Letters: Ire, compassion for immigrant kids

People of faith and community members march down People of faith and community members march down Straight Path in Wyandanch in an interfaith show of support for the passage of an immigration reform bill that would putl 11 million people on a path to citizenship. (Oct. 27, 2013) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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Newsday's cover story "Destination: LI: 2,200 kids who crossed border illegally in '14 now living on Island" [News, Aug. 28] reveals the deep humanitarian crisis our country is grappling with, and the important role Long Island is playing.

It's heartbreaking to read the stories of children who are living a life of fear and uncertainty, not knowing whether they will ever see their parents and siblings again, or survive past childhood -- if we can even call it a childhood.

Buried underneath this debate is the simple fact that these are children who want to reconnect with their families. We are a nation of immigrants, and it is disheartening to see Long Islanders and elected officials turn their backs on the most vulnerable, frail and defenseless.

Anita Halasz, Lake Ronkonkoma
 

Newsday tells us that 2,277 children who came here illegally are being foisted upon Nassau and Suffolk counties by the federal government. County Executive Edward Mangano says that if we are concerned, we must contact federal officials.

Well, which federal officials should we contact? The Obama administration only supports those laws it likes. The Department of Justice is busy investigating Ferguson, Missouri. The people guarding the border have withdrawn to baby-sit.

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Where does it all end?

Joseph Scrandis, Westbury
 

I read Newsday's story and found myself reflecting on the words at the base of our Statue of Liberty, from the poem "The New Colossus": "Give me, your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Like so many others, I completely support the humanitarian efforts to assist children entering the United States from Central America. It's critical that we understand that these children are refugees fleeing violence, rape, poverty and murder. Long Islanders have heard the cries of 2,200 children, who are now living with parents, relatives and sponsors. The children have been easily absorbed into the community, and we cannot send them back into danger without giving them a hearing, compassion and protection.

This year, I've witnessed a great love and compassion for our immigrant neighbors. Local communities have fasted, prayed, marched and organized to stand in solidarity for comprehensive immigration reform. We heard the call of our faith traditions to welcome the stranger.

Nancy Fackner, Brentwood

Editor's note: The writer is a Roman Catholic nun with the Sisters of St. Joseph.
 

Local politicians are putting happy faces on this new, costly, endless pit of immigrant children streaming onto Long Island. Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokeswoman for County Executive Steve Bellone, said Suffolk County has not seen much of an effect. She said county departments "have not experienced a rise in the need for services due to the unaccompanied minors' ineligible status" and that Congress will hopefully take appropriate action.

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This cannot be happening. What about the costs outside of county social services, such as for schooling? These children just got here. Perhaps the social services cabal hasn't gotten to them yet to tell them all the rights they're entitled to.

Mike Pedano, South Farmingdale
 

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