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52° Good Afternoon

Letters: Ire, compassion for immigrant kids

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 The people guarding the border have withdrawn to baby-sit.

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.

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

Hazardous stretch along Route 110 repair

I'd like Newsday and Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone to know that the Route 110 construction project is truly a safety hazard to drivers and pedestrians ["Traveling on the rocky road of progress," News, Aug. 6].

The existing road is in such poor condition that it desperately needs to be milled down. Temporary patches have deteriorated into deep ruts, which are damaging cars and risking lives as people swerve to avoid them.

I called the town to voice my concern and was referred to state officials.

Michael Rampello, Melville

Destroying pants on the LIRR

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's effort to repair the faulty armrests on Long Island Rail Road trains hasn't been completed. This has left commuters like me continuing to be damaged by the LIRR's negligence.

On the 3:03 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon, I nearly fell into the passenger seated next to me when my pants pocket got caught on the armrest. Thankfully, neither of us was hurt, and I only suffered the embarrassment of my underwear showing through the ripped pants pocket.

The customer service clerk at Penn Station told me she sees at least 10 requests a day for claims about this. No one knows how many people don't even bother to make a claim.

This episode caused me to think about what it really costs to live in Nassau County. With federal, state, sales, gasoline and property taxes, along with fees for bridges, tunnels, cellphones, etc. -- if you total it up, you're lucky if you're left with 35 percent of your gross income. And then they take your pants.

Dan Levy, Baldwin