Gargulinski's Offensive Piece Showed Ignorance About Alabama

Rarely have I been so deeply offended as I was by Ryn Gargulinski's piece celebrating Alabama's new anti-immigrant law, HB 56 (Oct. 6). I have lived in Arizona for more than 28 years, but my heritage runs so deep in Northeastern Alabama and the Southern Appalachians that it reaches back into pre-Colombian times.

Gargulinski shows no knowledge of the real situation. Her flippant "analysis" shows no compassion for my people nor for undocumented workers fleeing communities destroyed by forces over which they have little or no control.

Gargulinski celebrates the requirement that "schools ... check the immigration status of incoming students." Can she really be so heartless about innocent children? Thousands of Latino students have been staying home; they don't want to risk going to Alabama schools. I called the principal of the grade school I attended. He worried about teachers and staff losing jobs since the state funds schools according to the number of students. He told me at least 30 children had left the school, and that children and their teachers have been in tears over it.

All over my home state, tragedies are playing out. But Gargulinski just thinks this is funny. She quotes an American Civil Liberties Union representative who says, "We already know that this is going to cause a lot of problems in Alabama." Gargulinski's response? "It sure will—for illegal immigrants."

Does she know nothing about what the North American Free Trade Agreement and the removal of protections for family farmers did both to my state and to rural Mexico? Does she not know how the very cotton fields that so long symbolized Alabama are virtually nonexistent today. Is she unaware that those few who try to maintain family farms must work other jobs to stay afloat and are reduced to warehousing chickens that don't even belong to them, but to the big poultry industries? Does she know nothing about how this industry recruits immigrants for hard, low-wage jobs that U.S.-ers won't take, and how the chicken plants and tomato fields are dependent on immigrant labor?

Maybe Gargulinski should heed the words of the publisher of The Sand Mountain Reporter, Ben Shurett: "This law doesn't affect just illegal immigrants. ... I've read Georgia, which enacted a similar law earlier, faces a $1.3 billion loss of revenue because there aren't enough workers to pick their crops. ... My cloudy crystal ball says we should all be careful what we wish for."

As a son of Alabama, I don't have problems with undocumented families who show the same kind of hard-working values I was raised to respect in the Southern mountains. But I do have a problem with outsiders like Gargulinski who show no respect to me, my home and all the people who have come to live there.

James Patrick Jordan

Danehy's Right: College Students Should Be Ready

Thank you to Tom Danehy for his objective presentation of Pima Community College's new admissions policy (Sept. 29).

I have always wondered why high schools can graduate students who can't read, write or do basic math, and I've felt like an outcast for expressing my opinion that college students should be at college-readiness level. There's a simple logic here that some people have been rationalizing and justifying circles around. Yes, we have a huge population of under-educated and limited-potential human beings, but they are not the responsibility of PCC or any other educational institution. They are the responsibility of the society that produced them.

After decades of neglect through poverty, drug abuse, a lack of health care, homelessness and joblessness, our society needs to set up systems to take care of the result. There should be remedial-education centers in every school district. There should be job-training centers in every community center and downtown. There should be a Chamber of Commerce plan to utilize workers of all levels, getting the business community involved in being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Perhaps if we face our common responsibility directly, we'll even be motivated to begin prevention measures some day.

Leslie Hunten

Thanks for Letting Serraglio Be 'Courageous'

Thank you for the "Ten Years Later" column by Randy Serraglio (Sept. 29). It was thoughtfully written, and he displayed courage in addressing terrorism at its roots.

Phillip Michaels

Comments From Readers at

Regarding Guest Commentary, Oct. 13, written by Maurice Goldman in response to Ryn Gargulinski's Oct. 6 column:

Most of the money earned is sent back to the home country, not used to pay sales taxes.

It never ceases to amaze me that companies who claim they don't hire illegals are the first to complain that all their workers flee in the face of laws like this. Make no mistake: Those who seem to be looking out for the well-being of illegal workers are actually looking out for the employers who are exploiting them.

—W Corvi

The money the illegals (as well as documented legals) earn goes back to their country of origin to feed people outside the U.S. I think other methods will come about. ... I'm sure legal Americans will move into Alabama and do "work"—maybe not the cheap farm work, but they will get a job, and this will (lead to) new homes for them and plenty of others. So it's all a matter of re-thinking what you have and what you can do with it.

—Creeping Critter

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