The Statue of Liberty in New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)

I was disheartened by the quote from Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in the Aug. 15 editorial “Don’t give us your poor,” suggesting that the United States wants only those who can pull themselves “up by their bootstraps.” More than 50 years ago, a man said to me, “Those people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” Then, of course, he was speaking of black people, and my response was, “But what if they don’t have any?”

The United States has always been the country that provided those bootstraps both to all who lived here and those who arrived on our shores seeking asylum. That promise has been taken away by an administration driven by hatred and fear. It is a promise that must be restored if we are to keep our country’s very soul intact.

Leni Preston, Bethesda

The Trump administration’s new policy of denying people entry into the United States based on their likely need for public assistance will enhance fear in communities that are already very much on edge. It will encourage mass disenrollment from much-needed public-benefit programs and potentially discourage families from seeking out health care.

As a health-care provider, I am seeing this happen in front of my eyes. I think of one of my patients, a child with a complex medical history, who came in very sick after being released from a detention center without adequate medications. This family, and likely many others, will not seek public resources to obtain much-needed nutritional supplements and possibly not come to future health-care appointments for fear that their asylum claim will be rejected.

This child is our future, and, as a part of the public, I am willing to be charged to help ensure this child and many others can receive the nutrition and support needed to have a healthy one.

Jessica Chamish, Washington

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