To the editor: My grandparents immigrated to the United States as part of the “poor, huddled masses.” My grandfathers worked in steel mills and coal mines, my grandmothers as a cook and a maid. (“California sues Trump over ‘public charge’ rule denying green cards to immigrants,” Aug. 16)
I am still fascinated by the jobs my parents described working during the Great Depression. Growing up, I recall hearing how their families never took public welfare assistance even when eating onion sandwiches for supper. The message of work and self-sufficiency served me well.
To my knowledge, none of my cousins in my extended family has been on public assistance. It just occurred to me that maybe the grandparents heard this message when they signed in at Ellis Island. Maybe this drove our country over the last century to its position of leadership in the world.
Maybe President Trump (for all his faults) is right to reinforce it. California is wrong to undermine this important message.
Michael Pucher, Redondo Beach
To the editor: Unless you’re among the 1.6% in the U.S. who are Native Americans, you are an immigrant or descended from immigrants. Most likely you or your ancestors came seeking a better life, or were forced here as slaves. Countless immigrants, like those at our southern border, fled poverty, tyranny and violence.
Denying citizenship to legal immigrants who utilize safety-net programs is wrong. We are a nation of riches with a longstanding commitment to providing a hand up through public programs, primarily Medicaid, food stamps and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
We thank the state of California for standing up for those with immediate needs as they pursue their dreams in our country. Our organization believes health is a human right and reaches out in communities across Southern California to register residents and their children for vitally important programs. We know access to healthcare benefits us all by limiting the spread of disease and by providing preventive care to reduce the dependence on costly emergency care.
Unfortunately, denying access to safety-net programs has legal immigrants at risk and in need of healthcare and healthful food because they are afraid to destroy their dream of citizenship. We are better than this.
Erik Wexler, Irvine
The writer is chief executive of Providence St. Joseph Health, Southern California.