At the age of 15, I migrated to America with my family of six from Pakistan. Our family has grown since. I remember going to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, where they interviewed us before granting us a Green Card Visa. We were all nervous, the American agent greeted me in English, I replied back in English, “Hello,” I was terrified, as I didn’t know any more English than that. To my surprise, the agent started to speak to me in Urdu for the rest of my interview. The agent eventually stamped all of our passports. We were now allowed to arrive in any American city. The picture you see was taken in 2015. It isn’t the best picture, photogenically, but it captures the essence of our migrant family, beautifully. We have added members by birth and marriages. My older brother ended up marrying a Pakistani, while my younger brother and I ended up marrying Americans. Within our own family, we now have different religions and religious views. Some wear hijab, some don’t. Some eat only halal meat. Some pray facing the Mecca, some pray at their local churches, some don’t pray at all. Unfortunately, not all of my close family members are in the picture, but when I look at this picture, I am left with nothing but amazement on how we have grown together, grown apart, bring others into our family and how others have included us in their families. Thanks to the magic of immigration and open mindedness! Welcome to America!
– Ghazi Kazmi