As the grandson of a Jewish woman who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s, I am appalled by the actions of so many governors (including our own) and House members who want to bar Syrian immigrants from our country and our state. These voices echo the calls to keep out Jewish refugees during the 1930s for fear that Nazi spies would infiltrate our society. My grandmother made it through, but thousands of others perished because we were too fearful to welcome them on our shores. We must not repeat those mistakes.

These are indeed times that try our souls, and it is precisely during such times that our character is revealed. Americans are a compassionate people, and welcoming immigrants is central to who we are. We must send a clear message that these refugees are welcome here, and that we will do what we can to help them establish new lives in our country. We must stand up for our principles in the face of terrorism and not give in to the temptations of fear and hatred.

Let us welcome the Syrian refugees and show them that our nation’s strength lies not just in our military or in our economy but in our spirit.

Chris Myers Asch, Hallowell

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