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  1. Opinion

E-Verify could scare people away from coronavirus health care

Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.
Hawaii state Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for testing a sample for coronavirus at the department's laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii. [AUDREY MCAVOY | AP]

Coronavirus trumps E-Verify

E-Verify

Until coronavirus is contained, Gov. Ron DeSantis should urge Senate President Bill Galvano and House Speaker Jose Oliva to put on hold the divisive — and unnecessary — E-Verify legislation he has been pushing.

E-Verify and other politically motivated, anti-immigrant efforts instill fear of public officials in vulnerable communities, and now is the time we need to be encouraging trust in our public health personnel and institutions.

As a practicing physician in the Tampa Bay area, I am dealing with patient concerns about the threat of coronavirus. Floridians are being exposed to coronavirus, and it is critically important that patients feel free and safe to seek medical attention. From a public-health perspective, this will help with containment as more ill patients can be identified via testing and then isolated. And from a patient-care perspective, we know the elderly and those with chronic diseases are at higher risk of severe disease and even death from the virus. Fear of deportation should not impact whether an ill patient seeks care.

We must make sure all Floridians work together to face the global threat of coronavirus. We cannot afford to have a large part of our population afraid to seek help in this difficult time, potentially endangering the health of millions of Florida residents and visitors from all over the world.

This is not about politics. This is about the health and safety of all Floridians. Coronavirus is rapidly spreading, the number of cases continues to increase, and the governor has appropriately declared a public health state of emergency. He should ensure his words match his decisive actions and publicly request the Legislature stop advancing fear-inspiring, anti-immigrant measures like the E-Verify mandate until coronavirus is under control.

The time to put patients over politics is now.

Dr. Mona Mangat, St. Petersburg

The writer is former board chair of Doctors for America.

It’s not ‘We, the Legislature’

Legislature blocks voters at every turn | Editorial, March 5

It’s absolutely laughable — and sad — that the Legislature is trying to make it more difficult for citizens to get initiatives on the ballot. The disdain that these so-called “lawmakers” have for the people is disgusting. Someone needs to remind them that they work for us, not the other way around. It just galls me how they think that they know better. We need better representation in Tallahassee that respects the people and is truly there for the people of the state, not there for the corporate interests or lobbyists. We need a drastic change.

Alan Roberts, Largo

The reality experienced by Bernie Sanders’ followers

Salvation for sensible voters | Column, March 5

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at his campaign headquarters in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring) [WILSON RING | AP]

For all of George Will’s pedantic rhetoric, he misses the reality experienced by Bernie Sanders’ followers. George Will apparently does not know or speak with anyone in their 20s or 30s. These young people, many with college degrees, cannot afford health care or housing on their own. They bought into the American dream of college, and then a good job, a house and family. But finding a well-paying job has eluded them. Bernie is not unpatriotic. He cares deeply about those who have not been able to afford the American dream. George Will needs to move into this century and open his eyes.

Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg

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