I never doubted that I was a descendant of immigrants. Shortly after World War II, students were asked to fill out forms listing their nationality. For several years, I laboriously spelled out "Norwegian" until a teacher tapped me on the shoulder and told me it was more correct to write "American."
One of my ancestors came to northeast Iowa in 1854, on account of a number of issues facing Norway at the time: overpopulation, lack of employment, poor living conditions, near starvation for some families, and no foreseeable prospects for elevating their circumstances. I'm a sixth-generation Norwegian-American.
I'm proud to be descended from Norwegian immigrants and proud to join hands with Iowa's new immigrants. If we suffer, we need to know we are not alone, and if we flourish, we need to know that others need our help.
Marilyn Anderson lives in Decorah, Iowa.
This account is taken from Voices of Immigration, a campaign of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) aimed at highlighting the stories of immigrants in our country. Believing that every person is made in the image of God, we seek to restore the human element to the conversation around immigration reform. Each day this week a new story will be highlighted on God's Politics, with additional ones posted throughout March at CCIR's Web site: www.faithandimmigration.org.