First Indian-American woman rep pens July Fourth op-ed on becoming a citizen

First Indian-American woman rep pens July Fourth op-ed on becoming a citizen
© Getty Images

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the first Indian-American woman to serve in Congress, penned an op-ed Tuesday celebrating the Fourth of July and recalling her experience becoming a citizen.

"I spent more than a dozen years on an alphabet soup of visas — F1, H1B and more — before I finally got my green card through marriage to an American," Jayapal recalls in The New York Times.

After detailing the journey of becoming an American, Jayapal wrote that she realized she wanted to stand up for other immigrants.

"As I took my oath, I realized how lucky I was. I knew that my future had opened up, and that citizenship would offer me the chance to seek opportunity and to take part in our democracy," she writes.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I became an immigrant, civil and human rights advocate, then the first South Asian elected to the Washington State Legislature and the only woman of color in the Washington State Senate, and then was elected in 2016 to the United States Congress."

Jayapal goes on in her piece to warn that President Trump is creating a sense of fear around immigrants like herself.

"President Trump has harnessed the fear and prejudice that have accompanied every wave of immigrants in United States history, and stoked those fears to further his own agenda," she wrote. "I call on the president and my fellow Americans to remember our history. What makes America great is our commitment to our values of inclusivity and opportunity for all.

"Immigration is about more than just who comes here and who is allowed to stay. It is about who we are as a country and what we are willing to stand up for."