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Dear Editor:
When I was a boy, I was taught that one who dies in the state of grace [i.e. w/out mortal sin] will eventually access heaven after expiating venial sins in a place called purgatory. All religions in my day taught forgiveness. I assume that even those who are adamant against acceptance for the undocumented are taught forgiveness if they practice a religion. Accessing entrance into this country without documentation is not mortal; it is venial, and those who have come to our country in this way should be allowed to expiate their violation with earned forgiveness. Whenever I have visited Liberty Park and Ellis Island I have tried to envision my grandparents arriving there, where they first set foot into our country, where they slept, etc. When I re-read the words of Emma Lazarus, engraved on the pedestal of The Lady, especially the ending of her poem, I am filled with emotion and find a lump in my throat: "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Send these, the homeless, and tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Yes, I am a romantic and I do like poetry. The Lady does not ask for the rich and the educated, but for the poor, the tempest-tost and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. My grandparents arrived poor and uneducated in steerage. It was they who gave me the opportunities I enjoy today.

Richard E. Baer



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