In today's political climate, the word 'immigrant' sparks different feelings for different people. However, no matter your personal stance on immigration today, it is a fact that America exists as a melting pot of people who originated from all over the globe, as well as those indigenous to the country itself. People came (and still come) to America seeking freedom, opportunity, or even just a new way of life. Regardless of your country of origin, if you are celebrating Independence Day this year, these 4th of July quotes for immigrants celebrate freedom and what it means to bring unity to everyone living in America today.
Many of these quotes for immigrants to celebrate Independence Day were first said or written by American presidents. As the former leaders of our nation, they should be the primary authority on what makes America, America. As such, these quotes exemplify the qualities of true patriotism with regard to the hard-fought battles many immigrants face when coming to America.
In addition to presidents, quotes by authors, songwriters, world leaders, and immigrants themselves adorn this list to sew the beautiful "quilt of many colors" that makes up the fabric of America which is celebrated on the 4th of July.
1. "This land is your land, this land is my land." — Woody Guthrie
In the spirit of unifying us all, folk singer Woody Guthrie penned these lyrics in 1940, and now the tune is learned by most every elementary schooler nationwide. It's the perfect quote for immigrants on July 4th to explain the need for harmony in the land we all share.
2. "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." — Nelson Mandela
This quote by Nelson Mandela speaks to the fact that with freedom comes respect and responsibility that must be shared with the masses. For immigrants celebrating July 4th, it is important to remember that freedom is a shared value among both those born here and those who immigrated here.
3. "We are a country where people of all backgrounds, all nations of origin, all languages, all religions, all races, can make a home. America was built by immigrants." — Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hilary Clinton's iconic quote about America being built by immigrants is spot on. This is the pinnacle of quotes for immigrants celebrating the 4th of July.
4. "We are a nation of immigrants, a quilt of many colors, and we've managed over more than two centuries to create a way of life that allows for a reasonable degree of upward mobility, that prizes individual liberty, promotes freedom of religion, and genuinely values equal rights for all citizens." — Jay Parini
Writer Jay Parini is credited for this beautiful quote referencing America as a "quilt of many colors" that can be used to celebrate the values of immigrants and all Americans this 4th of July.
5. "Nearly all Americans have ancestors who braved the oceans – liberty-loving risk takers in search of an ideal – the largest voluntary migrations in recorded history… Immigration is not just a link to America’s past; it’s also a bridge to America’s future." — George H.W. Bush
As a native Texan, the words of former President George H.W. Bush typically speak directly to my heart, and that could not be more true with this quote. Immigrants can use this quote on July 4th to reflect on the past as well as celebrate a hopeful future.
6. "Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life." — John F. Kennedy
Another former president, John F. Kennedy wrote this quote in his 1958 book A Nation of Immigrants before his presidential days. To celebrate the great contributions of immigrants to America this 4th of July, this is a very fitting quote.
7. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" — Emma Lazarus
The sonnet The New Colossus by American poet Emma Lazarus is etched onto a plaque at The Statue of Liberty, signaling to the world that America should be a place welcoming of those seeking refuge. Immigrants on the 4th of July can use this quote as a reassuring beacon of hope.
8. "In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Many immigrants fight tooth and nail to come to America. This quote by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt quantifies the fact that the freedoms achieved by immigrants who come to America have been earned.
9. "As you know, I'm an immigrant. I came over here as an immigrant, and what gave me the opportunities, what made me to be here today, is the open arms of Americans. I have been received. I have been adopted by America." — Arnold Schwarzenegger
Originally from Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger has become an American icon both in terms of pop culture and politics. This quote epitomizes what it means to be an immigrant and work to build the American dream.
10. "It says something about our country that people around the world are willing to leave their homes and leave their families and risk everything to come to America. Their talent and hard work and love of freedom have helped make America the leader of the world. And our generation will ensure that America remains a beacon of liberty and the most hope filled society this world has ever known." — George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush speaks the truth here. If immigrants are searching for a better life and they come to America to find it, that should speak volumes about America and its people. This message of hope for our generation is one that immigrants can quote this 4th of July.
11. "More than any other nation on Earth, America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants. In each generation, they have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people. Bearing different memories, honoring different heritages, they have strengthened our economy, enriched our culture, renewed our promise of freedom and opportunity for all." — Bill Clinton
The strength of immigrants in America is beautifully memorialized in this quote by former President Bill Clinton; a fitting Independence Day quote for immigrants.
12. "Immigrant parents dream that their children will find a place in their new home, and they willingly suffer hardships in service to that dream. That was certainly true of my parents." — Gene Luen Yang
Asian-American cartoonist Gene Luen Yang explains the adversity that faces immigrants as they seek to build a better life for their families in America.