Terry Paulson

The long line to immigrate into America is the sincerest form of flattery to the power of the American Dream. People aren’t trying to get out; the gate to America swings in! For America’s success, immigration has and must remain a necessary contributor to its creativity, vitality and economic growth.

As an added benefit, there’s nothing like a fresh dose of new American citizens to remind us how fortunate we are to have been born in this great country and how easy it is to take American citizenship for granted.

Andy Anderson, writing for Southwest’s Spirit magazine, captured the pride and excitement of new citizens in his article, “I’m Truly Home Now!” As you read their comments, add passion to their voices and visualize the tears of joy in their eyes:

Kassegn Befekadu, born deaf in Ethiopia, said, “There are no rights there for people like me. I have so many opportunities here. I can get an education; I can drive and work. I love America.”

Roya Dura Mohammad, from Pakistan, confessed, “In Pakistan, after 5 o’clock, you cannot go outside because it is dangerous. In here, 24/7, I go when I want to go. In here, life is, like, way different. Thank you America, for having me here in the United States.”

Miguel Zaragoza, came from the Philippines with his mother and now is a tank mechanic in the U.S. Army. He says with pride, “I miss my family in the Philippines, but I don’t miss the poverty. It’s a pleasure for me to live in such a great place, so, to my fellow citizens, don’t take this for granted.”

For India immigrant Avtar Singh it was one word that said it all, “Freedom.”

They came here legally, overcame hurdle after hurdle, and are now “home.” These proud new “adopted” citizens have chosen to become “Americans.” They join a rich mosaic of citizens from many countries who have come together over the history of our republic. These new citizens played by the rules, persevered and earned the right to join our diverse but connected patchwork quilt. Yes, E Pluribus Unum—out of many one!

They now are as American as you or I. In many ways, they’re more so, because they chose to embrace American values we so often take for granted. After all, most of us won the national lottery and were born here. That happy accident of citizenship has allowed us opportunities others around the world just dream of.

But to honor immigrants, we must protect the immigration process. Recently, Arizona has come under attack from the U.S. Department of Justice for passing an immigration enforcement law designed to assist the federal government in enforcing existing federal laws.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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