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Dear Editor:
SJD's letter to the Editor, makes some fairly incredible assertions for someone who has been an advocate of essentially unlimited immigration - to wit either that those fleeing Communism shouldn't have been allowed in as political refugees or that their claims were inferior to those fleeing "right wing" dictatorships. I challenge someone to name a single Communist country besides Poland after the late 1980s where anyone who fled for any reason has not, at the minimum, subjected his family and friends to regular interviews by the secret police and party organizations and the denied opportunities for education, to say nothing of their right to travel. Treatment after return, even after amnesty, was not much better, I can assure you, even where regular beatings were no longer a fact of daily life. Further, by favoring refugees from Communist states with a blanket assumption of bona fide refugee status, the US was making a statement against a system where a non-political bricklayer could become an enemy of the state for leaving. In contrast, those generally called "right wing", like Generalissimo Franco and Evita Peron could care less when an electrician left or if he were sent back. For them, the personal was decidedly not political. Given the choice between refugees from these types of governments, whom should we have been sending back? I am convinced that those who face serious punishment upon return should be at the head of line. SJD also asks what we would have done "had they all tried to leave"? We can look to examples, like that of East Germans in 1958 and Czechoslovaks in 1968. In the first case, West Germany took them all and emerged stronger as a result. In the second case, the refugees were placed in UN refugee camps and rapidly resettled throughout the Western World, not always in their country of first choice, and they have by and large been very successful, very fast in their host countries. Perhaps it is that dislike of their success that lead to what seems to me a gratuitous swipe at Cubans in the Elian Gonzales case "one of the claims stated was that Elian didn't have any toys in Cuba" when that is a perfectly acceptable argument to make in what was essentially a family law case where one side argued, with some evidence to back them up, that the father was being forced to make a claim to take the boy back. The David Murray letter SJD is responding to seems to me to have advocated holding firmly to political grounds for granting refugee status, and not open the floodgates to every victim of horrid criminal abuse in the world. That is a decidedly non-insane position to take for a variety of reasons. SJD's rebuttal of that argument at the end of his letter would be stronger had it not been preceded by the invective calculated to push the buttons of most people who differ from SJD by seeing communism as having been an evil threat to the West generally and America in particular. Harrumph.

Honza J. F. Prchal
Birmingham, AL

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