Since the first settlers sailed westward, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. Immigrants from different nations, different walks of life, different religions, and different creeds. But the one thing they had in common was ambition; an ambition to do something greater than themselves, to not only improve their quality of life but to make sure that the lives of their children and their successors would be better than the ones they left behind. This uniquely American Dream has stood the test of time, through trial and through success, through the sweetest joys and most biting sorrows, through times of war and times of peace.

I, Melody Shekari, am the daughter of immigrants. I have firsthand experience with the very real struggle to find success in a new place, with every moment dedicated and devoted to put food on the table and fight for the best possible life for your kids. It is through the hard work of my parents that I have the opportunity to affect real change in our government through your support. We have people in our government who believe that families looking for a brighter future, fleeing persecution and a dearth of opportunities, should not remain.

I proudly say I am not one of these people. I believe that the American Dream is still alive, that we can still help each and every person achieve through hard work. I can look into the eyes of the naysayers, who say that this American Dream is no longer a reality, and leave them with a simple message: I am real. My story is real. There are millions of immigrants in America whose struggle is real. And today, we have a very real opportunity to stand with these individuals, to guide our nation toward a more prosperous and peaceful future.