Readers weigh in on Neil Swidey’s immigration column and a Connections piece on language.
When Neil Swidey writes a column (“My Immigrant Forebears Were Dreamers, and Yours Were, Too,” Perspective, September 24), I know I’m in for a good read. The article about his family and its history was fascinating. I was so taken by the subject and the history of ethnic immigration to this country that I have been on a tear to read more about it. It’s a wonderful adventure. Thanks for getting me started.
Steve Ganak / Belmont
Our safety and democratic institutions brought us legions of refugees from bitter lands. But an added propellant came from capitalist America in the late 19th and early 20th century, as corrupt “labor agents,” flashing free travel tickets and cash provided by the “robber baron” generation, lured desperate young men to work here. The Immigration Act of 1924 imposed drastic restrictions to keep out Asians, and Southern and Eastern Europeans. Had my Greek grandmother, escaping certain genocide in 1914 Ottoman Turkey, not been allowed here, I would not be here, nor my wife, children, and grandchildren. Three generations, expunged from American history.
Michael Kalafatas / Wayland
Both of my parents are immigrants from Galway, Ireland. My father came over in 1955, joined the military, and spent time in an armored division in West Germany. I’m not sure he would be able to come over now. He was a shop clerk, no education beyond what could be considered 10th grade.
Sean F. Heneghan / Melrose
I have worked with a number of immigrants through a women’s literacy center in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is a long, fraught, confusing, and often unfair process to get a green card, to become a citizen. It takes years, with false starts and incorrect direction fouling the way. Lea Sylvestro / Easton, Connecticut
Loubna El Amine (Connections, September 24) brought me back to my childhood relationship with my paternal grandmother, who immigrated from Lebanon with her husband about 100 years ago. I used to tease her when she addressed me as sito (Arabic for grandmother). She would laugh and give me a hug. Now I think of her every evening, as I eat dinner at the dining room table I inherited from her.
Marilyn Sabbagh / Black Bedford
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