My Path to Citizenship...and the White House

My Path to Citizenship...and the White House

"When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. One of my best friends with the same goal joined the Civil Air Patrol and encouraged me to join, too. I jumped at the chance. But then it happened. I needed a Social Security number and didn't have one. I began to understand what it meant to be undocumented.  I didn't handle it well. My grades suffered, and I felt certain goals were out of my reach. Fortunately, a few farsighted individuals saw to it that I didn't fall through the cracks. Two of them were my parents. Most of the others I never met. Among them were members of Congress from both parties who joined President Reagan in passing an immigration law in 1986 that allowed immigrants like myself a path to citizenship. ... A decade after I was sworn in as a U.S. citizen, I was sworn in to serve at the White House. What I've learned through the years is that citizenship is more than a certificate. It's about our responsibilities to each other and to our communities, and stems as much from Fourth of July picnics as from how we embrace the values that have made America strong.  Immigrants understand that citizenship won't be handed to them. They're standing up because they're ready to earn those responsibilities. They embody the conservative principle of self-reliance. President Reagan understood that. Let's give them a chance." - Luis Miranda, a former communications adviser to President Obama, is a strategic communications consultant in Washington, D.C.