Immigration & Naturalization: Cause of the ‘Birth’ of my Family and Business
June 16 marked the third anniversary of my naturalization to US Citizen. After immigrating to the US in 1988 and 19 years of ‘Alien’ status, I became a US citizen in Charleston, SC on June 16, 2008. Immigration from the Netherlands to the US caused the ‘birth’ of my family and the ‘birth’ of my business.
Being sworn in was an emotional event for me on June 16, 2008. I was surrounded by strangers from all walks of life and numerous different countries. Yet we were all united in the want and/or need for US citizenship and new status.
Immigration has allowed my husband and myself to form a family unit in the US. We’ve been married 22 years and are the parents of 4 young children. We have traveled the world from Argentina to Brasil, to Costa Rica and the Netherlands, but the US is our home.
Immigration has allowed me to become part of US society. I’ve been able to get a social security number, a driver’s licence, work (with my green card), buy a home and go to school.
Immigration has allowed me to volunteer for the PTA, attend church and be part of any civil organization I’ve wanted to.
Immigration has allowed me to become a US based business owner (and has demanded I pay taxes).
Yet, naturalization has allowed me to do several things I was missing by being a green card holder vs. citizen.
I now have a US passport, I can now vote in local, state and national elections and estate planning just became much easier.
My business is a local business, as well as national and global. I consult to those all around the world in social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube…they don’t differentiate where you live. You connect to those you share common interests with and to those businesses who you support or interact with. As a matter of fact, I could move to any place in the world and as long as I had my lap-top and WiFi, I could work and continue my business as usual. If you go take a look at my Facebook profile or read my recent article about Branding More In Media, you may understand my cultural background and the pride that goes along with being Dutch. It does not take away anything from the love I have for my adopted country.
Why did I start this business, besides my expertise, of course? I can relate to those who come from different cultures and backgrounds and speak different languages because I’ve been there! Not only have I traveled the world, I have been misunderstood and felt left out because I looked different, acted different or spoke different. Compassion for those who celebrate and embrace diversity is what sets this naturalized citizen (former immigrant) apart from those natural born citizens who might be against immigration.
So why did I bring immigration into this? I am proud of the fact that the US allowed me to reside here. I am proud of the fact that the US allowed me to start a business. I am glad they recognized two young people in love who wanted to start a family together. I am happy that our immigration story is a positive one and want to share it with as many people as possible. Sometimes, immigration is not about politics or work-status or illegality.
Sometimes it is just about love.