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Coming to America

August 29, 2009

Re "Their dreams turn to despair," Column One, Aug. 24

To the two Iraqi families featured in your article, I want to say this to one: I'm sorry your expected status of privilege was not honored in this country. It doesn't work that way here. Perhaps you can try your luck in another country.

To the other: Welcome to my country. I'm sure your family will get the better life you deserve soon. And I know your little daughter will be a great American someday -- maybe a U.S. senator?

Hector Santos

Los Angeles

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I read the Column One article with a sense of deja vu and great interest.

When I was 15, I went through almost the same thing, escaping from communist Vietnam, living away from my parents.

I think being young and naive and not used to a privileged life helped me to be more optimistic about life here than the Iraqis in the article, who feel that it is "humiliating" to live in the U.S., "the country that occupied [her] country and ruined everything."

My puzzlement was that no one forced her and her family to come, did they?

I do understand their feelings of despair and helplessness in assimilating; I saw it in my parents and in my many aunts and uncles.

My advice: Take heart and chin up. Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter in America, but this country is the best in giving you first opportunities (for your children) and second chances (for you). People before you have done it. You can too.

Vincent Hoang

Riverside

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