To the Editor:

Speaking of ”Lady Liberty” in his farewell address to the nation in 1989 President Reagan said, "She's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home."

President Reagan was never known to be “soft” on immigration, but after eight years as president those were his feelings. As we muddle our way through this immigration briar patch I hope we aren’t too intellectually lazy or afraid of asking the next question.

Case in point: During the last debate the candidates were asked if they would give health care to illegal persons who are here now. Many raised their hands and the N.Y. Times printed that photo with the caption “Who wants to lose the election?” Nobody seemed inclined to ask what the options were. These folks are here living with us, they change the sheets in my hotel room, they pick the strawberries and peaches I put in my jams, they butcher and process the chicken in my freezer, none of which are jobs I or anyone I know aspire to, but need doing.

So she is a passenger in a car and is injured in an accident or comes home from work to find her daughter has appendicitis, now what? Seems to me there are only three options: 1) They receive the required medical attention through a program created for that purpose. 2) As things are currently, they receive medical attention at the local emergency room but at a cost many times that of the first option. 3) We refuse them any medical services and turn a blind eye to their suffering.

The last option isn’t the nation President Reagan saw and certainly not one I want to pass on to my daughter. So often we stop thinking or asking questions when we hear or read something that we agree with simply because it sounds right when if we paused and asked the next question we just might have to rethink our opinions. Often this isn’t easy or comfortable but it might bring us more quickly to points of agreement or compromise. It might also do us well to remember that the nature of compromise is such that nobody comes out with all they wanted. We have always been an openhearted nation, I hope we will continue that legacy.

David Hazlett



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