I read with dismay the New York Times article reprinted in the Star Tribune, “Tighter rules for poorer migrants” (front page, Aug. 13). Nowhere in this article appears the fact that existing immigration law already contains a rule pertaining to the “public charge” grounds for not giving permanent legal residence to noncitizens in the United States. If you read this article at face value, you might assume that these criteria are new, when in fact versions of the rule have been in place for more than a century. A more thoroughly researched article might have outlined the differences between existing law and newly proposed changes to that law instead of leaving the impression that public benefits have been freely given to all immigrants in the past, but thanks to “new rules,” this is going to stop.

If we are to be an informed electorate, we must understand these nuances and debate the relevant facts. Our democratic society is plagued by complex challenges requiring complex solutions. If we are to understand these challenges and effectively debate them, we must have the correct information. We require our journalists to dig deep and provide relevant facts despite popularly tweeted slogans.

Patricia A. Levy, Shorewood

• • •

On my father’s side, my ancestors came from Ireland to America as a result of the potato famine. They were starving. Had they stayed in Ireland they would have died; I would not be here writing this. On the other side, my mother’s grandfather came here from Moravia. He ran away from home as a young teenage boy to claim the promise of America. He had to lie about his age to board the ship that sailed for the promise of a future where he could be more than a poverty-stricken day-laborer. He became a baker opening his own bakery in Chicago. His granddaughter, my mother, became one of our country’s first women to become a lawyer. She graduated first in her class, outdistancing her classmates who were all male.

My Irish ancestors became everything from railroad engineers to lawyers to actresses to business executives and financiers. My Irish father spent three years of his young life defending this country in the Pacific during World War II, then went on to raise a family of six and run his own business, employing over 100 other people, some of them immigrants.

Not one of them arrived with money or the promise of making it. None would have been able to afford the passage back to their homelands, either. I wonder, would the Trump administration have put them in cages at the border? Would it have separated them from their children or parents? Sent my Irish family back to their homeland to starve, or condemned my great-grandfather to a life of unrequited labor in his tiny village?

These are the people today who the Trump administration is rejecting. “Give me your tired, your poor” — now what is it acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said? — as long as they can prove they are financially stable and won’t be a burden to the taxpayers?

All I can say is, “Wow!”

Marjorie Rackliffe, Hopkins

DHS FUNDS

Tribes don’t own state’s mistakes

For the state of Minnesota to demand repayment of $25.3 million from the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation is wrong (“State tells bands to pay back $25.3M,” Aug. 14). The tribes had repeatedly consulted with the Department of Human Services about billing for addiction treatment services and repeatedly were given misleading and incorrect information. The mistake is clearly the responsibility of DHS and, by extension, the state.

Throughout the history of this country, federal and state governments have repeatedly broken their word to Native American tribes. It is past time that citizens demand that our government act with honor and integrity. Tell Gov. Tim Walz and your state legislators that the state of Minnesota, not the tribes, needs to cover the costs involved.

Jane Bacon, White Bear Lake

• • •

In a growing list of Minnesota state government blunders, another mismanaged fund through the Department of Human Services has been revealed. Star Tribune readers are left in disbelief that the trust we put in government cannot be counted on. Apparently no one in state government is capable of any semblance of accountability. Time will tell if this is a case of underinflated numbers, as in the day-care center fraud under the Child Care Assistance Program — another part of DHS. Add to this the MNLARS debacle and you have taxpayers wondering just how much of every dollar is wasted on fraudulent payments and mismanagement.

It cannot be overlooked that these occurrences are under two Democratic administrations. Instead of focusing on growing government, maybe it’s best we first determine how much government has squandered before it gets one more dime.

Joseph Polunc, Cologne, Minn.

NEIGHBORHOODS

W. Calhoun should be conserved

Regarding the controversy over whether to create a conservation district in the West Calhoun neighborhood (“Push to protect W. Calhoun homes reignites density debate,” Aug. 14), we would like to present the reasons why the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council supports creation of the district.

We recognize the desirability of residential density near the coming West Lake light-rail station and do not see creation of a conservation district as a way of blocking residential growth. Based on recently approved construction permits, West Calhoun will be one of the most compact, densely populated neighborhoods in the city by the time the light-rail station opens in 2023, with over 2,300 dwelling units, fewer than 50 of which would be single-family homes. But we do not wish to be a bedroom community with wall-to-wall apartment buildings and condominiums. Rather, we hope to become a vibrant urban neighborhood with a diversity of housing types and affordability as well as pedestrian-oriented shopping, a neighborhood park (which we currently lack) and other amenities. Creating a conservation district of small, historically significant (and not lakefront) homes in the middle of the neighborhood would be a step in that direction.

Allan Campbell and Lynette Davis, Minneapolis

The writers are chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Iron Range could produce energy tech, but it would still need copper

It is hugely ironic that Michael Paymar proposes solar and wind turbine construction as an economic alternative to copper-nickel mining for northern Minnesota (“Invest in alternatives for northeastern Minn.,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 14). Wind and photovoltaic power generation uses, on average, five times as much copper as traditional fossil fuels or nuclear power. In essence, what he is proposing is exporting the environmental risk of copper extraction while importing the physical copper needed for manufacturing of renewable energy technology.

Make no mistake. This is a very complicated issue and there are significant risks associated with many options for tailings storage. But many of the knee-jerk, seemingly “green” alternatives to copper-nickel mining are half-baked, distort the debate and do Iron Rangers a disservice.

Brian J. Krause, Minneapolis

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