Letter to the editor: Gaining a better understanding

Thank you for the article by Claire Corkins pointing out a disturbing disparity between Ukrainian refugees and other refugees.

One evident disparity is the fact that the U.S.A. has to date taken in virtually no Ukrainian refugees since the invasion began. In fact, President Biden did not reveal a plan to bring in the 100,000 Ukrainians until about a month after the invasion started. 100 thousand people is about one twentieth of the number already taken in by Poland, a much smaller nation by no means as prosperous as the U.S.A. Even Ireland, a country smaller than the state of Maine, has already brought in 10,000 Ukrainians.

Our nation’s immigration system, much of it inherited from previous administrations, contains many inequities and is urgently in need of reform. Hopefully this fact does not prevent us from providing needed help to the refugees from Putin’s war. Despite inaccurate media reports to the contrary, Ukraine has one of the most diverse populations in Eastern Europe, with speakers of two major languages, Ukrainian and Russian, as well as Catholics and Orthodox Christians, Europe’s fourth-largest Jewish community, established small Islamic and Hispanic communities, and before the war, over 200,000 citizens of other countries. Ukraine has hosted and provided university scholarships to many students from Africa and Asia. The U.S.A. should consider helping these students to continue their studies in American universities.

Many refugees from Africa, Asia and Latin America have fled harrowing conditions of criminality, terror and starvation. Climate change will make those problems worse. However, what is happening to the Ukrainian people and nation appears to be an attempt to brutally obliterate a nation. Ukrainian president Zelensky has stated that this is a war not only against his country, but also against the democratic values we share with many other nations.

In working towards a more just and humane immigration policy, we should not exclude the Ukrainian refugees

Robert H. Anderson


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