Hallelujah! I was so happy to read the paper on Jan. 7 to see that our newly elected governor had issued an executive order that would allow officials in state agencies to question people about their immigration status. Common sense is having its day in the sun.

Social services paid for by the taxpayers of Maine are a wonderful safety net for Mainers, especially for Mainers who have come upon hardship. I fully support having social services and social safety nets for those in our communities who are unable to earn a living that will provide for basic necessities.

I do not support offering these social services to individuals and families who have no history of paying into the system that funds Maine’s social services.

Individuals and families who settle in Maine from other countries should not be allowed to get social services until they have been self-sufficient and paying into the system as taxpayers for many years.

If a religious body or other group is coordinating the relocation to Maine of immigrants from other countries, the group should provide financial support during those initial years instead of expecting the taxpayers of Maine to provide financial support.

It is impossible to sustain a healthy and reliable social safety net if there are more takers than there are makers.

Sharon Conley

South Portland

Gov. LePage has made it OK for state workers to ask people about their immigration status. This is in the context of our serious problem of controlling our borders.

Some people, including Marc Mutty of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Rep. Mark Dion and Shenna Bellows of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, have reacted negatively.

I think we need to consider what the effect is of accepting the violation of a law. My thought is it undermines that law.

Bob Porteous

Freeport

This is in response to Mr. Roger Hale’s Dec. 29 letter, headlined “U.S. immigration policies contribute to problems.”

Yes, Mr. Hale, it is time that Americans start talking openly and honestly about immigration and its effect on the American economy. But please set the rules of discussion in a truthful and unbiased format.

I, too, was a product of the ’60s generation and maybe my memory is not as sharp as it once was, but during those school years, overpopulation was nowhere near the hot button that the Vietnam War was. For the past decade the birth rate has hovered around 14 births per thousand.

Another fact concerning the migrant population in the United States: An estimated 25 percent to 40 percent of our current unauthorized population never entered clandestinely, instead overstaying a legal admission period. Border enforcement contributes almost nothing to the deterrence or apprehension of over-stayers.

Migration is a phenomenon built on social networks, and the contacts established through temporary work can become the basis for a wider circle of migration in the future. If we need people for their labor, we should recognize that they come with a full set of human yearnings and needs, including a natural inclination to sink roots and seek stability.

Ask the hard questions about what persons or classes of workers we truly need for their labor and not just because businesses prefer to pay wages lower than the current level. The Swiss novelist Max Frisch captured this in his comment on the European guest-worker decades ago: “We asked for workers, but human beings came.”

Our government must complement border enforcement with major new efforts at interior enforcement, especially enforcement through work-site verification of new hires. Jobs draw migrants to our shores. The key to winning the enforcement battle may be to reduce the job magnet.

John McGinnis

Windham

Airport scans are violations of privacy, personal rights

Professor Michael Hamilton’s opinion column on TSA tactics and Americans acting like sheep (“Sheep don’t make good capitalists,” Dec. 28) was absolutely spot on.

The downward slide of civil liberties and the increase in unreasonable searches that Americans accept as a whole is unbelievable to those of us who do not accept the actions of our government when they are unreasonable.

The only reason that the recent Thanksgiving holiday demonstrations against the full body scanners did not take place as planned was that TSA decided to stop a large percentage of the normal scans so that delays would not occur.

There is no reason to search or scan people who are not a member of the group of people who try to use bombs or planes to kill Americans. Making an 80-year-old in a wheelchair take shoes off of feet so swollen that the shoes cannot be put back on, or stripping a child of a shirt or making anyone who is obviously not a terrorist take off their shoes and submit to body imaging scans is ludicrous.

Scot Herrigel and other letter writers may believe that there is no reason to protest government’s irrational control, but the unreasonable searches do not keep anyone safe — at all — ever. If they did, I would support them. Life is risk. Deal with it.

People should focus on something useful such as inspecting freight containers, performing targeted background checks, reducing traffic deaths or curing diseases.

Wake up, Americans!

Kerry Corthell

Scarborough

Disappointing to find who’s behind Cutler Files

As an avid supporter of Rosa Scarcelli in the gubernatorial primary and, later, Eliot Cutler in the gubernatorial race, I was shocked and saddened to learn that Dennis Bailey (Rosa’s campaign manager and head of a PR firm) and Thomas Rhoads (Rosa’s husband) were behind the vicious (and anonymous) Cutler Files scandal.

To have conceived this sleazy idea in the first place was bad enough. To then vehemently deny inside knowledge and/or involvement takes the cake. It is a sad day for Maine and Maine politics. I feel duped.

David Treadwell

Brunswick

Is there an official definition of ‘elderly’? 

I have been hearing a lot lately about the “elderly.” And, I was wondering, who are the “elderly”? At what age does one become “elderly”? Does the government have a specific age? I don’t really know.

Having been born in 1936, am I “elderly”? Who knows, but I think someone should set the record straight and tell us.

Tom Heels

Scarborough

 


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