Ten Words from The New York Times - June 12, 2013

June 12, 2013
For Mr. Obama, who has picked his shots in the immigration debate to avoid stirring partisan anger on Capitol Hill, it was a moment of promise and peril.
Though the Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, often an impediment to Democratic initiatives, voted to allow debate, he said he would vote against the bill unless major changes were made.
A senior White House official said Mr. Obama’s involvement was important because the bill’s success would hinge on winning the support of Hispanic voters, and “there is no Republican with the credibility to sell this to that community — only the president can.”
The process, he said, would be long and arduous, requiring people to pay taxes as well as a penalty, learn English, and then go to the back of the line behind applicants for American citizenship who entered the country lawfully.
Scrawling in wobbly English on a sheet of onionskin paper, the writer said he was imprisoned at a labor camp in this northeastern Chinese town, where he said inmates toiled seven days a week, their 15-hour days haunted by sadistic guards.
The letter drew international news media coverage and widespread attention to China’s opaque system of “re-education through labor,” a collection of penal colonies where petty criminals, religious offenders and critics of the government can be given up to four-year sentences by the police without trial.
The man, a Beijing resident and adherent of Falun Gong, the outlawed spiritual practice, said it was one of 20 such letters he secretly wrote over the course of two years.
“For a long time I would fantasize about some of the letters being discovered overseas, but over time I just gave up hope and forgot about them,” said the man, who asked that only his surname, Zhang, be published for fear of reprisal.
¶ But to some, he was a figure of sympathy, like Boo Radley, the recluse in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
¶ All the hagiography has been a bit much for Mr. Proulx, 65, a retired maintenance man, and his wife, Louise, also 65, who is retired from her job in human resources.

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