Love America? Thank an Immigrant.

In first grade I got in an argument with a substitute teacher. We were learning about Thanksgiving and Pilgrims. I raised my hand and said, very proudly, “My great-great-great-great grandma was a Pilgrim.”

“Yes, all of our ancestors were pilgrims.” He replied.

I got frustrated and tried to explain that my grandma was a REAL pilgrim, a came over on the Mayflower Pilgrim – not some second tier came over later pilgrim.

Looking back now, I realize that my teacher was right. It doesn’t matter that one of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower. That doesn’t make me any more American than anyone else. All of us who are not of Native American descent have pilgrim blood. We are all children of exiles, refugees, wanderers and criminals.

We are a nation descended from Unwanteds.

We are a nation of proud rejects.

We are a nation of ragamuffins striving to prove our worth, our value, to ourselves and to the world.

We are a nation of immigrants – of pilgrims.

Pilgrim means, simply, one who comes from afar. Often on a holy mission.

When I look at today’s modern immigrants to our country, I see that they too are pilgrims – looking for a better life, seeking the holy shores of “Freedomland”, seeking the same opportunity to pursue their happiness that our ancestors sought when they came, however many years or generations ago that occurred.

We owe so much of what makes this nation great to pilgrims, to immigrants, to people looking for the opportunity to build a better life for themselves – and therefore, for all the people around them as well. Because, when you build up your home, you help build up your neighborhood, your community, your state and nation.

As each new wave of immigrants has graced our shores, they have enriched the whole, bringing new foods, new ideas, new words, new ways of thinking, new solutions to old problems.

I know that among some groups there is a desire to seal off our borders and stop the flow, and I wonder if they remember that their family too once came to this country looking for asylum, packing only hope.

How was their family discriminated against when they arrived? What has their family contributed since? What did they bring with them from the old country? How have they woven their story into the fabric of our nation to make it better, stronger and more able to solve the problems of the modern world we’ve created?

Do they really believe that we are finished, that we don’t need fresh blood, fresh ideas, new perspectives?

This Independence Day, I want to take a moment to thank all the immigrants who have made this country what it is and to voice my opinion that we are not done yet. We still have much to learn. We still have room to grow in culture and knowledge. We still need to serve as a beacon of hope, a place where people can come to pursue their happiness and live in liberty to make not just their own lives better, but the whole world better.

Today, I want to thank the immigrants of the past who created a nation founded on the ideals of liberty, justice and equality for all.

I want to thank the immigrants of the present who continue to challenge us to hold to those ideals, and to truly extend them to ALL.

And I want to thank the immigrants of the future who, I hope, will help us finally realize that freedom for all does not diminish the freedom of some, that equality for all does not diminish the equality of a few, that, in fact, there is no freedom until we are equal – all of us, men and women, no matter the color of our skin, the accent of our words, or the sex of the person we love.

On this Fourth of July, I want to thank the immigrants for reminding us of the truth that ALL PEOPLE are created equal, endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, no matter their place of birth or the circumstances of their lives.

ImmigrantAmerica

Your grandmother was an immigrant too!

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180 Comments

Filed under Rant

180 responses to “Love America? Thank an Immigrant.

  1. Bee

    Ahh, I love this! My family came over here at various times – one branch goes back to the 1680’s in Virginia, and my grandpa’s family came over in the 1920’s from Denmark via Canada. One branch was Irish in the “Irish Need Not Apply” era – it’s easy to forget now that the “undesirables” label has been slapped on so many different people groups that are now an uncontested part of our country. Hurrah for the melting pot!

    • Bee- I know, we forget so easily that our ancestors were also undesired, ridiculed, discriminated against. Many of them were also “illegal” or “undocumented”, yet they were ultimately given a chance to add their story to the story of our nation.
      We need more openness, not less.

    • My family was Irish on both sides. My dad’s family came first and it took to my generation to get beyond some of those issues. My mother’s family is only two generations from Ireland, via Canada. They became more Canadian than anything and my mother and her immediate family came to the U.S.

  2. How quickly we all forget… Thanks for sharing.

  3. Reblogged this on Tangible Aftertaste and commented:
    Yes. The United States was founded and populated by foreigners. Sure, lets call them immigrants, that IS the socially correct term.
    The people that make this nation are from all nations, but unless the people can quit trying to force personal tradition upon their neighbors, OR exclude nationalities from everyday life or functions.
    Furthermore, those coming to this country need to do it LEGALLY, the steps should be the same for everyone, yet instead, the good ole USA is giving away drivers licenses to illegals, so they can go to work.
    They call it Racial profiling when you look at a gang of folks dressed suspiciously, and hiding in shadows. Seriously, WHAT good deed could they be up to?
    The courts, and government CAUSE racisim to be spawned at every corner of our society.
    They even say this country was built on Christianity, and God… 2 things that disgust me the most, brainwash the most people, and cause the most harm.
    I am convinced that if you were to remove religion, & government from society. there would slowly be a change for the better.
    We could truly find a peace between ourselves.

    • Let us not forget our ancestors did not come here legally. They took land that others owned…..

      • Aah, but our ancestors came here for a new life, one promised By God, or Greed.
        God promised a new land, free for the taking.
        Greed promised a new land free for the taking.
        Now here we are surrounded by ignorance and stupidity thinking still have the right to take what we think we deserve.

        Are you aware that humans are the only species on planet earth that pays for food and shelter.
        That’s not nature’s design.

    • Remove religion and government from society?… and be at the mercy of the likes of you?

      • Hahahahahaha
        That’s messed up, but your entitled to your own mess.
        I stand for freedom and equality.
        Religion and government seek to year that down in favor of socialism.
        Be spiritual and be free, not to rely on religion to make you do what you’re told, feel the way your supposed, say what you should,.
        Someone who understand spiritually is happy, content, and friendly, not because some god or book dictates, but because the heart wills it to be.

    • The problem is that we’ve made it nearly impossible to come over legally so that the people who need it the most cannot achieve it. We wonder why people are skulking in the shadows, it’s because we’ve put them there.
      As for allowing them to work – thank capitalism for that, there are so very many jobs that most Americans won’t do anymore or the people offering them prefer not to pay even minimum wage – those jobs are left to the undocumented immigrants. When we try to close that loop, those jobs go unfilled and that work goes undone to everyone’s detriment.
      Ask a few Georgia farmers about it, they’ll tell you what happens when you start creating policy that only American with papers can work in the fields – no one shows up to work!

    • Force traditions on their neighbors? Ummm I think it would be helpful to remember what is happening to the native americans right now.

      • Yes – we need to examine not only what is happening now, but also what has been done throughout this nation’s history.
        It is something not enough people are educated about – myself included, I have done some research, but there are still many gaps in my knowledge. I’ll do what I can to get up to speed and share what I learn in a future post.

        • I actually enjoyed your post. It was a fresh and new perspective. I thought I was commenting to … ? who was saying that immigrants are forcing their views on their neighbors. While I absolutely agree with your view on immigrants i think it is important to realize what the pilgrims did to the native americans and what ‘americans’ are continuing to do to them. I look forward to reading more of your stuff!! All the best!

          • Miss Molly

            Thank you! I wasn’t sure how to approach that topic… I am often dumbfounded by the rhetoric of those who claim that certain groups are not “American”… I am a visitor on this land even though my family has been here for five generations and I was born an American citizen.. The constant haranguing with “illegal immigration” does not account for the fact that borders are imposed upon the indigenous people’s and often separate families who have lived in geographic areas for thousands of years prior to colonization (and oppression and discrimination).

            Thank you, again, for the reminder that we should not and cannot forget what the founding of this great county has done, and continues to do to our indigenous people’s.

      • Thanks! I look forward to diving deeper into the complexities of this nation! Welcome to the journey 🙂

      • And what are YOU doing about it??
        Besides complaining?
        Astounds me that when it comes to racism, everyone makes excuses instead of examples .

  4. ME

    Such incredibly beautiful words that everyone should take a moment to ponder and sink in…even if you are not an American.

  5. This is wonderful, and so desperately needed. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Very nicely written and so thoughtful. If only every citizen of each nation recognised that the people who migrate to their nation make it stronger then the world would be a greater place. As a Londoner, I am glad to live in such a diverse city.

  7. If you go far enough back, all people migrated from somewhere else. We all have things in common with each other, no matter our skin color, religion or culture. The differences between us can be so fun, if we enjoy them.

  8. I’m particularly thankful to a few specific people as well: both of my grandmothers, one grandfather, one great-grandfather, and one great-grandmother and her parents. 🙂 One tailor, one seamstress, and the rest were all sharecroppers and amateur musicians. They took all the risk, I reaped all the rewards. Doesn’t seem fair when I think of it like that, but I try to “pay it forward” by being as thoughtful, fair, and compassionate to the newcoming immigrants as I can be.

    • Good points – if we look back, we see how much we have been given by the people who took the plunge. I don’t understand the desire to stop others from doing so. I wish more borders were more open, we all have much to share with each other.

  9. The beauty of America is in her diversity, and I believe that’s why she is fondly called “God’s own country”…God Himself is the grand designer of all things. Look at nature all around you and embrace the beauty in diversity. God bless America!
    Thank you so much. You made my day!

  10. I wish there were more voices of reason like you who had the sense to remember this basic fact. In some places like Israel or Canada, immigrants are taken care of and the local governments try to make them feel apart of the community. I wish we did that more here in the USA.

    • cdh3ringvps

      Illegal immigrants?

      • Well, that’s a bit more complicated. I’m not happy that adults are sneaking into the country and taking jobs that can go to hard-working Americans. However the children that are brought in with them and born in the USA were just belongings brought along. They shouoldn’t be punished for what their parents did.

      • I can’t speak for any of you – but I know a few of my ancestors would be considered illegal immigrants now. I’m glad they were able to get in then, and sad that they would be turned away now because they brought a lot to this nation.
        Rather than ask what we should do about illegal immigrants, perhaps it is worth looking at why they are coming illegally in the first place.
        (Not just why they are coming – but why they feel they cannot do it legally. I’ve spoken to many undocumented immigrants – their answers might surprise you, if you took the time to ask.)

  11. I agree, nice sentiment! I am an American ex-pat living in Australia, another nation of proud unwanteds. Unfortunately, not everyone celebrates our immigrants.

    • There seems to be a feeling os superiority, we got here first, we created this nation, now we get to keep out others. It’s a way of validating ourselves and rejecting our undesirable history I think.
      You see this a lot in history, a group of “untouchables” rises up, claims power and turns the tables creating a new group of untouchables so that they can feel as though they are more valuable.
      I’m still waiting for the revolution that creates actual equality.
      Take the civil war – none of the plantation owners who “earned” their wealth on the backs of slaves was asked to give any of it back to the people they had used, the people whose work created that wealth. Many of those wealthy people are still fighting things like the voting rights act, affirmative action, etc. They feel no debt, no obligation to redress past wrongs. They have theirs, everyone else should “work” like they did if they want some…

  12. Yes, I totally agree! I’m Canadian, and three of my four grandparents were immigrants to Canada. It frustrates me when other, newer “immigrants” (such as my friends whose parents immigrated) act like I must have no idea what it’s like to be from an immigrant family – come on. I still have a living connection to my immigrant relatives, I grew up hearing their stories, same as you! We are all immigrants, and the more we have the more beautifully colourful our society becomes!

    • I’ve had a few people try to act “more progressive than thou” telling me that they are probably the first child of immigrants I’ve ever met, and I’m like, “Well, other than my mom.” o_O

    • It’s easy for everyone to forget, most of us come from somewhere else. In America we designate “African Americans” “Latin Americans” “Asian American” “Native American” “Middle Eastern American” but we forget to designate “European Americans” Us caucasians forget to remind ourselves that we are “other” as well.

  13. Um, immigrant and pilgrim don’t mean the same thing.

    • They are not direct synonyms, no. But, I did explain why I was using them the way I was. I believe that many immigrants are pilgrims – seekers, wanderers, pioneers looking not just for new lands, but new lives.

      • Pilgrims make religious journeys. They are not often pioneers, and do not even necessarily stay. (Think Muslim pilgrims to Mecca)

      • That is one definition of pilgrim, but not the only one. Also – see above, I explained why I used pilgrim the way I did.
        Just as all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares I would argue that all immigrants are pilgrims, but not all pilgrims are immigrants.

  14. Very well said! A lot of people like to objectify immigrants, when in reality they are very real people dealing with a very real fear of deportation at any moment.

    • Even the ones who come here legally face very real and very persistent threats to their liberty, and to their safety and that of their families. We are no longer a welcoming country. I think we need to be.

  15. cdh3ringvps

    I agree with the positive tone of the OP, however, let’s remember something: Native Americans emigrated here as well. They happened to be the first to settle in various areas throughout the Americas. Native Americans were, and are, comprised of tribes without a central government

    It’s a bit disingenuous to say we stole the land when the “Indians” were here first. They fought amongst themselves and there were shifts in power and control over land. The early “United States/American” settlers just happened to be more organized, better armed, and were intent on forming governments and institutuing rule of law based on principles that favor individual freedom and liberty. Yes, there were atrocities committed. They are abhorrent and I agree that things could have been handled differently. The Native tribes committed atrocities as well, amongst themselves and also upon the European immigrants. That was then.

    Let’s fast forward to the present. The central debate here is whether or not to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already here in the United States (read: forgive the illegal act that was committed when said immigrant entered the United States without authorization). This is a complicated issue that involves economics including the effect on businesses/industry, health care, law enforcement (or lack thereof), etc.

    The bottom line is: If we grant amnesty and effectively allow illegal immigrants to become PRA’s or Citizens without any reprocussions, we are doing 2 things:

    1. Backhanding those who have struggled to do the right thing by going through the proper channels and waited YEARS, if not DECADES to obtain their United States Citizenship while paying taxes. LEGALLY. I’m third generation Italian and German. My ancestors waited in line and “checked in” when they got here, and waited for their citizenship..

    2. Throwing the Rule of Law out the door, effectively rewarding those who, blatantly broke the law by coming here the way they did. Yes, they were coming here for a better life, understood. I get it. I’d like a better life too though, but I’m not going to run out and rob a Bank of America to get it. That, like this particular method of immigration, is illegal. Period. Rewarding those who came here illegally renders every single Law on the books irrelevant. How can we ask anyone to respect the ANY Law if this occurs?

    How?

    (Sorry for the novel)

    • Novels are welcome here. I like discussion.
      As to your points – it’s awesome that your ancestors came over legally and “checked in” as you say – many of mine did not – and the ones who did, did so in a time when that was significantly easier to do.
      It is increasingly difficult to get a work visa or permit, to maintain it, to jump through all the many hoops we have created to keep out undesirables. Meanwhile we have cut back the number of people employed to help people wishing to come to our nation legally in order to increase the number of people employed to catch “illegal” workers.
      I agree it’s a complicated issue, but we threw back everyone who had an ancestor with a questionable entrance to this country, we’d have a whole lot of empty land available.
      Last – Living in a state where for much of the Hispanic population, they did not cross the border, the border crossed them – it becomes even more complex. You speak about stealing land as if it is no big deal, but my entire state was stolen and we continue to persecute the people we stole it from.
      I think it’s worth a quick gut check before we write racial profiling into law and create a class of citizens that is required to carry papers despite having lived on their land for more generations than my family has been in this country.

  16. I love this, pure beauty.

  17. Well written. Equality leads to unity and unity lead to power. No wonder America is the symbol for Power in today’s world. I love America.

    • Thanks. Though I do wish America was a bit more equal – and therefore a bit more unified. There is more than enough to go around, it kills me to see people who don’t have enough to live while others have so much more than they know what to do with.
      But I have irrational hope that in the end, the scales will tip toward justice and equality.

  18. Well written. Equality leads to unity and unity lead to power. No wonder America is the symbol of Power in today’s world. I love America.

  19. a lovely heartwarming note – left me pondering. you have a beautiful outlook. thanks for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  20. Amen! With the recent movement of the immigration bill, I was just thinking the same thing, although I couldn’t express it as eloquently as you have. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  21. I wish I had written this. But if I had it would not be nearly as good.

  22. Andrea Nicole

    While appreciate this blog, lets not forget that a lot of this country was built on the back of slavery. On the backs of people that were not immigrants but a labor force forceablly and violently brought here to help build the America some of these immigrants envisioned while not being able to take part in it themselves.

    • Andrea – YES – and thank you for the reminder. I originally had a section in here about just that but it got very long and I realized it was a post unto itself.
      One of the things I really thought about yesterday was that after the civil war – none of the people who built their fortunes on the backs of slaves were asked to return any of that wealth to the people who had worked to create if for them.
      And those same families continue to rail against things like voting rights, affirmative action – anything that might help to redress past wrongs, they continue to scream about redistribution of wealth – wealth that they did not earn to begin with…
      Yes… It’s a valid point, and a long rant, and an upcoming post.
      Thank you.

  23. Reblogged this on Illuminate and commented:
    This blogger says something I think it is important to remember about this country.

  24. An immigrant says thank you!

  25. Reblogged this on The Heart of My World and commented:
    Thank you for posting this. This relates to my parents and relatives who are immigrants in the US. God bless America! 🙂

  26. I came across an amazing document. I found the berth certificate for my wife’s great grandparents. I will attempt to put it on my blog in the future as soon as I can figure out how to do so. This document states where they were to sleep. The languages used on the document include Russian (Cyrillic), This cause great problems at Ellis Island as this language is not part of the Latin group of German, Italian, Spanish, English and French.

    • Yes – we glorify the way we did things in the past – but each new wave of immigrants faced their own hurdles to get entry into this country, and each new wave faced new discrimination. We are not a perfect nation – but with the help of immigrants, we are getting better.

  27. Agreed. So many negative thoughts these days for the USA… I’m an immigrant – came over when I was 6 and am so proud to be an American. I’m also thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given… the ones I don’t take lightly and the reason I work so hard. Thanks for the optimistic note. We need it!

  28. Bravo. You are very wise

    • Thank you. Some days I feel like I see a little bit of light and I try to share it – other days I’m struggling right along with everyone else – grasping at straws. This one’s been speaking to me for a while now, the 4th seemed like the right day to speak it.

  29. Wow really nice post.. I’m also an immigrant. I moved to usa several years back. So i guess im kinda new 😛

    http://utruthkn.wordpress.com

  30. I agree with everything in your article – except your paragraph mischaracterizing “some groups.” If you’re interested, I offer 2 of my previous posts for your consideration. The first is a sentiment, the second is a rant. Both reflect my considered opinion on the issue at hand.
    http://poesypluspolemics.com/2013/02/03/columbus-day-1994/
    http://poesypluspolemics.com/2013/02/09/thoughts-on-immigration-reform/

    • Thanks for your thoughts and your insights.
      While I could debate all day the various merits and failings of the current immigration bill – the truth is that there are some groups of people who would like to close American borders. It goes beyond people wanting to throw out all “illegal” immigrants and prevent any more from coming ever, which is patently impossible, futile and short sighted. There are some who are even more extreme, who would like to simply stop immigration except by the very best, brightest, most “worthy” and least “needy”.
      I tend to think that’s a bad policy. After all, how many of our ancestors came here out of need versus a benevolent desire to contribute their greatness?

      • I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I agree with your bad policy statement. The best and brightest will come because of opportunity. But those in need should be welcomed because it’s humane and ultimately good for America, as your article well stated. All I want is a rational policy that shuts the door on no one (other than obvious miscreants) without leaving it wide open for everyone.

      • Paul,
        I agree, we need new policy. In so many ways I would love to pause on all new legislation while we simply review what is already on the books and see where it has gone wrong or led us astray.
        I think we have room for improvement in many areas – immigration is just one!

  31. We truly are all pilgrims – gathered together, we form the nation known as America.

  32. Reblogged this on Simplicity with a taste of Chic and commented:
    I love this post! Very well done.

  33. Reblogged this on girlonahandcycle and commented:
    Last paragraph of this piece says it all I think!

  34. “I know that among some groups there is a desire to seal off our borders and stop the flow…” Just what the hell does that mean? Sounds like a political statement to me.
    The last thing I think about on Independence Day are a bunch of criminals cheating their way into my country off the backs of legal American citizens. Ask a legal immigrant how they feel about the mass of “undocumented Democrats” breaking American laws to live off taxpayers.

    • You caught me – there I go, making political statements on my blog again. I do that. A lot.
      Your comment makes me wonder if you are more upset about the idea of undocumented workers, or undocumented Democrats. You do know that undocumented workers don’t get to vote, don’t you?

      • We have something in common. We both make political statements on our blogs. You’re right, they can’t vote – At least not until they get their free pass to citizenship which is exactly what the Democrats are working towards. It’s a moocher voter gold mine.

  35. The title should read: “Love America? Thank a Legal Immigrant.”

    • No, actually it shouldn’t. There are plenty of immigrants who came here illegally and still contributed to our nation.
      There are also plenty of immigrants who came here legally and took more than they gave.
      It’s all about nuance. And being willing and able to look at the individual and the circumstances.

  36. I’ve been doing a lot of genealogy lately.

    My maternal grandfather’s parents both came over from Sicily in the 1870s as children. They lived in different cities (Chicago & St. Louis) but were introduced by family, sort of an arranged marriage. My maternal grandmother’s father came over from Scotland in the 1890s as an infant with is other, brother and sister. My maternal grandmother’s mother’s family came from Ireland by way of a few generations in Canada.

    My paternal grandfather’s side came from Bohemia in the 1860s and 1870s. My paternal grandmother’s side came from Ireland in the 1860s and 1870s.

    My husband’s family, on the other hand, can be traced back to the first surviving white child born in the colony of Rhode Island (some branches much after, but yes, his father’s side goes back to the 1630s).

    The thing all those ancestors had in common, no matter when they came over or from where, was that they were all searching for a better life. And they were lucky enough to find one.

  37. I love this! Why don’t we find excerpts like these in mainstream classroom history books? Ignorance is NOT bliss and if we don’t remember where we came from, we can’t ever know where we’re going. Awesome post–thank you!

    • Thank you! And you’re right – why aren’t we ever reminded of our colonialist past and our interracial heritage? My kids aren’t even taught about Columbus anymore. I had to teach them that our families did not originate here.

      • That’s scary-and perhaps a good topic for another blog post! I have a few friends in elementary ed that have expressed so much concern for their lack of freedom. They can’t highlight important stories of our past and instead have to worry about getting a room full of 6 year olds to pass a standardized test. In reality, we need to foster creative thinking, not stifle it.

      • I agree – It would be a great post – the things our children are no longer being taught! After all, as George Santayana so wisely said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  38. Words of knowledge missing in the immigration debate underway.

    • Indeed. There is so much missing from that debate – but I do think it would be a good idea to start by checking our basic assumptions and ideas of privilege. We came here looking for a better life – others are still coming looking for that chance, and quite frankly, we have enough, we can share a piece of the dream with them.

  39. “…immigrants of the past who created a nation founded on the ideals of liberty, justice and equality for all”

    I know a lot of people who have migrated to the US looking to improve their lives. And it’s good to know that there are people like you who accepts them.

    Thank you for writing such a great piece. 🙂

    • Thank you. And yes – I’m a big fan of people from foreign lands. I love introducing my children to ideas, ways of seeing the world and reminding them that America is not the end-all-be-all, it is just one nation, one idea, one way of many.
      Our children need that perspective as we continue to globalize the economy. And beyond that, their souls need it so that the too understand that we are all part of a single human family.

  40. Hermoso articulo, eso es lo que hace grande a los estadounidenses! te felicito! Felicidades en el dia de la independencia de vuestro país!

  41. Our people need to be reminded of this all the time.

  42. I don’t think the argument has been for closing the borders – it has been for securing it.

    My ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland – legally immigrating and then working themselves nearly to death to support their (my) family. They didn’t sneak in under the cover of darkness and mooch off of already strained government services that should be used to help actual citizens of this great country founded and built on the backs of those who worked for and earned what they got.

    • There are many modern immigrants to our country who are doing the same. Feel free to acknowledge their contribution to our nation.

      • For those who come here legally and work for what they get, I definitely appreciate their contributions. I am not against LEGAL immigration. I am very concerned about the strain that those who are not lawful citizens put on the systems that are designed to assist those in need.

    • you don’t need to be illegal to be lazy , I think your comment is can of mean

    • Siding with @ousiderx on this one – plenty of legal immigrants who don’t hold to their part of the bargain, and plenty of “illegal” immigrants who more than make up for it.
      Again – look at why people are coming illegally before you judge them for it.

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  44. I think people have blinkers or forgetfulness when it comes to issues like immigration in modern times. They seem to only look back a few generations and then declare ‘I’m American, my family are Americans’.

    However you are correct, in almost every country in the world ancestors aren’t originally from that country. We are a world of immigrants, moving to more favourable climates, more favourable hunting grounds. So when people say close our borders, turf out all immigrants to where they originally come from. Every country would be empty.

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  46. I am the son of immigrants. My parents were sent here by their parents because anything would be better for them than what my grandparents could provide my parents. However, they did it legally, they assimilated, they learned English, although they preferred their native tongue over English until their dying breath in their nineties. They became citizens. <y father was so proud of becoming a citizen he could cite the day, the Judge, and the Court he took the oath until he died.
    My father never looked back, he never wanted to return, my mother was the opposite. She pined for her home country. We sent her packing at age seventy-eight to visit home. She returned in six weeks totally cured of wanting to return to the homeland. She had become an American and America was her home.
    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  47. Some great points to ponder… congrads on the fp, and happy holiday!

  48. Um no, we are not all pilgrims. Some of us were stolen and kidnapped here by your pilgrim ancestors. >_>

  49. Love this! 5 years as a citizen this year 🙂

    MJ

  50. Love America. Thank a Native American. The first true Americans.

  51. omtatjuan

    I love your writing. You are quite talented. Keep up the output of words. I am following your blog!

  52. I love this! I really hope that we as a nation stop treating each new wave of pilgrims as an “other” and recognize their unique contributions. Thanks for writing this… it is beautiful!
    http://stepstochangetheworld.wordpress.com/

  53. Thank you for these words. My family can also be traced back to the ‘Mayflower’ – to Myles Standish. This always made a good family story – but I also wondered as a child about all of the people who preceded us.

    In addition to Native Americans, Africans should also be set apart from discussion of U.S. immigrants. The words ‘immigrant’, ‘migrate’, and ‘pilgrim’ imply a voluntary arrival, but African slaves were forcibly brought to this country. This should not be de-emphasized.

  54. I’m 25% Native American and the rest I guess you would say immigrant descendent? Lol. America is the worlds largest mixing pot for sure. Sometimes we can forget, no matter what are problems and political/moral issues how good we have it here and how much blood was shed to even establish this country (native blood etc). A woman from Liberia reminded me of the beauty of America recently. We will never have all the answers but we can accept each other and grow. GO LOVE ON A RESERVATION! 🙂

    • Thanks – and you’re right, we aren’t perfect, but we do have it darn good. We just have to keep the momentum moving toward justice, equality and freedom for all! (I think we can, I think we can, I think we can…)

  55. Pingback: MrMary Responds: We are Americans, not American’ts | ASpoonfulofSuga

  56. This is an amazing post. Is it alright if I repost this?

  57. Your post is spot on. It’s rather rare to see someone thanking immigrants, so kudos to you.

    I’ve had the opportunity to grow up in Mumbai, a city I liken to a big wholesome pot of stew, where flavours mingle and each spoonful offers you a taste of a different ingredient. I’ve been exposed to different languages, customs and cultures through friends, teachers, neighbours and colleagues from different parts of the country. Having moved to Denmark, I miss that.

  58. Great post! Lovely to read about from over the pond 🙂

  59. Great, brave post. I am married to a German, to which most people respond: “Oh, I’m German too…” – You’ve hit a great nerve with this post! thanks, Renee

  60. Reblogged this on Nashthedon's Blog and commented:
    THE RAINBOW NATION. JOSEPHS COAT OF MANY COLORS.

  61. Pingback: Love America? Thank an Immigrant. | Nashthedon's Blog

  62. I feel sorry for the American Indian. What does that make us in their eyes?

  63. Great blog. My salute to your teacher!

  64. Pingback: Love America? Thank an Immigrant. | josierenae

  65. martinldamato2012

    Amazing!! It wasn’t long ago when my grandfather was a custodian in a school mopping the floors and cleaning bathrooms. All for my father’s success and then turned over to myself. The same person in today’s world who looks down at other immigrants are the same who looked down at my family at one time. I am an American… with Italian in me. Love that you put this into words. Perfection.

    — Martin Damato

    • Thanks! So nice to have so many people get it. We’re all immigrants here.

      • martinldamato2012

        No doubt man! Greatest country in the world in even our worst times.

        • I think that the United States is the most unique country on the planet. There is no way I would ever shift my loyalty or relinquish my citizenship. Too many good people died for me to have my country.

          • martinldamato2012

            If you don’t believe in your soul that this is the greatest country, you should not be here. If you are here because “good people died for me to have my country.” to me, that is all the wrong reasons. This is a country of opportunity, and country of hope. Yes we have our problems, more things are wrong then they are right… But we will survive this storm.

  66. omtatjuan

    57 years ago my father came to this country will 2 dollars in hand. Those were the days when if you stood in line a green card was issued, no questions asked besides…. Nation of origin. In 2008 he passed away leaving a non mortgaged house with acreage in Sonoma California, cash in the bank and no credit card debt.

    He worked everyday of his life. Now a days Mexican is the new black in this country. We are all lazy. I work almost everyday of my life. I guess I’m lazy.

  67. Yes, finally! Someone who speaks my language! I loved your post… I seriously had tears as I read it. Well said, GREAT POST! -Cat

  68. Amazing post and I would like to thank you for the thank you, the expat community in America will appreciate to read this. If you do not mind, I would like to share this on a facebook page called Xpatia (https://www.facebook.com/xpatia) for people who are expats all over the world to read it and feel better about being in America, if they had any doubts! cheers 🙂

  69. Pingback: Passionate, personal, political, professional | ThinkBannedThoughts Blog

  70. Hey all – if you’re subscribed to the comments on this post, my apologies for last night’s midnight trolling. They’ve been nuked.
    If they return under new names, I’ll close comments as so far we’ve had civil discourse on this issue.
    Best wishes to you all.

  71. Pingback: Love America? Thank an Immigrant on Thanksgiving. | Citizen Path

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