1. "No one chooses to become a refugee. No one chooses to be forced out of their home. No one chooses to leave behind everyone and everything they love."
2. "Her courage ensured that no one in my immediate family suffered under Communism or National Socialism."
"When she was 15, my Slovenian great-grandmother was almost forcibly married to a man three times her age. Her brother paid for her passage on a boat to America, where she settled in a Slovenian American community in Ohio. She had 10 children, raised chickens, and survived the Great Depression. Her courage — leaving home, alone, at an age before today’s teenagers can even get a driver’s license — ensured that no one in my immediate family suffered under Communism or National Socialism." — kfinchgnehm
3. "My grandpa said his parents always used Czech with each other, their own private language for when they really needed to say how they felt."
4. "He became a bounty hunter for cougars, which is where he acquired the name 'Cougar Pete.'"
5. "Everyone — Americans and fellow refugees — welcomed us with open arms and helped us rebuild our lives."
"In 1975, Vietnam fell to Communist rule after 19 years of war. My dad fought in the war as a captain for the South Vietnamese Army along with his fellow brothers who believed in a free Vietnam. Like thousands of other Vietnamese, my parents tried but failed to escape by boat. Stuck in Vietnam, the Communists forced my dad to attend 're-education camp' where he endured hard labor as well as mental and physical torture. Living without basic human rights like freedom of speech, opinion, and religion under Communist Vietnam, it was all about survival. It was incredibly hard, but my parents protected us and provided us with as much as they could.
"In 1994, our application to resettle in the United States was accepted for review. After two years of intense vetting, my family was finally granted refuge in America. With nothing more than a few hundred bucks, each other, and hearts full of hope, we arrived in the US in 1996.
"Everyone — Americans and fellow refugees — welcomed us with open arms and helped us rebuild our lives. We never once felt like we were unwanted. Without this opportunity or acceptance, we would not be where we are today — successful, contributing members of this beautiful country. We will be forever indebted to the United States for giving us a second chance at life. We will be forever grateful that the US of 1996 erred on the side of love rather than fear." — namnguyen
6. "My family and I suffered a lot, but we have found amazing people and communities here in America."
7. "I’m proud to be a Jewish-American."
8. "My mom’s immigration picture hangs on my fridge and reminds me of her journey."
9. "They pooled their money together, but only had enough money left over to buy one ticket to America."
"My great-grandfather, Leopold, came over from Germany by way of Argentina with a handful of his buddies. They had heard Argentina was the place to make it big, but after a few months living there, realized that America had better opportunities. They pooled their money together, but only had enough money left over to buy one ticket to America. They drew straws and my great-grandfather won. Leaving his friends behind in Argentina, he traveled to Ellis Island, eventually settling in Chicago. There, he met my great-grandmother and started a family. His son, my grandfather, worked hard and went on to study medicine at Notre Dame and the Mayo Clinic." — marykathryna
10. "My family helped me keep ahold of my Cuban roots by telling me stories, speaking to me in Spanish, and keeping the Cuban rhythm alive."
11. "The Chinese government seized all their assets when she was 4, leaving the family with only $25."
12. "My mom and her siblings always tell stories about how many speeding tickets they got out of because my grandfather saved the lives of so many cops."
"In the 1950s, my Turkish Muslim grandfather came to America to get a better education. He was only going to stay long enough to get his PhD, but ended up meeting a beautiful nurse whom he fell in love with. He became one of the most respected surgeons at his hospital and everyone in the area knew who he was. My mom and her siblings always tell stories about how many speeding tickets they got out of because my grandfather saved the lives of so many cops." — tkbabs
13. "I share my mother's story to enlighten those who feel that immigrants come to this country as 'criminals' and 'rapists.'"
Some entries were edited for clarity and length.