I attended the Jan. 10 hearing on the proposal to prohibit non-citizens from receiving general assistance benefits. I noted that not a single speaker said it was a great idea or even spoke to support it.

I was there on my own, though I am a member of several organizations that oppose the change, and, like most of us, I am the child of immigrants. There were moving and impressive stories, about huge obstacles overcome and successes in a new world. General assistance has provided a bridge for most of these new residents of our state, until they can get a work permit and language skills and support themselves and their families.

It is clear that the proposal plans to blow up that bridge. It is also clear how counterproductive this proposal is — that once people are on their feet, there is no stopping them. They become productive members of the community and contribute to the prosperity of the area.

We should beware of blowing up bridges — sometimes they blow up in our faces.

Joan SturmthalHallowell

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