The article on Lewiston, Maine, was only half the story if it is anything like my town of Owatonna, Minn. ["In Maine Town, Sudden Diversity and Controversy," front page, Oct. 14]. We too have a large influx of Somali refugees and other foreign nationals. And here, 31 percent of our county budget goes toward social services.

For those newcomers requiring public assistance, we pay for health care, dental care, housing and food, as well as paying a monthly stipend. We also pay for the new schools, additional teachers and subsidized lunches for the extra students. And we pay for the new jail to house lawbreakers with special dietary restrictions. Our area recently had a drug bust in which authorities confiscated khat, a plant grown in East Africa and used as a drug by these immigrants. So now there has been a suggestion of a new rehabilitation center because this drug problem is so widespread.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that Somalis in Minnesota send $7 million to their homeland every month. Where does this money come from? American taxpayers. If a group from any country wishes to come to America, its members should not rely on us to fund them and their causes. Give Lewiston and the rest of America a break: Slow up the mass influx of refugees and immigrants who want to take advantage of us. Send us the hardworking, self-sufficient people who will be an asset to our society, not a burden.


Owatonna, Minn.