Migrants from Brazil sit on the Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge connecting Juárez...

Migrants from Brazil sit on the Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge connecting Juárez and El Paso on May 13, hoping to seek asylum in the United States.  Credit: For The Washington Post/Danielle Villasana

Law protects those who seek asylum

The Suffolk County Human Rights Commission implores lawmakers and other community leaders to work together to seek fair and reasonable solutions that do not encourage bias and discrimination toward immigrants [“Suffolk seeks plan to block migrants,” News, June 2]. We know that when members of our communities are marginalized, hate and violence can result.

Providing for people in need can be complicated, but protecting the vulnerable is a U.S. obligation. Despite the words on the Statue of Liberty, our country in the past has failed to be a refuge.

We are haunted by memories of failures such as the St. Louis, which in 1939 was not permitted to dock in the United States and had to return to Europe, sending a quarter of the nearly 1,000 passengers to their deaths.

The county Human Rights Commission reminds legislators and County Executive Steve Bellone that seeking asylum is protected by international law. Those who’ve fled countries seeking refuge from war and violence have the right to ask for protection. Asylum seekers are not illegal immigrants but humans seeking a better life no different than many of our ancestors did many years ago.

Safety is a human right.

— Lynda Perdomo-Ayala, Hauppauge

The writer chairs the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission.

Funding mental health care overdue

I’m glad that New York State will fund mental health services in a big way [“$1B plan for mental health care,” News, May 27]. Clinicians have been aware for years of the needs of the mentally ill for comprehensive, individualized services that are sufficient to meet their patients’ needs. And not micro-managed by the state Office of Mental Health or insurance companies whose interests, in my experience as a licensed clinical social worker, have been overwhelmingly financial or bureaucratic.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “The era of ignoring the needs of these individuals is over” and “Today marks a reversal of our state’s approach to mental health care.” For the sake of our patients, I hope that is true.

— Donald Pfeifer, West Hempstead

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