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Opinion >  Letters

‘Refugee’ has new meaning

Regarding last Sunday’s article about displaced people finding their way to Spokane (“Refugees endure arduous journeys to safety in Spokane,” April 26), I would like to point out that the term “refugee” seems to have taken on a different meaning in the past 10-20 years.

Our family has worked with refugee resettlement in Spokane for many years with World Relief, and in fact have hosted several families in our home while awaiting permanent housing. However, most of those spent months or years in resettlement camps abroad and were fleeing religious or governmental persecution, unlike those who are illegally crossing our southern border and expecting all the rights of American citizens. Most of these are seeking economic improvement, and for this reason, I wish we had a better term than “immigrants” for them. At the same time, I am upset that our immigration laws are so restrictive. We should be making legal immigration easier, not harder, while tightening the restrictions on extended families.

The same article referred to a citizen from Nicaragua who fled the current unrest, largely unreported in our press. When visiting Nicaragua a couple years ago, our tour guide was very proud of the free college education he and others were able to get under their socialist system. Such a system is economically unsustainable, and the result is the riots when economic belt-tightening eventually happened.

Thank you to Jared Brown for a well-written article, but there are deeper problems than the sympathy it evokes for the refugees.

Phil Monroe

Spokane Valley


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