I am getting very tired of hearing the governor making false statements about the men and women coming here to escape from death threats and other terrible experiences in their home countries.

He calls them “illegal immigrants.” That is wrong. Almost without exception, they are all legally registered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and are awaiting their hearing from that agency before they can receive a green card.

Then he suggests that what he calls these “illegals” are responsible for rising rates of hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis. There is no data whatsoever that supports that claim. It is stated by him simply to generate fear, in order to support his fiscal goals.

His plan is not to allow these people to qualify for General Assistance. He chooses to believe that they are a drain on the state, failing to recognize that they are the hope for our future economy.

Maine’s population is the second oldest in the country, and we do not have enough young people coming along to take the jobs that need to be filled. These immigrants can and do work to provide the services we all need, and are already contributing to growing our economy. If we turn these people away, if we do not help these people gain a foothold here, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …” All of us except American Indians are descended from immigrants who came here in search of a better life. I long for the day when this country will honor our heritage by treating the newest arrivals with fairness and dignity.

Cushman D. Anthony