Salvadorean refugees

Congressman Joe Moakley makes an elequent plea for providing sanctuary to the victims of El Salvador's civil war in his opinion and commentary article, ``Let's provide Salvadorean refugees a temporary haven'' (Feb. 12). No one, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform, is without sympathy for innocent civilians who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of that conflict. I find, however, many flaws in Congressman Moakley's contention that displaced Salvadoreans be granted asylum under the extended voluntary departure (EVD) program.

Violence in one's native country should not be an acceptable reason for admission to the United States. It is an unhappy fact of today's world that violence and conflict are endemic to many parts of the globe. Surely even the Congressman would not suggest offering sanctuary to everyone who could meet this criterion.

Second, there is little to indicate that an end to the guerrilla war in El Salvador is imminent. If and when conditions return to ``normal'' in that country, the people involved are likely to have established roots in the US and may not be willing to depart voluntarily.

He attempts to draw a comparison between the Salvadoreans and the situation of the Poles, Ethiopians, Afghans, and Ugandans who have been granted temporary refuge under the EVD provision. The case of El Salvador is different. El Salvador has a democratically elected government, which, although far from perfect, is trying to establish a society in which basic human rights are respected. Does the Congressman mean to imply that the government of President Duarte should be lumped in the same category with the brutal government of Soviet-occupied Afghanistan? Roger Conner, executive director Federation for American Immigration Reform Washington

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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