In our first letters stack of 2019, perspectives on the Oregon Lottery and the federal immigration system.

Immigrant children should not die in custody

We have just learned about the Christmas Day death of an 8-year old immigrant boy in federal custody. This child, like many others, came as a refugee from Guatemala with his family seeking hope.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a child forced to become a refugee in Egypt because of political turmoil, we should reflect on God's call to use to welcome immigrants.

We need comprehensive immigration reform. We need expanding humanitarian efforts to assist refugees and asylum-seekers. We need additional foreign aid to support struggling nations. We should greet refugees not with soldiers but with doctors.

This is not the first child to die under U.S. custody. Such deaths are unnecessary and potentially violations of human rights. At the very least, these deaths are sins against God.

The Rev. Chuck Currie

Director, Center for Peace and Spirituality

Pacific University

Lottery games ruin people's lives

If you have a device or machine that knowingly steals money, should that be allowed to prey on vulnerable members of our society under the guise of entertainment?

That is what the 21st-century slot machine is, whether run by the state of Oregon, or a Native American casino, these so-called slot machines or "VLTs," as the Oregon Lottery likes to call them, which stands for video lottery terminals are — a legal license to steal.

Talk to any game designer, and they will tell you the concept of these machines and the way the software is written is to let people think they're winning when they're actually losing, thus creating a euphoric sensation in an addict's mind, until the machines designed to create an exact return on investment for the lottery or the casino breaks the player.

These modern-day slot machines should be banned and removed from bars, restaurants and casinos. They steal money from the poor — which has been proven time and time again — along with the addicts in our society and folks that are just plain bad at math.

Just because it's technically legal doesn't make it right. Ban slot machines that ruin peoples lives every day in our state and across America; it's criminal activity. It's legal thievery hiding behind the concept of entertainment.

Go to any Gamblers Anonymous meeting and see the destructive nature of what a slot machine in this day and age really does. It destroys lives and families, yet the lottery will tell you all the good it does.

Totally hogwash.

James Maass, Beaverton

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