I Lift My Lamp Beside the Ivory tower

In your piece about the Canadian citizen named Morgan who resides in Portland illegally ["Illegal Eh-Lien," Feb. 20, 2008], Morgan states that "the Mexican immigrant has more right to be here than I do," suggesting a hierarchy of groups who more or less deserve to be in the U.S. One can safely assume that most Americans believe that they themselves belong at the top of the hierarchy. Absent from the public discussion about immigration, both in Oregon and around the U.S., is serious consideration of whether this hierarchy should even exist.

R. George Wright of Indiana University has pointed out that native-born Americans have had the "undeserved good fortune to have been born in the United States." So what right do fortunate Americans have to prohibit the less fortunate, whether they be Canadian, Mexican, or Icelandic, to live in the United States? In addition, what right do we have to determine which people have more or less the right to immigrate here? (While Morgan wouldn't be "totally devastated," according to your article, should he have to return to Canada, he apparently loves America and Portland, considers Portland his home, and wishes to remain here.)

Some individuals have thoughtfully considered the morality (professors Wright and Joseph Carens of the University of Toronto) and economics (the late economist Milton Friedman) of immigration policy and concluded that unrestricted immigration is the best policy (with some qualification from Professor Carens and presumably with systems to protect the U.S. from terrorists). These perspectives need to be considered more widely in order to raise the quality of the immigration debate above the current "three-ring circus with a very crowded clown car."

Joel Newman
809 NW 45th St.

Play By the Rules

A friend of illegal alien Morgan says he thinks there's room enough for him. Like Morgan, I also consider Portland my home, but I will only know if there is room enough for me at the end of the protracted, expensive and stressful process of applying for a green card. Morgan may consider that he is rubbing the authorities' noses in it, but he is rubbing my nose in it, too. Meanwhile, unlike Morgan, I am paying my taxes so I am probably also subsidizing his stay.

Gareth Price
Southwest Lincoln Street

A Brush with Measure 11

The Web had plenty to say about last week’s story about youth counselor Veronica Rodriguez, who was convicted of sexual assault and faces six years in prison for running her hands through a 13-year-old boy’s hair and pulling the back of his head against her covered chest. Thanks in part to a link on the popular news aggregator Fark.com, at press time “A Brush with Measure 11” had more than 75,000 pageviews, with more visitors streaming in.

At http://wweek.com/editorial/3415/10416/, "JD" writes:
Equality is a b*tch. Dozens, if not hundreds of men/boys are sent to prison yearly for exactly the same thing. It only becomes an issue when a female is affected.

There are two sets of justice, one for males and one for females. If Ms. Rodriguez had been male and the student female, WW would have yawned and gone back to bashing Sho.

I agree that the U.S. has well earned the nickname Saudi America for its bizarre and oppressive treatment of sexuality, but that's the way it is. Women wanted equality and now they're getting it. Hope she takes up knitting.

"DDave" writes:
Measure 11 removes valuable judicial discretion in sentencing.... Justice requires judgement. Legislators and voters are not in a position to judge individual cases based on the facts.

Ruining the lives of Oregon defendants by reacting to the fear of sex crimes rather than judging facts and legal arguments is both immoral and dishonorable.

We can do better. We should repeal Measure 11.

"Ret" replies:
"Valuable judicial discretion" kept our streets flooded with criminals and an astronomical crime rate. Portland's homicide rate dropped from 50 per year to about a dozen a year within a few years of it passing. Young, violent criminals were taken out of society before they reached the level of actually killing people.

If you repeal Measure 11, count on violent crimes skyrocketing again.

Judges should stick with making sure the law is followed, not making it themselves.

"Wes" shoots back:
Wow, Ret, I'm trying to figure out whether your comment is based on hyperbole or delusions. With statements like "streets flooded with criminals and an astronomical crime rate," it makes me wonder where you were living at the time. According to that, you couldn't walk 10 feet down any Portland street without getting murdered. I'm amazed anyone survived at all. Find me one study with actual facts to back any of your statements and maybe I'd be able to take your rantings halfway seriously.

And "Jeff" chimes in:
No, Ret's absolutely right. I wore a flak vest in the Portland suburbs prior to Measure 11 passing. Now that it protects us I frequently stop to pet passing kittens on Southeast 82nd.

Elsewhere on the Web, "iceman0113" writes on

This is how you repay someone who wants to do good in the world? It's a wonder anyone wants to become a teacher or help children any more. And this guy—"Kevin Mannix, the original Measure 11 backer, calls Campbell's move to override the minimum sentence 'absolutely unacceptable'"—is a total douchebag. Another good person will be in jail for five more years wasting taxpayers' money. Also, "running her hands through a 13-year-old boy's hair and pulling the back of his head against her covered chest"—this is a long way of saying "hug." Children are now supposed to grow up without love or care, I guess.

And on Reddit, "BlackMarketer" writes:
The lesson here is simple. Don't touch kids, look at kids, go near kids or be in their presence (even if they appear to need help). Above all, do not have kids. When all of these steps are followed, only then will kids be safe.



screwed up last week in "Independent's Way." The proposed open primary initiative does not include presidential primaries.

Also, WW had the wrong name for the Nob Hill group quoted in "A Street Car Named Sam's Desire." The correct name is the Nob Hill Business Association.

WW regrets the errors.