Letters: Immigration Debate, Iran-U.S. Diplomacy

Listeners comment on immigration, Iran's nuclear plans and the shrinking European vacation.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails.

We were in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday for a special broadcast from the National Association of Hispanic Journalist's Convention. Gabrielle Hernandez(ph), in northern California, tuned in to our discussion about how the mainstream media covers Latinos.

“I am a Mexican-born U.S. citizen and speak English with even great fluidity than Spanish, but,” she said, “I find myself forced to tune in to Spanish-language news in order to see anything that reflects my connection between the mainstream and the immigrant community. The English media tend to ignore the fact that millions of U.S. citizens want to know what's going on in Latin American.”

Larry Waters(ph) from Tucson, Arizona felt out conversation was too one-sided. “The proponents of illegal aliens were quick to throw the term racist into the debate,” he wrote, “and I feel that's had a dampening effect on debate, while some who are concerned with illegal immigration may have racist motivations -and they seem to get most of the attention - that in no way means that all who are concerned with this issue are in agreement with them. I'm against all illegal immigration, no matter from what country. It's not about Latino versus Anglo. It's about fairness, workers' rights, and the rule of law.”

Last Monday, we talked about the U.S. offer to negotiate with Iran over their nuclear ambitions. New Yorker Aaron Benezra(ph) cautioned, “We must understand that the current government of Iran will talk the West blue in the face in the guise of negotiations, all the while seeking language in any documents to be signed which they can interpret as enabling their continued work on nuclear projects.”

Omar(ph), another listener in Arizona, was in Egypt last month and wrote to tell us, “Any political discussion I had there seemed to center around the fact that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the only Middle Eastern leader that's willing to stand up to the U.S. My thought,” he continued, “is that the U.S. is at fault for this. Condoleezza Rice's style of speaking to Iran as if it were a child being warned about a pending spanking leaves much to be desired. I'm not defending Ahmadinejad, and I don't agree with what he stands for, but how else is a leader supposed to be respond after being offered carrots and stones?”

On our Opinion Page, a week ago Monday, Frita Ghitis argued that Europe's tradition of long vacations and short work-weeks will soon be history and that European workers will soon toil more like Americans. Amy(ph), in Texas, wrote, “Well, if we were called The Ugly Americans before, we will surely be hated now. Many of us have always envied the Europeans, not least because of their more relaxed lifestyles, but now we are exporting our attitudes about long hours and short vacations.”

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