Letter: Asylum-seekers create strain on Portland

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I was puzzled by the city manager stating that Portland taxpayers must deal with increased demand from indigent asylum seekers. Why?

Tax-exempt religious organizations take people from poor and violent countries and bring them here because they have suffered trauma and abuse. This qualifies them for mental health and social services. A host of tax-exempt nonprofits exist solely to secure these people the maximum benefits available. They obtain housing paid out of a government check, free food, and free medical care. They need never see an oil bill, property tax bill, or a paycheck.

There are tens of millions of people from poor and violent countries who would qualify for services here. Why “must” taxpayers deal with an endlessly increasing demand for more housing and services from people brought here because Portland will pay to meet that demand?

Shrinking paychecks and sharply rising costs require many local families to lower the thermostat. They will now pay more taxes to maintain state-mandated minimum temperatures in new subsidized housing. I’ve go to keep my heat low so I can afford to pay for someone else to be warmer than me? I don’t understand why that’s a demand anyone must meet.

Parker Gardner
Portland

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