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Supply and demand

Dear editor:

Instead of emotional rhetoric, posturing and accusations, whether we are right or left politically, can we try to understand and explain the main reason for the humanitarian crises at the southern border? Can we be logical rather than emotional or even hysterical?

I believe the answer is as simple as supply and demand.

Being a physician, I think of many things from a medical perspective. If there are more patients needing medical care than there are available doctors and advanced practice nurses, then patients don't get seen as quickly as in the past, if at all. Or if they get seen, the visit may be shorter in an attempt to see more patients per day to alleviate the problem. The doctor and nurses aren't evil. They can only do so much. This is actually happening in Arkansas as we speak due to the recent, sudden addition of a quarter of a million Medicaid patients under the Private Option (Arkansas Works) to private practices. And I anticipate it getting even worse due to the new VA Mission program allowing more veterans to see private doctors. I am in no way against the above programs. I'm just pointing out the consequences of too much demand without sufficient supply.

So it is with the problem at the southern border. The demand consists of close to a million illegal aliens just this year, many who are now families and children, entering the United States and having to be processed. This has simply overwhelmed the supply of border facilities to sufficiently house and feed all these unexpected people who have basic needs. I refuse to believe it is an evil government under President Trump who is intentionally mistreating these uninvited immigrants. Nor is it insensitive border agents who aren't doing their job (actually it's not their job but they're doing the best they can with the resources available). The facilities are in "crisis" due to the overwhelming numbers of border crossers. Demand has overwhelmed supply. And until this week, Congress has been unwilling to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on solving this problem.

I was always taught that actions have consequences. And bad actions have bad consequences. The United States didn't ask for this crisis and is doing the best it can until resources increase. Europe, Jordan and Turkey didn't do any better (and maybe worse) when they were overwhelmed with Syrian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants.

Lastly, to those who can't stop obsessing over this. What is your solution to the problem? Is it to just let them stream into the United States without processing and allow as many as want to come? If that's your solution then when you write me back, so I'll know you're serious, please specify the number of illegal immigrants who are living in your spare bedrooms, sleeping on your couches and eating your food. Then I'll at least know you're not hypocrites.

Jack Sternberg, MD

Hot Springs

Editorial on 07/06/2019

Print Headline: Saturday's Letter to the Editor

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