Photo: Justin McCallum

Imali Shanika B.

Sri Lanka-USA

26, Philanthropic Consultant
New York, NY

Why did your family come to the United States? My mother and father came to the United States as newlywed 23 year-old graduate students from Sri Lanka. Though we returned to Sri Lanka when I was a small child, the height of ethnic conflict there compelled my parents to return to the U.S. and raise their three American daughters in their homeland.

What would the U.S. be missing out on if you or your people were banned? America would miss a mother who spends her days conducting experiments for medical research and nights voraciously reading through her weekly library book haul. It would miss a father whose research keeps the US Army safe and is a rabid sports fan who never misses a chance to cheer for his beloved Steelers. It would miss out on a family that celebrates thanksgiving like it's a religion.