Virginia can do better

on immigration

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I’m sure we’ve all seen or read what is happening at our southern border and throughout our nation under the supervision of the Trump administration.

Children permanently separated from their families. People crammed in overcrowded prisons with no beds, soap or medicine.

As the child of immigrants, these events chill me to my core.

At the same time, as someone whose family has dealt extensively with a broken immigration system, I know there are steps we can take to do more than just speak out against these events.

When a federal agency oversteps and abuses, it’s time for states to exercise their discretion.

No one in Virginia should be afraid to contact local law enforcement to report crime or ask for lifesaving help.

We should not, as a commonwealth, allow families to be ripped out of our communities.

It isn’t right morally, and it makes no sense economically. According to the American Immigration Council, one in six workers in Virginia is an immigrant. Plus, immigrants add billions in tax revenue and tens of billions in consumer spending.

We also should think about how Virginia could be more welcoming and safe for immigrant communities.

For example, 13 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses. Not only does that unlock economic opportunity, but it also boosts road safety and cuts down the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers.

This is just one of many ways Virginia can do better.

Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or an independent, we all can agree that we face a historic choice on immigration. We must choose compassion and common sense over xenophobia.

Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax.


Health care a service,

not a right, privilege

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Correspondent Ike Koziol makes the claim that health care is a right and not a privilege.

Actually, it is neither. It is a service, provided by your fellow citizens who were trained extensively and expensively in a profession. It is a service like any other. It might be considered a necessity, like food, clothing and housing, but still it is not a right, which are enumerated in the United States Constitution’s first 10 amendments.

If you believe that health care is a right, what you really are saying is you believe you have a right to the free services and products of others (those trained professionals).

Just because something is granted through legislation doesn’t make it right, or a right. One only has to look at the types of legislation passed by despots in recent history.

And let us not forget the myriads of middle-class families who now cannot afford the insurance premiums they must pay in order for your citizens in Wise to have their expanded Medicaid services.

Paula Anderson.


Address root cause now

to reduce threat later

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I was alarmed by your brief editorial mention of the projected costs to Virginia of sea level rise over the next 20 years (“Not to nickel-and-dime a serious issue”). Sure, an exact figure is impossible. But even if the figure of $31 billion is inflated, the real problem is not the exact number of dollars. The real problem is that we simply are not going to come up with that much money.

When we compare the costs of adaptation (building barriers to fight sea level rise) and mitigation (reducing the carbon emissions that are driving the sea level rise), it is ridiculous for us to pretend that we can protect homeowners without addressing the root cause of climate change. The best way to start the process of cutting carbon is to impose fees on fossil fuels and refund the money to American families. The bill currently before Congress, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, does just that and has 1 sponsor and 51 cosponsors. It needs more.

Pete Greider.


Socialism not only cause

of Jamestown’s problems

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Joel S. Lewis’ letter from July 2 leaves out crucial historical context regarding the Jamestown colony. Having been taught Virginia history just five years ago in the fifth grade, I acknowledge I am closer to it than he; however, Lewis should have known about the other factors in Jamestown’s early days that made it so disastrous rather than focusing exclusively on socialism.

Settlers didn’t simply choose not to work because they didn’t have an incentive to. They were quickly laid low with diseases like malaria, typhoid, and diphtheria, and the gold they expected was nowhere to be found, leaving the disproportional amount of specialized jewelers and goldsmiths in their ranks mostly useless. John Smith once said that these men would “rather starve than farm.” The cadre of Virginia Company investors and noblemen weren’t particularly helpful either, with Smith describing them in his journal as men who “never did know what a dayes work was.” The settlers were ill-equipped to handle their new tasks.

Finally, we must realize that private ownership didn’t make the colony prosper. The Virginia Company had to give land and slaves to settlers to make the colony truly prosperous. Virginia became a strong colony not for a singular reason, and it is sad that today’s hyperpartisanship has caused people to disregard or forget history.

Joseph Chambers.


Decision on census

called un-American

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

There will be no citizenship question on the 2020 census, thanks to nine robed people (and a bunch of progressive special interest groups). It’s now un-American to count the number of Americans in America. We’re losing all logic and reason, if we haven’t lost it already.

Van Williams.

Glen Allen.

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