Aiding Afghan Refugees in the U.S.

Aiding Afghan Refugees in the U.S. 1
Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Afghan Allies Deserve Our Help,” by Farah Stockman (Opinion, Dec. 20):

In discussing the new Biden administration program allowing “ordinary Americans” to privately sponsor resettlement, Ms. Stockman is correct in saying that “Afghans are known for their hospitality.” I know this firsthand because in August my husband and I became hosts to a special immigrant visa family of five from Afghanistan. They were resettled by Catholic Charities, their official sponsor.

The father (who risked his life protecting American soldiers) and his family are living in a rental unit we own. They are no longer in their 90-day resettlement period, but the charity did help them get the documentation necessary to secure work, attend school and get medical care. My husband and I have been paying most of their bills and providing them with advice. When visiting, we are treated with great respect and wonderful teas. We have come to love them.

The family will make it in America — my husband and I are committed to that. I’m sure that’s also true of others like us, acting as private sponsors. The outpouring of support from friends and neighbors has been remarkable.

Cynthia Sitcov
Arlington, Va.

To the Editor:

With the large number of homeless people already in my community, I would not sponsor an Afghan refugee — or any refugee, for that matter. Here in Lansing, Mich., there is a seven-month waiting list for emergency temporary public housing. Homeless shelters are full, or have been “stopping intake” because of Covid outbreaks. Many abused adults and children have no safe shelter. Yet our city is set to welcome hundreds of Afghans. That will put further pressure on the public housing lists, which include local veterans of the Afghan war.

I do what I can. I took an abused woman and her abused child into my home. I helped her and her child get into school, and helped her get a job and find housing for which I hope she will get a Section 8 voucher. She has been able to get grants to help cover rent and utilities for the next seven months, but if it doesn’t come through, she and her child will very likely be homeless.

We need to care more for the people already in our country. As Ms. Stockman says, many refugees are poor and on the edge of homelessness years later. How dare we promise to care for them and give them false hope when we cannot even really care for those already here?

Shelley Jeltema
Lansing, Mich.

To the Editor:

Farah Stockman points out real advantages of private sponsorship for Afghan refugees. But ultimately, personal, neighborhood or broader community support can go only so far. Afghan doctors, lawyers, accountants and teachers without U.S. credentials are forced to take jobs well below their skills. Less educated arrivals get consigned to low-wage jobs.

Just as the U.S. has helped millions of Americans recover from the trauma of war through a chance to go to school under the G.I. Bill, Congress should consider a G.I. Bill for the Afghans who fought and worked alongside Americans during 20 years of war. Access to community colleges and public universities would go a long way toward helping them rebuild their lives and reimagine their futures. It would speed integration into their new country and enhance their ability to contribute to it.

Desaix Myers
Arlington, Va.
The writer, a U.S. Agency for International Development retiree, is helping to resettle Afghans.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Supreme Court, Weaponized,” by Linda Greenhouse (Opinion, Sunday Review, Dec. 19):

Dismissing today’s Supreme Court justices as drones doing the bidding of politicians is a cheap shot. Critics of Supreme Court decisions said the same thing of the justices who signed off on many divisive opinions, including Roe v. Wade.

Agree or disagree with deeply politically divisive decisions, they were written by justices doing their level best to do right by the law. Of course decisions such as these carry political implications. Of course they were written by humans with political leanings. But that does not turn Supreme Court legal reasoning into a political charade.

There are plenty of politically charged legal issues that politicians want decided their way. But justices root their decisions in legal reasoning, not political favoritism. Donald Trump knows that all too well: Justices he nominated to the bench did not lift a finger to help his election fraud claim.

Luke L. Dauchot
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
The writer is a lawyer.

To the Editor:

As a retired lawyer, I totally agree with Linda Greenhouse’s essay “The Supreme Court Gaslights Its Way to the End of Roe” (Opinion, Dec. 4). It raises the question: Why do these (admittedly) very smart conservative justices have to resort to gaslighting rather than rigorous legal analysis to reach their decision?

The answer, of course, was given by Justice Sonia Sotomayor: They are acting as partisans, not judges. The conservative justices — at least the last three — were “hired” because of their previous anti-abortion views, and now is the time to “bring home the bacon.”

Their only real struggle, as Ms. Greenhouse notes, is how to explain their decision to overturn Roe, which gives rise to their gaslighting. Only by laying the thickest of smoke screens will they be able to convince themselves (but not us) that they are acting as judges, not as politicians in robes.

If, on the other hand, they were to do as Chief Justice John Roberts famously said and just be umpires and call balls and strikes, the legal analysis, and their jobs, would be much easier. What has changed in the law and/or facts to justify overturning Roe? Honest, simple answer: not a thing. Next case.

Jim Metzler
Pittsford, N.Y.