Inspirational quotes from successful immigrants

Legally immigrating to the U.S. can be a puzzling jumble of forms, rules and proof. Dreams of family, freedom and success motivate aspiring immigrants to accept the challenge, and quotes from successful immigrants provide inspiration throughout the process. Here are some of our favorite inspirational immigration quotes.

MinnPost.com recently reported the inspiring story of Adolfo Carrion, Jr., who is the director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy. Carrion was quoted as saying this about his family's immigration experience:

"This may sound cliché to some, but for my family it's not. In one generation we went from parents with little formal education to all four kids graduating from graduate school and going on to successful professions. I have no doubt that my kids will achieve and contribute even more to the American enterprise. This is what keeps me going: that you can go from a sub-basement apartment in a 1960's Brooklyn ghetto to working for the President of the United States in one generation."

According to recent estimates, 36 percent of the 8 million people living in New York City are, like Carrion's family, immigrants.

Unique to the U.S. as a nation is what Bulgarian-born businessman Aso Tavitian, who helped create one of the earliest software companies, describes as the two-part value of both creating and sharing wealth. Here's what Tavitian stated in the Carnegie Corporation's 2013 New York Times ad honoring immigrants with quotes by naturalized citizens:

The philanthropic culture of our country, leading to the sense of satisfaction in having a positive effect on the lives of others is another great characteristic of the United States. I consider myself very fortunate to be a citizen of the United States."

John F Kennedy

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the U.S. and who was of Irish descent, is the source of one of our favorite inspirational quotes about how immigrants bring with them opportunities for success on both the personal and national levels. Kennedy made this statement in his 1964 book "Nation of Immigrants":

"As each new wave of immigration has reached America, it has been faced with problems... Somehow, the difficult adjustments are made and people get down to the tasks of earning a living, raising a family, living with their neighbors, and in the process, building a nation."

Kennedy's sentiment is echoed by the experience of Cuban-born and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Liz Balmaseda, who authored this inspirational tale about growing up in Hialeah, Florida, for the Carnegie Corporation's 2013 immigration campaign:

"I could say it was by magic that a loving and supportive community emerged around our family. But that village force of good neighbors, church friends, American-born school teachers who took the initiative to visit our home and offer a word of praise and encouragement—that doesn't happen by magic. In response to a life embraced, a life that is often turbulent, painful and imperfect. This is what I learned from my mother, may she rest in peace...My Cuba is now buried in a Miami cemetery. But my America resounds in all its glory, like a hundred conga drums playing beneath Friday night lights in Hialeah."

Only 2 percent of citizens are native to the land the U.S. encompasses, so most U.S. citizens have roots in other nations. Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, the 26th president of the U.S., reminds us through his address to the Knights of Columbus in 1915 that U.S. citizens are actually bonded into one nation by their heritage as immigrants:

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. ...The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities."

If you find yourself in a dry spell during your immigration experience, these inspirational immigration quotes can be a shower of encouragement to revitalize your motivation to build your dreams through U.S. citizenship. Keep them handy.