By Jueseppi B.
WE ARE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS
Nearly everyone in America has an immigration story to share. Tell us yours.
“Unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it.”
A couple weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a group of community leaders and President Obama here at the White House. Before the discussion kicked off, one of the women in attendance handed me a letter. It was written by her dad, a 90 year old college professor from Cleveland.
He was born in China in 1923, and he came to the United States with $24 in his pocket. Two years later, he’d earned a masters in electrical engineering. Five years after that, he had completed his PhD. In 55 years of teaching, he’s trained 180 graduate students.
“I fulfilled my dream,” he wrote in that letter. “I light up a spot on the great nation of opportunity.”
His letter reminded me of my dad, who came here from Bolivia to study engineering, and lived his American dream in Michigan, where I was born. So many Americans have stories like these, and they’re all powerful. Each personal history is an important asset in the fight to reform the immigration system. To win the debate, we need more than statistics in a fact sheet or the rhetoric in a press release. Every time we put a face on the push for reform, we take an abstract concept and makes it real.
Which means your stories are crucial in this effort. Join the conversation now:
Thanks so much!
Share your own story to help remind Washington that we need an immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
View featured immigration stories:
“My family and I came to America in 1983. I was 17, my sisters 15 and 13, and we feel very lucky to be here. We left Romania because of the oppressive Communist regime, and my parents wanted to give us, their children, a chance to be free to make our own destiny. With patience and hard work, we now lead productive and happy lives. I feel that it is important for people to follow the laws of this beautiful country.
Those who came here illegally looking for work to help their families, if they lived here peacefully and have worked hard, and have contributed positively to this society, maybe a path to citizenship should be offered. It should be earned. My mom worked 3 jobs with long hours for food and to provide a roof over our heads. We focused on getting an education, and it helped us go from having nothing to being successful. We overcame personal and financial hardships by sticking together and being there for one another. All good people deserve the same chance and opportunities, and I wish President Obama the best of luck at reforming immigration.”
“I came here as an undocumented child in 1980 from Buenos Aires, Argentina. My father was a Travel Agent, my mother a teacher. I studied Audio Engineer and became a 13 time grammy award winning producer of Latin Music. Making Millions for American based multi-national corporations. Employing hundreds of musicians. I became a citizen last year. My brother is the President of a major real estate holdings company.
My sister is a psychologist at an arts college. We were all undocumented children. Under Reagan, in the 80′s there was a path to citizenship. There isn’t one now, not for children that didn’t come here by choice. Not for adults that are trying to find a better life for their loved ones. How many Grammy winners, CEO’s, psychologists are being denied by the current immigration policies?”
“What strikes me about immigration, especially about the European immigration at the turn of the 20th century; my family’s journey, was how much our ancestors also received immigration backlash. We would do well to remember our past and allow others to share in the opportunity this nation provides. It is on the backs of those same European immigrants that our nation boomed and prospered, and the same is true of immigrants today.
My children are first generation Americans with their ancestry in Korea and they are only going to add to the beauty of our country.”
President Obama is committed to common-sense reform that fixes our broken immigration system.
Remember: Unless you are one of the first Americans, your family came from somewhere else. Where does your immigration story begin? Share your family’s immigration story.
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