|Made in the Philippines, born in the States and claimed by the US of A.|
When my birth in upstate New York forty years ago was recognized by the due process of American documentation, America decided that I belonged to her. She claimed me, regardless of where my roots were. She anointed me daughter, chosen one, lucky child. As far as America was concerned, I had won the INS lottery. And in many ways she was right. But what is sorely missed in this telling is that I am as much an American as anyone else born here no matter what their circumstance.
America is an immigrant nation, always was and always will be. What keeps the heart of America vital and compelling is her ability to grow and evolve culturally and philosophically. It is for this reason that my being born in the USA is something I have come to treasure deeply. By her nature of being an immigrant nation, America is also inherently a compassionate nation. Historically, she has provided a safe haven for those whose home of origin puts them at risk. It pains me deeply that Americans of immigrant lineage themselves so easily forget the way America so openly welcomed their families. Like many immigrants today, their forefathers desperately needed solace and possibility. What is it about thes so-called Americans that compels them to deny others of similar stories but differing culture the same compassion they so generously received?
Where I am from we have a saying: He who cannot honor where he has come from will never get to where he is going. America can learn from this. We need to, it is the only way we will cross the threshold and fulfill this immigrant nation's destiny. Born in the USA is less about geography and more about the audacity to say: One nation under God, indivisible. With liberty and justice for all.
Surely, this includes all color, race and origin. Otherwise, it wouldn't be America. It simply couldn't be.