What exactly is the American Dream, does it still exist, and how does one achieve it? What path does an individual endure in making the decision to leave his home with the hope of achieving a life for his family that could only exist in a dream?
It is the path traveled by a young 15-year-old boy living on the Italian island of Ischia in the 1970s, dealing with an economy decimated by World War II. One of Mussolini’s castles still remains on the island, and stories told by this boy’s mother of children running for shelter as bombs poured from the sky, destroying their home, are horrifying.
The economic prospects for this peasant farming family were bleak and this boy only had $15 to his name; however, he was fueled by a dream of being rewarded for his hard work with honest pay, giving him the ability to raise a family. Possessing the same vision, hope, innovation and spirit that make our country so unique, he left his way of life to achieve his American Dream.
He realized that he could not fulfill his American Dream living a life in the shadows, so he registered with the immigration department. He worked day and night in the labor-intensive construction business, never once asking for a free payday. After all, he thought, he did have two arms and legs and was perfectly capable of making a living himself.
He knew that in order to get ahead in this new land, he had to learn its language, so he learned English. He failed his English proficiency test three times, but his Dream lived on and his endurance eventually helped him pass it.
His true pride and joy came 13 years after he moved to Rhode Island, when he was officially declared a US citizen. Standing with his wife and children, he proudly waved his American flag. Thirteen years of hard work, sweat and bloodshed for one purpose, one vision, one dream.
Today this boy, now a family man, is proud to call himself a Christian, an American and a Republican – in that order – as it was the Republican values of family, faith and following the rules of the land that allowed him to achieve a life of which he could only dream as a young boy.
Liberals use smear propaganda tactics to paint a false perception of the Republicans’ stance on immigration; however, Republicans believe immigration is about much more than policy – it is about people. The RIGOP believes that a comprehensive immigration policy will provide a clear path to citizenship, providing foreign families with benchmarks and procedures to guide their journey in becoming an American citizen. It will provide mandatory opportunities for all immigrants to learn English, allowing them to fully integrate with society and obtain an ideal job to provide for their family. It will protect liberties of those seeking to be Americans, but it also must protect the lives of current Americans as well; this is why the first step in immigration reform is border security.
As a son of an immigrant and 1st Vice Chair of the RIGOP, I believe that immigration reform is about people, not politics, and I believe in following a set of rules that will provide the opportunity for those seeking the American Dream while protecting the lives of those currently living theirs.