Photo: Ty Von Plinsky

Jeanette F.


72, Retired
Washington, DC

My parents left Italy in the 1920's as teenagers. My father traveled alone. My mother traveled with her mother and four siblings. They traveled in steerage class, crossing the Atlantic, and in about two weeks arriving at Ellis Island. They faced intense discrimination when they arrived. However, they were so grateful to be in the US, they never complained.

Why did your family come to the United States? My parents came to the US to escape the poverty of their small town.

What would the U.S. be missing out on if you or your people were banned? If my parents had been banned from entering the US, this country would have missed a woman who cooked and sewed exquisitely. The country would have missed a man who worked every day, no vacation days for 50 years. The country would be lacking a grandson who became mayor of a world class city.