In America, individuals have rights

I was appalled as I read about the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in Chester County last month ("Growing fear," Sunday). Has our country become a police state? With no warrant or explanation of any kind, 12 men were arrested at a private mushroom farm, handcuffed, and taken away, ultimately to York County Prison to face deportation.

How is this different from the actions of dictator-ruled countries, where individuals have no rights? I grieve for those men and their families, and for all those living in fear of similar treatment. And for our country.

|Anne Dean Mackintosh, Cherry Hill

Remove PPA from politicians' grip

The Inquirer editorial is correct that there is no good reason for keeping the Philadelphia Parking Authority under state control ("Give PPA back to city," May 2). That, however, is not a justification for giving the PPA back to the city. It would merely be exchanging one set of politicians for another. How is that supposed to be an improvement? Have our city pols shown themselves to be any less corrupt or self-serving than those in Harrisburg? Hardly.

Better to simply eliminate the PPA. Owning and managing parking lots is hardly an essential government function.

|Andrew Terhune, Philadelphia,

Put safeguards in sex-assault cases

Chris Mondics' very good Law Review column, "Campus sex assault rules may change" (Thursday), pointed out the growing concern about the lack of basic due process in investigations and hearings conducted by colleges and universities in sexual-assault incidents. The American College of Trial Lawyers recently published a white paper on the subject, setting forth numerous protections that need to be included in the procedure for handling such cases. These are basic safeguards that should be in every program.

I am a fellow of the college. For a copy of the white paper, email

|Peter F. Vaira, former U.S. attorney, Philadelphia

Wagner unfit to serve as governor

State Sen. Scott Wagner (R., York), a candidate for governor, confiscated a video camera from a political tracker last week for having the temerity of recording a speech ("Wagner has clash over video from speech at club," Wednesday).

Coupled with Wagner's bizarre claim that climate change might be caused by an increasing number of "warm bodies"("Battling untruths with real science," April 7), it is clear that he does not have ability to handle the position of governor and calls into question whether he is fit to serve public office in general.

|Mike Bourg, Philadelphia,

Airlines are flying blind

It is quite ironic that in the same week that airlines executives were "blasted" by Congress for added fees, cramped seats, and poor customer service ("Airlines' service blasted at hearing," Wednesday), it was reported that to cram more seats on planes, passengers will lose yet more of the legroom that is scarcely there now ("American to shrink economy legroom," Friday).The airlines industry does not respect its public.

|Ruth Rizzuto, Wenonah

Preserve food stamp program

There was a lot of talk when U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Pa.) made the jump from the statehouse to Congress last year. What hasn't attracted much attention is his appointment to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. What connection could there be between a congressman from North Philadelphia and agricultural affairs? As it turns out, plenty.

The committee deals with farm economics and conservation but also with charitable food programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps. The committee is undertaking a top-to-bottom review of SNAP in anticipation of the next farm bill. Many are concerned about the direction of that review and, ultimately, the future of the program.

Evans, who serves on the committee with vice chairman Rep. Glenn Thompson (R., Pa.), the only other Pennsylvanian on the panel, plays an important role. At the state level, he established a record of standing up for poor, underserved residents. Let's hope that tradition continues, because we need him now more than ever. SNAP isn't just a farm issue; it's a family issue, too.

|Sheila Christopher, executive director, Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, McMurray,

Take guns from two officers

It is amazing that the Philadelphia Police Department can return Officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey to duty carrying weapons ("2 officers in shooting of man moved from district," May 2). After they shot a food delivery man based on mistaken identity and gross negligence, these officers should be barred from any position involving carrying a gun.

Mayor Kenney should remove these officers from any gun-carrying street duty if the police commissioner will not do it.

|Harold R. Berk, Ambler