y now everyone has
heard about, and dis-
cussed at length,
order on banning citi-
zens from seven coun-
tries with Muslim majorities. The
response has been robust.
People from all walks of life
coming forward to protest this
"We do not hold a religious
test on entering the United
States" was one of the popular
quotes that I have heard.
But when it comes to religion,
isn't that what "God" does,
according to some religions? His
heavens are segregated by religion, he will hold a religious test,
which Hindus, Buddhists and
atheists will not pass and so are
condemned to hell? I have been
told by a co-worker that I am
going to hell simply based on my
"God" seems to have simple
rules — belong to X religion and
you qualify, belong to either Y
religion or no religion and we are
looking at divinely ordained tor-
ture. Entering Heaven is about
whom you know rather than
what you know – somewhat like
doing business in a corrupt
country. It doesn't matter if your
resume is the best or you have
the best product, to get the order
you must know the right people,
grease the right palms.
Individuality does not matter
— collective condemnation and
reward are based on one's reli-
gious affiliation. These are the
dominant religions of the day.
Yet there are few protest, few
letters, articles or editorials. Will
this letter make the cut? Vanamali Thotapalli
On Religious Tests and Divine Segregation
I agree with Vasant Desai and
Haridas Varma's letters regarding the need for more checks on
Congress, as published in India
Abroad (Feb. 10, 2017).
It is ironic that members of
the Congress and Senate can
control their own welfare and
there is no other governing body
that can act as their boss and
monitor their performance and
self-directed salary increases.
As a result people in these
bodies have a secure almost lifetime job security and paycheck,
not to count fringe benefits,
besides god knows what favors
they receive from lobbyists.
There must have been a good
reason why a term limit was
established for the president.
Why not have the same thing for
those in the Congress and
A two-term, totaling 12 years,
should be a fair duration for
their contributions and then
there will be a chance given to
someone else with fresh ideas.
In the current system, elected
representatives get complaisant
in the job and learn how to take
advantage of the benefits and
thus get rich — which gets priority over doing any good for the
country and the general population.
What I fail to understand is
why the voters put so much
emphasis on choosing the right
person for the president's job
and not as much on picking peo-
ple for the House of Repres-
entatives or the Senate. There
must be something I don't
understand here. Whether the
Congress performs or be obstruc-
tionist due to partisan politics,
they get reelected term after
term. I wish someone could fire
all of them and start with a clean
slate, getting a 100 percent fresh
Congress and Senate. Subhedar J. W.
Why Halve Green
I read the article titled "New
GOP Bill Aims to Halve Green
Cards Issued Annually" (India
Abroad; Feb. 17, 2017).
I have issues with the legislation introduced by two conservative Republican senators, Tom
Cotton and David Perdue, to
make drastic changes in our
For one, what is the justifica-
tion to halve the annual number
of legal immigrants admitted to
the U.S. within a decade? That is,
why not double or reduce to
zero the annual number of legal
immigrants to be admitted with-
in a decade?
Two, why do these conservative senators want to make an
amendment that would adversely impact the second and fifth
family reunification provisions
of the current immigration law if
conservative politicians are supposed to foster family values?
It's a well-documented fact that
immigrants, uprooted from their
native countries, are much happier and more productive in
their work when they are in the
proximity of their immediate
family members and close relatives.
Three, I do agree with the
senators when they claim that
we should move to a more
merit-based system like that
seen in Canada and Australia.
More emphasis should be on
what the needs of the U.S. are
than the needs of the people
who want to immigrate for their
own reasons, be those political,
social, economic, or cultural.
Four, I also agree with the
senators' proposal to eliminate
the diversity visa lottery system,
under which 50,000 visas are
issued annually for countries
with smaller populations. The
system is plagued with fraud,
advances no economic or
humanitarian interest and does
little to foster diversity.
Last, but not the least, I am
glad that South Asian Americans
Leading Together (SAALT) vehemently opposes the bill.
However, I disagree with SAALT
when it implores Congress "to
welcome refugees, to not cripple
sanctuary cities." Refugees
should be helped to settle in
their own countries through the
help of the international communities. Sometimes refugees
use their refugee status as a pretext to move to affluent countries.
And it is totally illogical to
encourage illegal immigration by
establishing sanctuary cities.
These cities should be totally
outlawed, especially in light of
the fact that some illegal immigrants get so comfortable with
their illegal status that they have
no qualms about committing
crimes in the very communities
that have provided them with
shelter and protection. Pradeep Srivastava
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Protesters gather to
denounce President Donald
Trump’s ban on the entry of
refugees and people from
seven predominantly Muslim
countries at John F. Kennedy
International Airport in New
York on Jan. 28.