Why I Still Love America: Reflections of an Immigrant (Part One)

*A Global Gates missionary in Queens, New York, who was once an immigrant from South Asia to the United States and is now an American citizen, shares why he continues to love America despite all of its terrible flaws and imperfections as a country.

Our family was looking forward to this year’s Fourth of July. The boys remembered the spectacular sights and sounds they witnessed when we took them to watch fireworks with the magnificent Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. Well, 2020 happened. The word of the year has been “unprecedented.”

As I contemplate the pain of our nation, here are some thoughts that keep me hopeful to celebrate the goodness and beauty God has bestowed upon our country. Given the current political climate, it is not my aim to criticize or politicize but as one who immigrated to the United States at the age of 20 and became an American citizen, I want to share from my own experience and perspective, why I still love America.

  1. Home of the Brave – Ever wondered why there are more people around the globe applying to enter America than any other country? Why is America still the nation with the highest number of global immigrants? If you answer, “For economic gain, what else?” You are wrong. There are other countries where you can make more money than in America. The right answer is the American “way of life.” The freedoms, opportunities, values, and tolerance afforded by the American constitution to both her citizens and “resident aliens” is unlike any other nation on earth. Have you ever heard of the “Asian dream” or the “Australian dream”? No. There are good reasons why we only know of the “American dream.” “The American dream means that you have the chance to work hard, get an education, and do great things for yourself, and for your kids. The great thing in America is it doesn’t matter what your last name is, and it doesn’t matter if you’re wealthy.” – Former Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal (The first Indian American Governor)
    2. Land of the Free – To go across the Atlantic Ocean is no small feat (even on a plane). Every immigrant generation has had to take a “step of faith” in making America their new home. I’m indebted to my parents for planning, packing, and moving our family here. I didn’t make much of it as a 20-year-old, but looking back at the last 18 years, I’m grateful for how America has been so good to our family and to our larger immigrant community where I now serve as a pastor.

Almost every country in the world limits their citizenship by birth and blood. However, in America, if you enter legally and abide by the laws of the land you can become an American citizen irrespective of your race, ethnicity, language, religion etc. Not only is America a land of the free but also a land of immense beauty. Have you ever been on a long road trip across America? The longest one my wife and I took was from New York City to Key West, Florida. I was overcome by the beautiful landscapes from mountains to valleys to beaches. The warm and welcoming gestures at every rest stop, restaurant, and national park revealed the moral compass that lies beneath this country.

Yes, it does feel like with every generation that moral compass gets buried even more. Nevertheless, it is there. 

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

*Stay tuned for Part Two next week. Our author will share more reflections on why he still loves America.