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Immigrant kids require our sympathy and our assistance

Oklahoman Published: June 27, 2014

Regarding “Fallin faults ‘lax policy’ in children’s immigration” (News, June 21): Gov. Mary Fallin appears to have forgotten U.S. history. These kids require our sympathy and our assistance, something we’ve furnished refugees before. Recall the thousands of Vietnamese refugees of the late 1970s who were settled in many camps and reserve military posts.

In May 1981, I was assigned to organize a refugee camp in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. We were then inundated by many thousands of Cuban refugees, treating more than 1,000 patients a day while performing an equal number of entrance physicals. Most of these Cubans weren’t political refugees but the result of Castro emptying out prisons, hospitals and TB sanitariums. The refugees were sent on to many places, including military camps, as well as sponsoring individuals and organizations.

The precedent is clearly there and we can surely do the same for these unfortunate children. The refugee resettlement effort for the Mariel boatlift people was named “Operation Red, White and Blue.” Fort Sill is federal property and is the concern of the post commander, not the governor.

Kenneth F. Wainner, Edmond

Wainner is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.