Celebrate the Diversity that Unites Us

“My mother was her own Ellis Island,” Luis Torres says about his mother, a Salvadoran immigrant, who fled the civil war and found refuge in California in the 80’s.

“Everybody has come through her door, her apartment while they established themselves in the U.S. and that would not have happened had she not come here,” Torres recalls about his uncles who rejoined his mother in the United States.

Torres, whom we interviewed in New York as part of the I am a migrant campaign, is one of the 18 million children of immigrants born in the U.S. and who now represent the diverse face of America.

Despite what seems to be an inhospitable climate towards foreigners, immigrants undoubtedly remain part of the American identity. The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world with an estimated 46 million people born outside the country.

Representing more than 13 percent of the U.S. population, the population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world is represented among U.S. immigrants, according to the Pew Research Center.

From Europe to Central and South America to Asia and the Middle East, the U.S. has been a land of refuge and opportunities for immigrants.

As former U.S. Secretary, Colin Powell, once said, "America is a nation of nations, made up of people from every land, of every race and practicing every faith. Our diversity is not a source of weakness; it is a source of strength, it is a source of our success."

As a matter of fact, the people of the United States represent an array of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, all of whom help to make up the complex picture of what it means to be an American.

As today marks World Day for Cultural Diversity, these five short videos offer glimpses into the many stories of the immigrants of the United States.

These videos are part of series of interviews to be released by IOM Washington and its non-profit partner, USAIM for IOM, in June.

The month of June has traditionally been known as Immigrant Heritage Month in the U.S. It is the occasion to celebrate both the diversity and the shared American heritage by telling the stories of individuals who are part of the American fabric.