Photo: Liz Maney

Swetha D.


26, Product Manager
New York, NY

My dad moved to Florida when I was less than a year old, leaving my mother and I in India until he could figure out how to bring us both over (this was 1990). My mother and I were eventually able to join him a little bit after my first birthday as we started a new life in Richmond, California. The transition was especially hard on my dad. Not only was he without his family for nearly a year, I had forgotten who he was in the meantime and was too scared to go near him when my family was reunited. Thankfully that fear did not last long, and after a few weeks I was willing to accompany him alone to the laundry unit in our building. 25 years later, we’re a stronger family than ever! It’s always in the back of my mind that my parents sacrificed everything, left their family, friends, culture and all things familiar to them to give my sister and I a better life. Knowing this pushes me to be the best me every single day. I want to make them proud and let them know that their sacrifice was worth it. I’m here to better America, not make it worse.

Why did your family come to the United States? To try and give me (and later my younger sister) access to opportunities beyond my parents' wildest dreams.

What would the U.S. be missing out on if you or your people were banned? Amazing neighbors, a great mother who will bluntly tell you ‘what’s up’ regardless of whether you are her child, and some pretty damn delicious food.