Listen to the people
In response to Mr. Cherry's letter posted 2-2-19, I would like to say I understand.
You are frustrated about the fight over the wall and it seems like a no-brainer. I feel the same way trying to get people health care or to do something about global warming.
There has just been too much fake news aimed at scaring people about immigrants.
For example, people are afraid Americans will lose their identity if we let in immigrants from the south. However, the vast majority are Christians. Did you know that Americans eat more salsa than ketchup? Maybe we should require immigrants to eat more salsa? DACA recipients are required to pass a background check. Rush Limbaugh cannot pass a background check because of his drug bust. They are also required to speak English although America has no official language and some 300-plus languages are spoken here.
Immigrants to this country, legal and otherwise, put in more than they take out. Once here they pay sales taxes to local governments and gas, cigarette and alcohol taxes to the federal government as well as income taxes.
Asylum-seekers are not illegal or undocumented. They have a right to apply. Even if they cross illegally, they turn themselves in right away and are now being held in Mexico.
Most Illegal aliens are coming here on visas and overstaying their welcome.
Drugs are coming in right through the checkpoints or are going around in planes, tunnels and submarines.
No 911 terrorists came in through the southern border. Those guys train in the rugged mountains of Pakistan. They could come in through the mountains of Mexico where a wall cannot be built. Other means of security will be needed if you are really worried about terrorists.
Last but not least, Trump was handed a bill with $1.5 billion for a wall and he would not sign it, so blame him for what is going on.
I think all politicians should listen to the real news coming from authorities who live at the border and if they say we need more wall then build it.
Maybe we can all agree that the people closest to the border should have more of a say than people in Washington, D.C. (or anywhere else).
Prediction comes true
Almost 99 years ago, H.L. Mencken, one of America's most outstanding journalists, wrote, "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." Mencken included this in an article he wrote for the Baltimore Evening Sun on July 2, 1920, and unfortunately, his prediction has come true in the "moron," who now occupies the Oval Office.
John S. Polk
Time to change our views
Whenever I walk down Central Avenue I see around five people panhandling, which is one of the most outward signs of Hot Spring's growing homeless community. Homelessness is an issue that raises taxes and makes an area feel less secure.
There are many different ways to end homelessness that have proved effective, like programs that help people stay in their homes and programs that house the homeless, but none of these will be effective in Hot Springs until there's a change in the attitude of the city's people, because they both have high upfront costs.
Generally, people think of the homeless as lazy individuals who refuse to take care of themselves, but the majority are normal people that have hit a rough patch in their lives. They lose their homes, then fall into mental or physical illness which makes it much more difficult, if not impossible, for them to get and keep a job.
To effectively end homelessness, we as a city need to change our views about these people to reflect the fact that they are people just like housed individuals.
Housing First needed
Approximately 2,700 homeless people live in Arkansas alone. According to the University of Texas, each homeless person costs taxpayers about $14,480 per year, totaling just under $4 million. Many of these homeless people suffer from mental illness or addiction or are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Because the homeless can have difficulties finding help with these illnesses, many are not able to maintain a stable residence or employment.
Creating a Housing First program, although unrealistic due to the stigma of addiction and mental illness, could help by providing a place for the homeless to live and resources to help mental health and addiction.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, these programs save taxpayers approximately $2,000 per year, and the majority of homeless people helped by these programs remain housed and experience improvements in their mental health or addictions. While the most effective solution may be unlikely due to prejudice, creating a local council within our government to call attention to the stigma and secure resources for the homeless may be the first step toward getting a Housing First program and lowering the percentage of homeless people in Arkansas.
Hot Springs VillageEditorial on 02/05/2019
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