Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Because we think you might care...

There have been a few noteworthy items in the papers the last few days.
  • Yesterday's The Patriot News of Harrisburg featured a front page story on a local high school that has created an alternative program for teen mothers and other students who have personal struggles that keep them from attending the traditional school day. You may recall last spring we took on a case in which a teenage mother in the Central Dauphin School District was being disciplined for missing school to care for her child. Kudos to Susquehanna Township School District for finding an avenue for teen parents who both want to complete their education and care for their child.
  • In Sunday's The Morning Call of Allentown, a murder victim's son and daughter-in-law wrote a moving tribute to their loved one and an explanation for why they asked the Lehigh County DA to stop pursuing the death penalty for the perpetrator. The torturous process for victims' family members is yet another reason why Pennsylvania should at least take the time to do a serious examination of the death penalty, with a two-year suspension of executions. If the legislature passed and the governor signed Senate Bill 850, the study commission created by the bill could include victims' families as one of the areas of study. In a related note, the Pennsylvania Moratorium Coalition, of which ACLU-PA is a part, has officially launched its new website.
  • For years, the ACLU and our allies have been advocating for alternative programs to reduce incarceration rates and recidivism. The politicians have finally caught on. Governor Rendell has introduced a plan for easing our overcrowded jails, which is modeled after a program that New York implemented ten years ago.
  • And finally, immigration. *sigh* From the "I've officially heard it all" category, the author of a letter to the editor in today's Patriot News claims that immigration law is discriminatory. Against white people. "Until 1965 Caucasians were 90 percent of the population. Now we're 66 percent. In 1965 when immigration laws were changed radically, sponsors of the legislation said the U.S. ethnic mix wouldn't change. However, Hispanics went from 1 percent to 14 percent and Asians from 1 percent to 8 percent. The fact is that current immigration law is designed to reduce the percentage of Caucasians by this immigration policy. So anyone supporting legal immigration is supporting a discriminatory law." And the anti-immigrant crowd wonders why we think they're a) nuts and b) racist.
Andy in Harrisburg

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