Wrong to reject refugees

To the editor:

Caring for others is an American aspirational belief and a core principle of every major religion. Such values were recently tested by Haitian refugees at our southern border. These are the least of our bothers — and we failed the test. All of us, nonvoters and voters, own this. It’ll take all of us to atone, and it should be easy because there’s a labor shortage.

Here are some familiar examples. Two restaurant owners recently told me they need dishwashers. One can’t find servers. The hospital has dozens of openings for cleaning staff. Our auto body shop is taking appointments for mid November. This spring, contractors in town were booked “until snow plowing season.” A new coffee shop owner told me her biggest challenge was finding contractors to build her business. Now she can’t find enough staff.

Many blame the federal supplemental unemployment benefit. But 25 states ended that program months ago. The data proves it’s a myth that workers prefer staying home to earning a living. For example, Montana rejected the federal benefit in May. Their unemployment rate was 3.6% then, now it’s 3.5%.

Wouldn’t any of our desperate business owners hire refugees instead of paying taxes for federal cowboys to round up humans like cattle? Here’s a young, demonstrably healthy workforce right on our doorstep. Their endurance and work ethic have been tested far beyond ours. Haitian refugees survived catastrophes, abject poverty, and trekked thousands of miles, only to be turned back instead of welcomed.

Yeah, their skin color is darker and they have funny accents. Shouldn’t we be getting over that stuff by now?

And (gasp!) some may not be Christians. But unlike many of us, at least they’re honest about it.

Frank Pagano



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