Alpha came to the U.S. as a political asylee. He is a Muslim man. Much more importantly, he speaks four languages, has two master’s degrees (an MBA in accounting and auditing and a Master of Public Administration) and is a loving husband and father to four children. His first job in the U.S. was working as a security guard. He worked double shifts to make ends meet, so that included nights. He barely saw his young kids. We helped get him back in his field as an accountant, and because this is America, it was a Jewish organization that hired him and offered him his first professional job in the U.S. What Alpha did next was join the PTA, make a donation to UpGlo to pay it forward, and tell his young son, an aspiring pilot, that in America anything was possible.
Alpha is an embodiment of what makes America great, yet proposed ideological tests threaten to screen out people like him.
Unfortunately, these values become clouded when our attention is pulled to rare and sensationalized stories. It’s time to refocus this narrative on the far more common stories of people like Alpha.
Countless hardworking immigrants, asylees and refugees are here today, living our American values daily. But right now they don’t get the support or resources they need to find jobs that match their skill level, utilize their talent, and help them achieve their version of the American Dream. For a nation with such a strong immigrant history, we are failing far too many people who call this country home.
That’s why today I’m asking us to change that. I’m calling on immigrants and refugees to share their stories. To speak out on why they came to America — their hopes and dreams and what they aspire for themselves and their children. And I’m calling for their allies to stand strong, share their stories, let them know that we are here and that we are committed to supporting them. Reclaim this conversation by posting these to social media. Let’s demonstrate what America is really about.