ever considered that the United States of America’s
most famous icon is an immigrant? That’s
right. The Statue of Liberty was “born”
in France and brought to theU.S.by ship. The quintessential symbol of
American liberty and freedom, Lady Liberty herself, is an “immigrant”.
late Senator Ted Kennedy said, “Immigration is the story of American History.
... over the centuries, immigrants came to America from every part of the
globe and made the American dream. They
created a nation that is the envy of the world.”
came to a land that offers freedom and opportunity to those willing to do their
part.” And do their part, they have!
Immigrants have contributed to and enriched every aspect of American life. They built our cities, our railroads and
highways. They cultivated our farmlands. They fought to defend their adopted home in every branch of the U.S. military.
even gave us Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday. The first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took
place on September 8, 1565 when 600 Spanish settlers landed in what is now St. Augustine, Floridaand immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe delivery to the New World.
was followed by a feast and celebration. A Spanish expedition party rested and conducted a mass at San Elizario
(near El Paso, Texas) in celebration of thanksgiving on
April 30, 1598. On December 4, 1619, 38
English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, which is about 20 miles north of Jamestown, Virginia. The group’s charter required that the day of
arrival be observed yearly as a day of thanksgiving to God.
modern Thanksgiving holiday is associated with a 1621 celebration at the
Plymouth Plantation where the Pilgrims held a feast after a successful growing
season. Sqauanto, a Native American who served as an interpreter for the
English-speaking colony had taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn.
The Pilgrims set aside a day to celebrate immediately after their first
Thanksgiving feast lasted for three days and provided enough food for 53
pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. It consisted of fowl, venison, lobster,
clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, squash and turkey.
that time, a Thanksgiving Day has been proclaimed and celebrated periodically
throughout our nationhood. However, the
date was not officially set as the fourth Thursday of November until 1942.
of where the immigrants came from and no matter when they arrived, they shared
something in common with each other and with those who come to our shores
today. They all wanted a better life for
themselves and their families. They were
also willing to work hard to get that better life.
were profoundly grateful to the country that gave them the opportunity for
betterment. That is all still true.
also still true that the country that benefited so much from the early
immigrants continues to benefit from those who come to our shores today.
Immigrants bring energy and skill that enrich the lives of those with whom they
come in contact. They start businesses
and create jobs.
provide wonderful examples of family devotion by the sacrifices they make to
unite their families here and support their loved ones back home. At Reeves
& Associates, we understand how important these immigrant families
recognize how much the U.S.owes to each person who has brought unique contributions to this country. And we continue to strive to obtain justice
and fairness for them. Fairness and justice is more than just not deporting
contributing members of society by leaving them in limbo (although that is a
granting a means of lawful status to those who devote their life and energy to
make and keep this country great. It is
fulfilling the promise of Lady Liberty who lifts her light of liberty beside
the golden door.
1947, each year for Thanksgiving the President of the United States has pardoned a live
turkey to allow it to live out its days in peace. Surely a country that has
compassion for its turkeys can show compassion for people. Let’s see Comprehensive Immigration Reform in
2012 so that American immigrants will truly have something to be thankful
Author's Note: The analysis and suggestions
offered in this column do not create a lawyer-client relationship and are not a
substitute for the individual legal research and personalized representation
that is essential to every case.
Robert L. Reeves is a licensed California attorney and
by the California State Bar as an Immigration and Nationality Law Specialist.
been specializing in immigration law for over 30 years and is admitted to
practice before the US Supreme Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit, several US District Courts and California State Courts. He is the
Managing Partner of Reeves & Associates with offices located in Pasadena, San
Francisco, Las Vegas and Makati City – Unit
507 Tower One Ayala Triangle, also known as the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza
Makati , 6767 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines 1226 (corner Paseo de
Roxas, beside Ninoy Aquino Monument).
Philippine Contact Numbers: 759-6777 or Toll Free: 1-800-10-773-3837 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org