by: L.E. BASKOW, The opening of a day-labor site at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Everett Street also reopens debate on rules and laws concerning undocumented workers.

It is easy to understand stupid and racist comments from nativist racists such as some of those you cite in your article on the detainees and their claims for political asylum (A year after raid, lives still on hold, June 5).

It is the norm for those folks. It is more difficult to understand and tolerate the ignorant and hateful comments attributed to Lorie Dankers, a spokesperson for the federal government, who ought to know better.

The United States is a party to treaties that provide for claims of asylum for people who are outside their country of origin and who have suffered persecution, or reasonably fear such persecution, on certain specified grounds.

Until those claims have been adjudicated, those claimants are not here 'illegally.' Their claims may be denied, at which time they may be deported, but they are not subject to deportation until that time. Those whose claims of asylum are upheld will, in fact, have a level of legal status here.

It is part of the obligation and history of the United States that we offer that protection to people fleeing persecution. It has been, in the past, an aspect of our greatness as a nation.

For an employee of the federal government to publicly and carelessly categorize such claimants as 'law breakers' is unconscionable. Shame on her, and shame on the agency that allows her to be their spokesperson.

Ronald Talney

Lake Oswego

Workers' comp issue raises questions

Regarding the new day-labor hire site (Work trickles in as day-labor site opens, June 16), I haven't read of anyone addressing workers' compensation insurance issues.

Is it worth the cheap labor to be sued by an uninsured, injured, undocumented worker, who then is unable to work or pay for the medical bills?

Will the city now be liable by supporting the day laborers?

Tom Pullen

Oregon City

Put immigrant act on November ballot

In recent years, some of Oregon's governments have aided, abetted and encouraged illegal immigration to our state.

Portland recently established a day-labor center that caters to undocumented workers and the unscrupulous employers who hire them (Work trickles in as day-labor site opens, June 16).

Multnomah County funds a Spanish-speaking health center without seeking to ascertain whether its clients are citizens or legal residents. And the publicly elected boards of Portland and Chemeketa community colleges have chosen to admit illegal immigrants as students.

But, perhaps worst of all, a portion of state law presumes to forbid Oregon's police and sheriffs from using their resources to help federal agencies enforce immigration law.

You can help change this. Petitions are circulating to put the Respect for Law Act onto Oregon's November ballot. If passed, the act will change state law to affirm Oregon law enforcement agencies' right to partner with federal authorities to detect and detain illegal immigrants.

Visit . Print out a single-signature petition, sign it, and return it via U.S. mail to the address listed on the petition by July 1. By doing so, you can help restore the respect for law that Oregon's own governments so frequently undermine.

Richard F. LaMountain

Northwest Portland

Day Labor Center is step in right direction

As someone who has spent his entire adult life fighting for the underserved in our community, I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for a safe, dignified, living wage job.

I recently visited Portland's new Day Labor Center to get a better understanding of the project. I met with staff members who answered my questions concerning a minimum wage and workers'compensation. I was impressed with the staff, facilities and the services being provided to day laborers.

While the project isn't perfect, I've come to understand that the Day Labor Center is a critical first step that must be taken to help a very vulnerable part of our community. I believe that the project is important and will do everything I can to help it become a self-sustaining part of our community.

Charles Lewis

Candidate, Portland City Council Seat 1

Northeast Portland

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