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Letter from Mary Anne Whelan

State of Emergency or Xenophobia?

The last two issues of “The Freeman’s Journal” have covered David Bliss’ proposed strategies for, in effect, defending ourselves from any proposed influx of immigrants.

While it is understandable to raise concerns about a housing shortage as a rationale for this, there is also a flavor of Trump-style xenophobia and a lack of any proposed humane solution to an urgent human problem.

We need to remember that we, or our ancestors, were all immigrants once. These people—all of them legal immigrants or asylum seekers—are seeking refuge from desperate circumstances. There is a commandment of decency, common to all religions, to succor persons in need.

I am not aware of any canvassing of local residents with regard to opinions or possible housing, but this is a community which somehow manages to accommodate thousands of extra people every summer, as that is profitable. I would personally be willing to offer any reasonable housing, as far as I would be able, and with the support of social service and volunteer agencies which are certainly going to be in place.

A better question than “How can we keep them out?” would be: “How can we make it work?”

Mary Anne Whelan


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