IMMIGRANTS OF THE WEEK

This week I bring to you two immigrants rather than one to reflect the presidential impeachment hearings from this week. Two witnesses who testified were Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill. Both witnesses spoke of their immigration stories during the inquiry and the importance of immigrating to the United States.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman fled Ukraine at the age of 3 with his twin brother, father, and grandmother. At the time, Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union, and as Jews, they felt unsafe in their home country. They came to the United States like so many other Soviet Jews with the help of HIAS, which then stood for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Both Lt. Col. Vindman and his twin brother served in the United States army, risking their lives for America. Vindman is a Purple Heart recipient, Harvard University scholar, and adviser to the President on national security matters.

In a powerful testimony by Lt. Col. Vindman spoke about his concerns from the now infamous Ukraine phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky, and the reports he made about the phone call. After publicly speaking towards the ethical issues of the phone call, Lt. Col. Vindman looked towards the camera and spoke directly to his father. He said, “Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Lt. Col. Vindman is an American hero, and his immigrant story is a powerful message to the world.

Fiona Hill

Fiona Hill testified the third and final day of public hearings on the impeachment of President Trump. Hill was born in Durham, which is in northern England to a working-class family where her father worked as a coal miner and mother as a nurse. Her dream to immigrate to the United States came from her father, who never was able to do so. She spoke of her affection for the United States growing up as a child and always had an affinity for the country. Her dreams were realized when she studied at Harvard University to pursue a master’s degree in Russian and Modern History.

In 2002, Hill became a United States citizen. Hill’s impressive career includes working at the National Intelligence Council, Brookings Institute, and as an intelligence analyst under President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 2017, she was appointed as Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on President Trump’s National Security staff. However, she resigned from her position in August 2019. In the impeachment testimonies, she came forward to explain how Rudy Giuliani’s position in Ukraine foreign policy went outside normal government channels.

Hill’s testimony and her immigrant story have taken the world by storm, including many social media outlets. A recent story to come to light had gone viral regarding a male classmate setting her pigtail on fire when she was 11 years old and taking a test. Today, Hill is as tough as ever with her impeachment witness trial.

 

— Contributed by Eden Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind is a partner with Siskind Susser, PC - Immigration Lawyers. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he received his law degree at the University of Chicago. He created the first immigration law web site in 1994 and the first law blog in 1997. He's written four books and currently serves on the board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.
Greg Siskind

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