Editor:

It is said we have an “immigration crisis” at our southern border. However, we here in Punta Gorda see no such catastrophe. But what if we did? How might this “crisis” look to us?

Yuma, Ariz., is a small border town of about 100,000; Punta Gorda’s population is 20,000. Yuma took in some 2,500 immigrants in April. Assuming Punta Gorda took in 500 immigrants (one-fifth Yuma’s arrivals last month), where would we find housing for 500 mostly destitute people? How would we feed them? Medical? Schooling, etc.? Where would our city manager find the emergency funding?

I have little doubt, like after Hurricane Charley, Punta Gorda would rise to the challenge. Local nonprofits (Salvation Army, St. Vincent’s, Red Cross, etc.) would marshal forces. Think how our huge, good-hearted retired population would flock to volunteer. We would unite and do our area proud.

But, what if the flood of 500 continued the following month? And the next? And, as in Yuma, for the foreseeable future? How long until Punta Gorda is forcing these folks to sleep under the U.S. 41 Bridge or in Gilchrist Park (even on the “precious” grass)?

What if the situation seemed endless? How long until we requested National Guard help? The bottom line, Punta Gorda would soon exhaust its resources, and goodwill. Now, hopefully, you realize there is a real crisis at our southern border.

Please, empathize with the plight of our countrymen in Yuma, along with those on our entire southern border.

Bob Filkins

Punta Gorda

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