on steps undocumented immigrants can take to avoid Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities: "It's a darn shame that some people are so liberal that they have lost their common sense. Did you people really espouse, in print, methods by which illegal aliens can avoid federal law enforcement, for the choice that they freely made, to come to the U.S. illegally? Your citizenship should be revoked. Stop and think about what you are doing. Any other laws you want to give advice on how to break?"