Readers React: Asylum is for people fleeing persecution, not migrants escaping poverty

Asylum seekers at the El Chaparral port of entry in Tijuana wait to present themselves to U.S. border authorities on April 9.
(Guillermo Arias / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: While I am against President Trump’s handling of the asylum seeker problem, your editorial on Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation as Homeland Security secretary reveals confusion about that problem.

The asylum seekers from Central America and many Americans do not understand to whom asylum is available under current laws — those who have a credible fear of persecution or harm on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. This does not include “families fleeing violence and poverty.”

The U.S. is not a social services agency for Mexico and Central America. We should be taking care of the poverty and violence that exist here, and since we have not been able to solve those problems, we shouldn’t exacerbate the situation by accepting the problems from other countries.

If we choose to help, we should be dealing with the problems in the countries where they exist with targeted, direct aid to the people suffering.


Allan Baker, Morongo Valley, Calif.


To the editor: The lasting legacy of Nielsen, as well as that of the president she served, will be one of unparalleled inhumanity grounded on a foundation of xenophobia.

The most difficult challenge she will have now is not what her next job will be, but how she manages to sleep at night.


Bill Waxman, Simi Valley


To the editor: Nielsen was fired, or she resigned, depending on whom you believe. Secret Service chief Randolph Alles, who reported to her, was also shown the door as part of a “near systematic purge,” as one administration official put it.

When will Congress realize the obvious and do something about Trump’s “systematic purge” of our democracy?

It’s hard to imagine that these government officials would sacrifice their children’s and grandchildren’s future to push through each and every program on the Republican agenda. It’s more than selfish to want to burnish their own political legacy and in the process sacrifice their family’s futures.

What will these officials’ legacies be worth under Trump anyway?

Susan Harris, Glendale

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