Sofia Sanchez is just what America needs.

I tell her this.

“America needs you,” I say.

“Aw thanks,” she says like I’m just paying a compliment.

“It’s not a gratuitous compliment,” I say. I mean it.

US Immigration - SophiaOur paranoid racism and xenophobia are not serving us well. Immigrants from China, India, and yes, Mexico, built America not just because they believed in freedom, but because they knew their skills would be welcomed. And they would be paid accordingly. We isolate at our peril.

Sofia and her family came to the U-S from Mexico through the front door, because IBM recognized her father’s computing skills. Her mother is equally brilliant and educated. Sofia is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Math and is now studying at Columbia University in NYC.

Sofia’s mother is a citizen of the US. So is her father. So is her sister. But because her parents became citizens after she turned 18, Sofia is not an American. Not yet. The quarantine has slowed the interview process. Plus she applied in New York. She says North Carolina would have been a shorter line.

Sofia wants to swim with sharks. Sofia is studying computer science like her father before her. Sofia runs toward her fears. But most impressive of all, Sofia is hopeful about the world. She has considered the facts. And she has come down on the side of hope. Sofia would like to be a NASA astronaut. But first, she’d like to be a citizen. I vote yes. I’m bullish on Sofia and every single immigrant remotely like her. It’s not just a warm fuzzy idea. It secures our future and manifests her hope. It’s the American way.


My conversation with Sofia Sanchez drops this Thursday @ManListening the #podcast.