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Bush's Policy on the Haitian Refugees

Regarding the front page article "Bush's Tough Haitian Policy Comes Under Fire," May 28: President Bush was correct to adopt a stricter policy covering Haitian boat people. The administration sets a ceiling on the number of refugees it will admit each year. Like any other settled, populated country, the US can absorb only so many refugees at a time without endangering its own economic, social, and environmental well-being.

Strong evidence persists that most of the boat people are economic migrants, not true political refugees. Their mass departures from Haiti were making headlines well before the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Even if Mr. Aristide were back in power, the mass exodus would continue unless Haiti's poverty and overcrowding were remedied.

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Mr. Bush's policy is not racist. One reason "refugees from Cuba, Nicaragua, and El Salvador were given much easier entry" is that the US had enacted laws specifically for these groups.

The administration took a courageous stand in the face of opposition from liberal quarters. It should now work all the harder to help the freedom fighters in Haiti and elsewhere. Their victories will ultimately be in our own best interests. Jim Hastings, Boston

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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