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Our Immigrant Origins

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Monday, January 2nd, 2017 | 6,786 views

My family’s undocumented past in America wasn’t known to me until I applied for dual citizenship with Italy not long ago. The vital records I gathered in the process offered a startling new perspective on our lineage, though it didn’t seem to matter much at the time. Some relatives even chuckled over how my great grandfather could’ve spent eighteen years living and working “illegally” as an economic migrant, not becoming naturalized until the 1930s, well after my grandmother was born. No one ever questioned his, or our family’s, place in this country as Americans. After all, his story was the embodiment of the American dream, having escaped the extreme poverty that ravaged the Sicily he knew in search of a better life.

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