Rafeal Osio’s tale on the Washington Post highlights what many professionals who emigrate go through these days. I left Venezuela before the crisis peaked, mostly chasing a selfish thirst to fill my thirst to see the world and experience the vibrancy and the diversity of the “first world.” However, Rafael’s journey still rings true to me. The pasture seems so green in another country and then, the reality of starting over is so humbling and so much harder than you ever thought. And yet, what drives us, immigrants, is the hope that you can make a better life in place that promises more freedom, more justice, more safety.
I hold those promises dear to my heart in my new country, the U.S. And it’s why I stand against rulings and laws that threaten them such as, the recent Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which seems to go against the very core values of the Constitution; and the lack of strict gun control, which is making public places like schools unsafe. Here’s why this baffles me to now end: in this country, you have to keep your kids in a car seat until their 7 to protect them from crashes; you can’t drink beer in a glass bottle in the beach because someone might get a cut; you can’t even have stairs in your house without a rail because you may fall (in your own house!) and yet, we can’t seem to muster the will to regulate the access to an object specifically made to kill. #makesnosense
These are the things I think about while I prepare my house to get together with friends and celebrate this birth of this great country which I never thought I would love and appreciate as I do. But I’ve built a life here, a really good one, I have a beautiful family, many friends that have shared my journey and, economic and intellectual freedom. After 16 years here, I feel at home. And when I read or hear about fellow immigrants, undocumented or not, I empathize. I know some go through much harder times and some are luckier. Whatever the case is, I hope that we treat immigration reform with humanity and compassion. We, immigrants, are still part of the bedrock of this country.
Happy 4th of July from a loving self-made patriot.