Hardships for immigrants

This month I had the opportunity to see several towns along the southern border, including McAllen and Brownsville in Texas, and Metamoros, Mexico. What I witnessed is a totally broken immigration system.

Current U.S. practice makes seeking asylum a very lengthy process. Some wait for days on the sidewalk with children and no food or water supplied. With fewer points of entry, the lines are made much longer and force desperate people to make far riskier attempts to enter the country.

People who have papers and want to conduct business in the U.S. stand in line for about three hours. If they drive cars, the wait is about five hours.

When migrants who have sponsors in the U.S. are given permission to travel, many have no money or food for the journey. Some also have no money for bus tickets.

Fortunately, there are generous people who regularly provide assistance. I saw two agencies that assist as many as 200 people per day, offering showers, clean clothes, food supplies, and even bus tickets when necessary. They are Catholic Charities Respite Center and Methodist Good Neighbor Settlement House.

The idea that these immigrants are rapists, thieves and drug dealers is simply a lie. They are fleeing for their lives from several countries in near free fall, risking everything on the journey. They are trying to come in the right way, and we have made it far more difficult than it ever was for our ancestors who fled here over the last couple of centuries.

The Rev. Jay Schmidt, Akron

 

Serving Ohio voters

I was pleased to see the editorial in support of automatic voter registration (“Make it automatic for Ohio voters,” May 7). I agree that Ohio can do so much more to make sure that all eligible Ohioans are registered and that our electoral democracy runs smoothly.

States across the country are adopting automatic voter registration (AVR) because it’s a commonsense and cost-saving innovation. With AVR, an eligible voter’s registration information would automatically be updated when he or she interacts with a government agency, e.g., when taxes are paid or a license is procured. The process is far superior to relying on paper registration forms because it would dramatically reduce Ohio’s voter registration gap, make voting rolls more accurate and secure, and create government efficiencies.

I applaud Secretary of State Frank LaRose and the bipartisan group of state legislators looking into AVR, which includes state Sen. Vernon Sykes of Akron, and I encourage them to move forward. I call on U.S. Sen. Rob Portman to do the same at the federal level through the For the People Act, which was passed in the U.S. House and now is before the Senate Finance Committee on which Portman serves. The bill expands voting rights, limits partisan gerrymandering, strengthens ethics rules and limits the influence of private donor money in politics. I urge Portman to support the bill.

Jackie Derrow, president

League of Women Voters of the Akron Area

 

Wasteful with cash

I am for helping the homeless as much as the next person, but when I see pictures of them holding a cigarette or covered in tattoos, I am not inclined to do so. Cigarettes and tattoos are both quite expensive. So first they need to take care of themselves more by forgoing those two items alone.

Mona Chalker, North Canton