Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Columnist considers immigration, compassion and American values: 'We are better together than we are alone'

Brian Hunhoff
A recent experience at a naturalization ceremony was illuminating for South Dakota Journalism Hall of Famer Brian Hunhoff. A contributing editor at the Yankton County Observer, Hunhoff wrote in a recent column that he gave the keynote speech at the March 15 ceremony in Sioux Falls, welcoming new Americans from 40 different countries. "It was my first time at a naturalization ceremony. I wish everyone in America could experience it," Hunhoff writes. "I wish everyone could see the joy and pride shining in the faces of those 237 new Americans, how eager and excited they are to be here, how much energy they bring to our country and the powerful level of gratitude they expressed to officials in attendance."

If more people saw naturalization ceremonies, Hunhoff believes, there might be less fighting about immigration in the U.S. "America's greatest achievements are not skyscrapers or jets. Our strength lies in our compassion, in our communities, where our people care for one another, where neighbors help neighbors — and strangers — in times of need," Hunhoff writes. "America is a nation of immigrants, multicultural by design. We should be a celebration of diversity. America should mean respect and dignity for all people. America is red, white and blue. We're also black, white and brown."

Americans can bridge the political divide by remembering our shared values like freedom and equality, which are "more important than partisan beliefs that divide us," Hunhoff writes. "We are better together than we are alone."

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