Purpose of column was to make us afraid of people who we do not know

To the editor:

I have to take issue with Walter Williams, whose column seeks to create misunderstanding. He stokes the fear of immigrants by suggesting that those who come here without documents bring disease and “anti-Western values.”

He notes that those who arrive though the immigration process have medical checkups and are free of disease and implies that undocumented folk are bringing health problems like “scabies, chickenpox, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and different viruses.”

He failed to mention that each year millions of foreign nationals visit the US as tourists. In 2017, between January and March, almost 16 million tourists arrived to the United States from other nations on tourist visas and annually there are 300,000,000 legal crossings from Mexico to the U.S. and back. In the first six months of 2017, foreign tourists spent some $78 billion on their visits to the United States.

Are these “legal” visitors required to get a medical clearance before coming to the U.S.? Of course not. Does Williams suggest this as a public health measure? Of course not!

His goal is not public health, but to add to a climate of fear and hatred of immigrants. Is it possible that the millions of American citizens who travel abroad each year return with illnesses they picked up in distant lands? Of course it is. Did Williams propose that sick Americans be denied access to their homes until they can receive a medical clearance? Of course not!

The purpose of Williams’ column was to make us afraid of people who we do not know who we think might be different from us. Such hate filled and fear mongering messages will become more common as the election approaches.

One can only hope that Minnesotans vote their aspirations and not their fears come November.

Jeff Kolnick