My Faith Calls on Me to Stand with Immigrant Youth:
From the earliest days of my religious education as a Catholic and formation as a Holy Cross Sister, my faith has taught and called me to welcome the stranger, stand with the vulnerable and love my neighbor.
Because of those values, I am deeply disturbed by recent anti-immigrant sentiment espoused by our national leaders. It sends an unwelcoming and mean-spirited message of exclusion by turning our backs on immigrants who are our valued community members. In most cases, the children of the immigrants are the ones who suffer the most in our system through no fault of their own.
Right now, the administration is considering terminating the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would put the nearly 800,000 young people, whom the program allows to work and live legally in the United States, at risk of deportation. Ten states threatened to sue the President if he did not terminate the DACA program by Sept. 5. Despite President Trump’s prior statements that he supports these dreamers, the administration has signaled that they may not defend the program in court and could dismantle the program in light of these legal challenges.
Dismantling the DACA program runs counter to my beliefs as a Wisconsinite and person of faith, which is why I am calling on President Trump to keep DACA intact and continue to allow young people to apply for this important program. I also call on members of Congress, especially Representative Sean Duffy and Senators Baldwin and Johnson, to do everything in their power to protect DACA, including urging the administration to continue the program and supporting legislation that will ensure that undocumented youth are able to stay in the United States and pursue a path to citizenship.
The young people who would be targeted for deportation without DACA are part of our country’s future. To take away their futures, is simply wrong. In addition, it continues to stroke a climate of fear, rather than cultivating compassion, truth and understanding.
We need our elected leaders to protect DACA and to support legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship and a permanent solution for young people and their families to remain in the country they call home.
That is the right thing, and the American thing, to do.
Sister Pat Cormack
Provincial, Holy Cross Sisters
Burn Barrels are Illegal
Despite the fact that burn barrels are unhealthy, unnecessary, unneighborly and usually used illegally, many rural residents are still using burn barrels for household refuse, even though other options for garbage disposal are available.
Burn barrels are unhealthy. Smoke from burning garbage contains toxic compounds, often including dioxin, furans and other carcinogens. If you or anyone you love has had or has cancer, this should be a matter of great concern to you. How much is your health and the health of your loved ones worth?
Burn barrels are unnecessary. Recycling centers are available to all of us, and have convenient drop-off hours. Rural waste collection service is available, and one may elect garbage pick-up weekly or bi-weekly, at minimal cost. Lincoln County Landfill is open daily, and the tipping charge for a truckload of household garbage is less than $20. How much is your health worth?
Burn barrels are unneighborly. You probably don’t enjoy the stink of burning garbage, and neither do your neighbors.
Burn barrels are usually used illegally. Open burning of household solid wastes is prohibited by law.
Wisconsin DNR Regulations state the following: “Using burn barrels is an unhealthy (and sometimes illegal) method of garbage disposal. It is illegal to burn asphalt, garbage, metal, petroleum products, plastics, rubber and painted or treated wood. These materials release toxic pollutants into the air and are recognized as a significant health risk and public nuisance. Burning recyclable paper or cardboard is also prohibited.”
Most household waste can be recycled, and the remainder can be taken to the landfill. Even that rusty old burn barrel can be recycled. Let’s let burn barrels be a remnant of the past.
Catherine G. LeMay-Brown