Two letters to the Washington Post make an interesting postscript to my post the other day about Iraqi refugees and the Post’s article on Nazaar Joodi, the refugee who was headed for a homeless shelter. They’re so good, in fact, that I’m making this separate post about them. (Are there too many “posts” in that sentence?) I’m going to put them both here in their entirety because they’re short and well worth reading.
The first letter is from Gary Kelch of Springfield, Virginia:
When I read the article about the Iraqi refugee Nazaar Joodi [“For Once-Celebrated Iraqi, Life in U.S. One of Lost Hope,” front page, May 10], it was obvious to me that he, like many immigrants to the United States and even a significant number of our native-born citizens, has a fundamental misunderstanding about the great gift this nation provides.
Our nation’s founders never intended for people to be a kept population in which citizenship alone brought wealth and prosperity. This nation provides the gift of opportunity, a safe and cooperative environment where people can strive to achieve wealth and prosperity that are not given but earned. It is a nation dependent on the success of its citizens — and not citizens who serve and are kept by the state.
Later, the article quoted Pary Karadaghi of Kurdish Human Rights Watch as saying of Iraqi refugees in general, “The ones who don’t think America owes them anything are the ones who do best.” This statement applies to everyone, immigrant or citizen. I imagine that Mr. Joodi had a vision of utopia when he brought his family to the United States. Well, this is a utopia but not one of streets paved with gold. It is a utopia where hard work and initiative are rewarded with achievement. With so many citizens of this great nation confused on this point, it is easy to see how a newcomer would also be confused.
Should Mr. Joodi stay in America, it will be difficult for him to succeed but not impossible. What he makes of the opportunity depends on him and no one else.
The second, from Gregory Davis of Oakton, Virginia, says:
As a small-business owner of 22 years, I would gladly hire hardworking individuals such as Mr. Joodi, as would many other small businesses. But the economic system in place must be changed to encourage such efforts. At present, we use subcontractors wherever possible to avoid matching Social Security and Medicare costs, unemployment insurance and other burdensome employee expenses.
Why not allow employers to match the amounts given by county programs and hire people such as Mr. Joodi, offering employment, training and a future? For this to be done, programs would need to be put in place that would compensate employers and exempt us from the excessive costs.
Doesn’t this make more sense than using tax money for temporary solutions that so often end sadly, such as with Mr. Joodi and thousands of others?
Bravo to both.