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Letters to the Editor

Lincoln Daily News publishes letters to the editor as they are received.
 The letters are not edited in content and do not necessarily reflect 
the views of Lincoln Daily News.

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Letters to the Editor
Lincoln Daily News
601 Keokuk St.
Lincoln, IL  62656

Letters must include the writer's name, telephone number, and postal address or e-mail address (we will not publish address or phone number information). Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to edit letters to reduce their size or to correct obvious errors. Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to reject any letter for any reason. Lincoln Daily News will publish as many acceptable letters as space allows.

Illinois a leader in addressing immigrant and refugee needs

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Dear Editor:

The Illinois Department of Human Services invites the public to celebrate Immigrant and Refugee Week Oct. 18-22 and United Nations Day Oct. 24. It is a time to honor our ancestors and welcome the thousands of new Americans who make Illinois their home each year. Their cultural diversity, indefatigable work ethic and commitment to family strengthen us as a state and as a nation.

More than 125,000 refugees from 45 countries have reclaimed their lives in Illinois. Through the department's partnership with the private sector, a cost-effective comprehensive range of culturally responsive, community-based services -- including English language training and job placement, health and mental health, youth and senior programs -- have facilitated the refugees' adaptation to life in America. In a remarkably short time most have become economically self-sufficient and socially self-reliant.

Illinois continues to welcome those who seek rescue from persecution. The most recent example is in Darfur, Sudan, where more than 1 million refugees have been forced from their homes into squalid camps. As a result of this tragedy, more than 300 "Lost Boys" from Sudan have come to Illinois and are thriving, productive members of our community.

We salute our partners in resettlement throughout the state. With the support of churches, synagogues and hundreds of volunteers, the resettlement agencies perform extraordinary work in welcoming new refugee arrivals.

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Twenty percent of Illinois residents are immigrants or the children of immigrants. More than 600,000 are naturalized citizens who earned their citizenship with pride and dedication. The Illinois Department of Human Services Refugee and Immigrant Citizenship Initiative, through the efforts of 35 schools and community-based organizations, has assisted more than 100,000 foreign-born from 106 countries with learning English, studying U.S. history and valuing civic participation.

Under the leadership of Gov. Blagojevich, the naturalization endeavor will expand dramatically through the New Americans Initiative. The collaboration of IDHS, the Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights will enable 20,000 additional individuals per year to achieve the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

IDHS is proud of its role in making Illinois a leader nationwide in addressing the needs of refugees and immigrants. It is not often cited, but 1 million residents left Illinois in the past 20 years. They have been replaced by immigrants who have sustained our labor force, contributed billions of dollars in taxes and enriched the cultural diversity of our state. Join us in celebration.

Grace Hou
Assistant Secretary
Illinois Department of Human Services

(Posted 10-16-04)

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Lincoln AMVETS alerts public to scam       Send a link to a friend

It has recently come to the attention of the local Lincoln AMVETS Post 71 that a scam is being solicited in our area under the name of "American Veterans," via the telephone.

The AMVETS name is a shortened version of the true name of "American Veterans," and we wish to convey to one and all that the AMVETS are not soliciting for funds in this or any other area.

The group that is soliciting is claiming to help homeless veterans. They are calling homes and requesting credit card donations. The president of the group is apparently Robert Friend Jr. If people check their caller ID, it may read "Safety Programs-717-234-2635." This is a nonworking number.

Robert Friend is the president of American Veterans Coalition, based in Gig Harbor, Wash. The website with his information is http://www.american-veterans.org/OnlineRequestAssistance.html. Another report on this group, which has several aliases, may be found at http://www.give.org/reports/nondissql.asp?798.

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This is not an official VA-recognized veterans service organization.

In response to a recent inquiry, a Lincoln citizen was advised not to donate to this organization even though they answered her question with yes, some of the funds will be returned to the local AMVETS organization. None have been received, nor will they be received.

AMVETS Post 71 recommends that if you receive such a call, just hang up the telephone.

Arnold Haak
Lincoln AMVETS Post 71

(Posted 10-15-04)

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