ROBERT J. LEVINE
Terming Illegal Immigrants "Criminals" Contributes to Climate of Intolerance
STEPHEN A. TRAYLOR
Senior Resource Center Congratulated For Its Efficient Flu Shot Distribution
To the Editor:
University League Nursery School held its annual Harvest Fair recently. The event, a combination of food, music, and activities, brought ULNS families together and helped raise money for our scholarship fund. We are particularly grateful to the many area merchants who made this event possible. They included Chili's, Chevy's, On the Border, Lindt Chocolate, Olive's, Zorba's, Main Street Catering, Momo Brothers/Witherspoon Bakery, Whole Foods Market, McCaffrey's, Iano's, Pizza Star, Target, Small World Coffee, Mossimo's Pizza, Nassau Bagel, Wegmans, Conte's Pizza, Frieberger Farms, Village Nursery, Timothy's Gardens, Stults Farm, Hagerty's Flowers, Von Thons Farm, Little Acres, and Blossom's Flowers and Gifts.
Many thanks for all of the support that we received.
To the Editor:
The Friends of the Princeton Public Library hosted an enormously successful annual benefit on November 5 and 6, doubling our efforts and our activities. The Library was not only the community's living room, but its dining room and sports center for two wonderful events and a terrific auction. The Nassau Presbyterian Church offered a venue for our speaker.
The success of the enterprise came from an outpouring of very hard work and much good will from Princeton. We are deeply grateful to all who attended; to all who made it possible; to the Library staff and Council members; and to our sponsors gold sponsors Cardinal Partners, Glenmede Trust, Howe Insurance Group, and Bohren's Moving and Storage; silver sponsors Drinker Biddle and Reath, Fidelity Investments, Hillier Architecture, Miele, NXGen Payment Services, U.S. Trust, and Panera Bread; and bronze sponsors Arlington Capital, Church & Dwight, Gillespie Advertising, The Gould Group of Wachovia Securities, McCaffrey's Markets, Patriot Media, Princeton Capital Management, Princeton University, Volvo of Princeton, and The Yedlin Company.
Bill Bradley was splendid, contributing his presence gratis; John McPhee is our community uncle.
Success in this case means more funding for the Library, which enriches the entire town as well.
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Latin American Task Force, I would like to extend my thanks to all the staff of the University Medical Center at Princeton, the members of the Hispanic American Medical Association, and the many local organizations who contributed to the success of the community Health Fair/Feria de la Salud on November 13 at John Witherspoon School. The Princeton HealthCare System Foundation gives generous support to this event, which is co-sponsored by the Hispanic American Medical Association and the Latin American Task Force.
This Health Fair was initiated eight years ago to give health care and advice to people in the Princeton area who do not have access to regular health care services, and provides testing, screening, and health counseling, with translation into Spanish for those unable to discuss their concerns in English.
I would like to acknowledge contributions and donations of refreshments and prizes from Avon Cosmetics, Bank of America, Bon Appetit, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Halo Farm, HAMA, Janssen Pharmaceutica, La Mexicana Grocery, La Lupita Grocery, McCaffrey's Supermarket, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Pelus Travel, Princeton HealthCare System and Usborn Books: thank you all, for our refreshments, prizes for patients, and publicity supplies. Thank you also to Rotary Club and Princeton HealthCare System Foundation for supporting the production of the 2004 edition of our Princeton handbook, the Folleto de Princeton, distributed free at the Health Fair, and available throughout Princeton.
The Health Fair would not be possible without the hard work and bilingual skills of many volunteers, including faculty and students of the Department of Modern Languages of The College of New Jersey, Princeton University students, local high and middle school students and community members. We encourage and appreciate their involvement in and support of our multilingual and multicultural community. Final thanks are due to the dynamic members of Princeton University's Ballet Folclórico who make our Health Fair festive each year. It is a privilege to collaborate with such a wonderful group of people committed to making this a safe and healthy community.
HANA MUZIKA KAHN
To the Editor:
It is no wonder that others have perceived the library's decision to stay in its present location as a marketing effort. That is what it has been from the beginning, with the decision benefiting the Borough and its merchants in spite of the fact that the majority of the users are from the Township and pay two thirds of the library's operating budget.
There is now no practical way to move the library. What can be done, however, is for the Library Board to realize that we in the Township are the major supporters and should be accommodated as much as possible. As a start, how about living up to the promise to have book and AV collection boxes placed in the Shopping Center so that those of us who live in the Township don't have to drive to downtown Princeton with its increasing crowds just to return a book or a CD? The Borough already has two sets of boxes both within an easy walk of the Library.
Second, how about providing a place in the Shopping Center so that those of use who do our shelf browsing on our computers and put books found "on hold" can pick them up at the Shopping Center while doing other errands? Harry Levine, the past president, noted that the cost of doing so would be trivial. Leslie Burger's reason for not implementing it was that she did not know where it should be placed even though the owner of the Shopping Center's new book store agreed to provide free space and help with the staffing. She did not know if it would be fair to the other stores! If Ms. Burger cannot simply ask the other store owners if they would provide a similar service, I and other interested parties would be willing to conduct the survey for her at no charge. There is already a Post Office branch in the new bookstore.
Unless the Library Board starts taking the Township residents a little more seriously we may wonder why we should bear the lion's share of financial support and start going to the Mercer County Library. I am sure that in such an event the restriction on Princetonians getting a Mercer County Library card could be worked out. The Board should stop making us think in those terms.
To the Editor:
Corrington Hwong's letter to the editor (Town Topics, November 17) states the belief of many that undocumented immigrants are "criminals" and do not deserve the concern of our community.
As a matter of law, the writer is wrong about the "criminal" status of immigrants. They are not criminals, and immigration violations, by and large, are civil, not criminal violations.
Unfortunately, the common discriminatory stereotype that immigrants are "criminals" is the very thinking that encourages the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to pursue undocumented landscapers and cooks with as much vigor as the agency targets terrorists and those chargeable with criminal law violations. Consequently, this prejudicial view of undocumented immigrants makes us less safe, not more, because the bad guys run free while our jails are filled with hardworking, family-oriented individuals.
Worse, the misinformed, prejudicial and inflammatory belief that all persons who have immigration problems are somehow "criminal" leads to a climate of intolerance which we are now witnessing on the streets of Princeton. As recently reported in Town Topics, some U.S. native-born individuals target for assault and robbery immigrant-appearing individuals because the perpetrators assume that immigrants are less likely to report crimes to the police for fear of being deported. One man was almost beaten to death.
Such intolerance diminishes our community and undermines public safety. We want victims and witnesses of crimes to have the confidence to report such incidents to the police.
Surely, there is a place for a reasoned debate about federal immigration policy. But where we live and raise our children, we should not demonize immigrants and encourage a climate of prejudice and hate. Such encouragement is not only inhumane, it's just plain dangerous.
Borough Council's resolution urging immigration reform and seeking more correct and humane behavior by immigration officials when "detaining" (arresting) alleged violators of immigration laws is commendable. However, in conversations with a number of area residents it has become clear to me that policies supporting immigrant rights are by no means uncontested. A recent letter to Town Topics, for example, suggests that supporting "illegal" immigrants constitutes justifying criminal behavior. Others have told me there is no reason that illegal immigrants should have recourse to due process, and that they should simply be deported ASAP. We should not think that this attitude is limited to a tiny handful of anti-immigration fanatics. It should be addressed.
In the United States any person who is arrested on any charge, immigrant or native-born, is assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court. Normally an arrested person is held in a local jail pending an appearance within a very short period of time before a magistrate, and has the right to an attorney. Then the accused makes a plea and if it is "not guilty" most of the time bail is set pending a trial. A judge or jury then determines guilt or innocence. Most people will agree that regardless of anything else, an arrested immigrant is entitled to this basic procedure, which is routinely violated by immigration officers. We should not assume that an accused immigrant is automatically guilty.
But even if an immigrant turns out to be undocumented and is found guilty or pleads guilty, he or she should have the opportunity to present facts in a local court that might lead to a resolution other than deportation. For example, the immigrant has been caught while a legalization process is underway. Or, the immigrant is a caretaker for children who are citizens and deportation would cause great hardship. Or, an appeal for political asylum is underway. How can we object to giving immigrants an opportunity to state their cases in court?
So it is simply not the case that those who support immigrant rights are supporting criminals. And it is simplistic to say that if an immigrant is shown to be undocumented that alone is sufficient grounds for deportation.
Finally, we should question the expenditure of resources devoted to prosecuting immigrants who have no prior criminal record. In light of our society's need to go after "serious" criminals, do we really want to prioritize the prosecution of hard-working people who want nothing more than to become part of the American mainstream?
Corrington Hwong's suggestion that undocumented persons are "criminals" in her recent letter to the editor (Town Topics, November 17) is a mistake that bears correction.
Undocumented immigrants are not criminals in any sense of the word. They are certainly not criminals in the common use of the word, suggesting that they are somehow a danger to the community. We would not have so many of them cooking and serving our food, mowing our lawns, and caring for our children and parents if they were.
They are also not "criminals" in the strict legal sense of the word. Being an undocumented person is not a crime. If they were they would have many more rights in court, such as the presumption of innocence and the right to a court appointed attorney. As an immigration lawyer I often wish that my clients were considered "criminals" in the strictly legal sense.
This is only one example of how our immigration laws are fundamentally flawed. Until this situation is corrected, people should not have to answer to a knock on the door at 5 a.m.
Undocumented immigrants have become an integral part of our Princeton community, without whose presence our lives could not be lived as we do. They deserve the respect of all of us who benefit from their services on a daily basis.
To the Editor:
Having just returned from the Princeton University men's water polo games [in the Eastern Championships] at Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa., I would like to congratulate Coach Luis Nicolao and the team on its awesome victory. I was the driver for the team this weekend and as has been my experience with all of the Princeton teams I have carried, it was a pleasure to deal with such a well behaved and outstanding group of young people.
I recently was the driver for the women's hockey team to two of their away games as well. I can't say enough about the wonderful women on the team or the coaches. They were respectful and carried themselves with dignity and grace. On the ice they were tigers!
Princeton University can be very proud of the teams it fields in all sports. They seem to be the best of the best no matter what their records are.
I have carried teams from many area colleges and universities, but Princeton will always stand above the rest in my opinion.
To the Editor:
I could not attend the November 15 community meeting [at the Township Municipal Complex], but I want to add my sentiments. Hardly a week passes that I don't read about some violence or act of terror in my neighborhood (John-Witherspoon). I am surprised that there has not been any public outcry from neighborhood residents denouncing what appears to be a growing climate of predatory behavior on the part of our young people. Yes, these are our young people. One week there is news of a young Princeton High School alumnus who gets shot to death in a Trenton Park. We are then bombarded with extensive details of his funeral with gang members among the mourners. We also received detailed information regarding the precision and spirituality of the gang funeral ceremony. I heard older people applaud the manner in which the military gravesite ceremony was carried out. Within one month of that murder, two young men are apprehended on suspicion of weapons and drug activity. At about the same time we hear about two other young men, and a young man they beat so badly that he has been left with brain damage. Later two more men would report that they had been set upon by young black males. This is predatory behavior, and we know the predators.
What has happened to "It takes a Village?" As a member of this neighborhood, I feel a sense of loss because the families of the young people involved are well known to me. I am hurting along with the parents and grandparents of these young people. It is unfathomable that we can raise a generation of young predators who are capable of taking away a man's ability to contribute to this society because of his ethnicity. It is also unbelievable that these good kids have the tools of violence at their fingertips. Much like African-Americans in this town, the Latino population is doing much of the work nobody else will do. It is painful to me that an African-American who knows his/her history can wreak such havoc on another minority group in this nation. Somehow the community has to mobilize to help teach our young people that they are accountable for their own actions, especially once they can be prosecuted as adults. We love them, but we cannot condone their behavior. Our police, schools, human rights groups, and churches cannot be expected to raise our young people to be contributing members of a society. We have to work together.
Something is wrong with the picture. Like the Columbine parents, don't we know when kids are cooking bombs in our own garages? Don't we have suspicions when the dogs they bring to our homes can be turned into killers? Do we have any idea that they carry guns, ski masks, and drugs in their cars? Do we care?
JACQUELINE L. SWAIN
To the Editor:
Lewis Edge's letter (Town Topics, November 3) questions whether the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife manipulates habitat to increase deer reproduction. Apparently he hasn't read the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 1987 Pittman-Robertson Environmental Impact Statement, which admitted that these practices affect "significant acreage" needed and used by nongame species. Under cooperative agreements with public and private agencies, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife clear-cuts and alters habitat for game species throughout the state.
Most state game agencies cut forests and plant crops to create food for deer because well-fed does breed earlier and have more fawns. Hunting has the same effect creating more food by removing competitors keeping deer reproductive rates high. In the absence of hunting, fertility declines.
Habitat manipulation and hunting destroy nature's balance by keeping the herd unnaturally young and reproducing. In the wild, deer can live 15 years. Under severe hunting pressure, New Jersey's deer live only two years. Breeding declines when limits in food and cover are reached. But management for hunting thwarts the species' natural coping mechanisms.
Public lands aren't the only acreage altered. Much if not most management is conducted on private lands and tracts leased by hunters. While Princeton is trying to reduce the deer population, Fish and Wildlife is increasing the deer population on leased lands adjacent to White Buffalo's killing fields.
Finally, it shouldn't be assumed that since there are no longer natural predators, we can create the same effect simply by introducing hunters. The results will probably be entirely different. One of the country's foremost deer experts says, "The idea that predators can serve to maintain prey populations at stable levels may be incorrect. Therefore, attempts to recreate a mythical stable population density through hunting may not be a sound strategy if the goal is to maintain ecosystem health" (McShea, W.J. et al., The Science of Overabundance).
To the Editor:
Congratulations to the Princeton Senior Resource Center!
Friday afternoon's flu shot program was a model of organization and efficiency. In the space of a couple of weeks a lottery was put in place to assure that flu shots were distributed fairly and directly to those Princeton residents for whom the need was greatest. Grateful residents were not forced to wait in line, and information was gathered and shots dispensed with extraordinary ease.
My husband and I worked as volunteers and the job was made easy by the careful planning and generosity of the Center staff, local doctors, nurses, and other volunteers.
Friday served as another reminder of how fortunate Princeton is to have such an excellent resource for our senior population and for those who care about them.
This fall, the Princeton Department of Health and Princeton Senior Resource Center were making plans to hold two flu shot clinics at the Suzanne Patterson Center. News was then received that the vaccine would not be available this year since our supply, coming from Chiron, was banned by the British government. Subsequently a portion of the supply needed to cover Princeton residents who met the CDC's list of eligible recipients became available. In order to distribute the inadequate supply fairly, a lottery was established and advertised. As soon as 700 letters had been sent announcing winners and losers of the lottery, additional vaccine was made available, and all people who registered were able to be vaccinated.
The Herculean effort that was put forth by the staff and many volunteers of the PSRC in the last six weeks was truly impressive. Processing the hundreds of phone calls and inputting data required hours of time in addition to planning and running the normal programs for the month. I would like to commend the staff, volunteers, and the executive director, Susan Hoskins, as they gave of themselves so generously to make sure the residents of the Princetons received the vaccine this past Friday. Princeton is truly lucky to have such a resource available.
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