Lev Golinkin’s Oct. 22 op-ed, “My mom, an immigrant, is vetted every day,” told a story that is unfortunately too common. He described how his refugee mother had a successful career as a psychiatrist in Ukraine, only to work as a night security guard in the United States. Mr. Golinkin’s mom is not alone. In fact, nearly 2 million immigrants and refugees who come to the United States with a college education and in-demand skills are unemployed or working survival jobs. The barriers to meaningful employment for refugees — even those who are highly educated and have specialized skills — are vast and often insurmountable without support.
We need to help refugees and immigrants find their place in the U.S. workforce because, as a country, we have as much to gain from them as they do from us. As Mr. Golinkin put it, “Immigrants respect and cherish this land, not because they’re immigrants, but in spite of it.” We are a nation built by immigrants. Let’s draw on this proud heritage and help refugees fully integrate into the economic and social fabric of this country they now call home.
Nikki Cicerani, New York
The writer is president and chief executive of Upwardly Global.
Lev Golinkin’s op-ed about his mother’s immigration from Ukraine and her loving acceptance of the United States was a mean-spirited criticism of this country and its treatment of immigrants. Despite the many ways Mr. Golinkin’s mother was hindered by her non-native status, such as her inability to practice psychiatry, she loves America.
I suggest Mr. Golinkin remember the Statue of Liberty’s welcome to immigrants: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” He just might better understand his mother’s loyalty to and love of America.
Jim Pembroke, Washington
Lev Golinkin’s tribute to his mother brought tears to my eyes and rekindled memories of my own mother, who came to this country in the 1920s. In 1953, she took my brother and me to visit relatives in Germany. Her first act upon returning home to the United States was to kneel and kiss the ground of her beloved Vereinigten Staaten.
Alfred Duncker, Gaithersburg