This is a photograph of my grandfather, who was born in Ontario, Canada in the late 1800’s. I won’t share much biographical information about him, in part because some clown would probably try to steal his identity. Too late for that, I think.
We all called him Pop.
Pop Alexander came to the United States by train in 1924 and declared his intention to become a citizen the day he arrived.
Just today I found the document in which he which renounced his citizenship. At the time, the clerks used a stamp containing a phrase renouncing allegiance to “George V. by the Grace of God of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas being Defender of the Faith Emperor of India. There ought to be a comma in there, but I’m reproducing what I see.
The photograph above is from his Certificate of Citizenship, dated 1938.
I also found a document certified by a college, that he completed an examination of literacy. Dated just before he was issued citizenship. I know that immigration isn’t the same as citizenship. And not every family story is a political example.
But the United States actually did well in 1924. He was a legal immigrant, able to speak the language and pay his way. He was willing to leave his brothers, sisters and even his loyalty to a king in search of a better life. We are who we are as a nation because of the many immigrants who did the same.
Is it too much to ask that the greatest country on Earth should look for the best of the best as new Americans?