Immigrants realize we have something to be thankful for

Most of us have good reason to pause and give thanks on this Thanksgiving season. Our families top the list of blessings bestowed upon us, of course. We may also be thankful for our jobs, our health, our good fortune.

Do we ever just give thanks to be living as citizens of America? Or is that something we overlook?

We as a nation have flaws. We make mistakes, sometimes of the heart and sometimes of the head. There are those who never tire of reminding us of that, of insisting our nation isn’t really anything special.

So then why are so many people trekking across hot, not so friendly territory, to get here? The caravan of Central American people is slowly making its way north to seek asylum from the violence and corruption that made their lives so terrible back home. Sadly, they will be met with troops and border agents ready to send them back. They are willing to take that risk, however, for a chance to live here.

Approximately 43.8 million people in the United States were born in other countries. Of that number, not just incidentally, 19.8 million chose to go through the naturalization process to become citizens. Another 11.9 million are lawful permanent residents, while 2.1 million are residing here legally on a temporary basis.

Of our neighbors in this great land, more than one in eight decided our nation is exceptional enough to come here from other lands. About one in 16 revere our country so highly that they chose to become Americans.

What other nation has that power of attraction? Do these still relatively new Americans understand something our nation’s critics do not?

Most people on this planet cannot even dream of the liberties and opportunities we take for granted here. Many of them would fall down on their knees in gratitude if they could only make it to our shores.

Today, then, let us be grateful for our many blessings. Let us recognize that living in the United States of American is one of them.

Happy Thanksgiving.