Thursday 27 October 2016

Ann Dermody's Letter to President Obama

Assumpta Ann Dermody

Published 08/06/2015 | 02:30

Ann Dermody at a high school in Virginia after she became a US citizen
Ann Dermody at a high school in Virginia after she became a US citizen

Ms Assumpta Ann Dermody, Alexandria, Virginia, Submitted via 3/20/2015 4:16pm

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Dear Mr President,

I've cheered your nomination, celebrated your elections, stood on the mall with the million-plus during both your inaugurations (brrr!), cried when the healthcare bill passed, and stood up in front of my TV and applauded (maybe even punched the air) at your November speech on immigration. But I've never been able to vote for you. That's because I'm an LPR. One of 13 million who have come to the US legally, wrestled with a frustrating and occasionally unfair immigration system, and won. Like the rest of my swearing-in class, we've waited patiently for the five years to be up, so we could be naturalized citizens. That journey ends in a high school in northern Virginia on Tuesday, March 31, when we raise our hands and pledge allegiance to our new home, country and flag, the United States of America. For every one of us standing proudly in pressed suits, new dresses, and shined-up shoes, this is a big day (or a big f***g deal, as Joe Biden might say). For some of us it will have been a hard-won, long-drawn-out process. But just like the people who risk life and limb to illegally cross the border so their kids have a better life, each one of us in that room will have a story. And we will be thinking what this day means to us, to our future generations, and to those far away.

For me, I'll be thinking of my late husband who looked forward to this day immensely. He loved his country with a quiet patriotism, and came out of retirement to work as the general manager for Cargo with TSA when his country called him after 9/11.

While I know you have any number of things to do that day, I thought I'd take a shot and invite you to attend our ceremony. It would make an extra special day for us exceptional, and show detractors who criticise your immigration policies that you're just as concerned with us "legals" - who have followed their own, sometimes-fraught, paths to citizenship - as you are (thankfully!) with those who did not have our opportunity. The papers we receive on March 31 will not change our different accents, skin tones, or levels of education. It will not mean that, on occasion, we will sometimes be treated like second-class citizens, but for that day, at least, we'll feel like we have arrived.

I thank you, Mr President, for a tenure that continues to shine a light on those with little-heard voices, and for representing all that is great with America.

Best wishes,

Assumpta (Ann) Dermody

Irish Independent

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