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  • George W. Bush Institute

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  • Through our three Impact Centers -- Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda -- we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

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Voices of Immigrants

January 9, 2019
Hear personal stories of immigrants to the United States -- along with their values, goals, and dreams as citizens.

In the summer of 2013, the George W. Bush Institute hosted a naturalization ceremony followed by a special event titled What Immigrants Contribute, kicking off our work to advance smart, economic-based policies on immigration.  At that event, and in the time since, many immigrants have passed through our doors and have shared their inspiring stories.  


Sergeant First Class Ramon Padilla (USA, Ret.), Team 43 alum and immigrant, shared his story at the George W. Bush Institute Spirit of Liberty event in 2017. He was born in Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of two. In 2006, he became an American citizen after serving in Iraq.


After the naturalization ceremony in 2013, we spoke with newly sworn-in citizens Jessica Bray, Akshaya Bandaru, Mondell Avril, Sharoon Gill, and Lance Corporal Antonio Miguel Villaceran (USMC).


In January 2018, The Catalyst released its latest issue, Is Immigration Reform Possible? Juan Carlos Cerda, a dreamer living in Texas, contributed an essay expressing his hope for a resolution to the controversy around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Read his essay


Like Sergeant First Class Padilla, Juan Carlos Hernandez came to the U.S. as an immigrant and later volunteered to defend the United States. He lost his leg while doing so, but not his love for his adopted country.
Read his story


Tulip Nandu came to the U.S. from India, not to escape poverty but to forge his own path in the field of medicine. Granted F-1 and H1-B visas, Tulip has started living the American Dream.
Read his story


Anna Grenda Dimou learned as a child that the U.S. was more than a tourist destination: it was a place to find meaningful work.  
Read her story


The Bush Institute's Farhat Popal and her family fled war-torn Afghanistan in the '80s. Their lives were turned upside-down, but found a new start in the United States.
Read her essay