The US has a complicated relationship to immigrants.
On the one hand, the country is essentially a nation of immigrations — an amalgmation of all the countries in the world — and millions of people legally arrive here each year.
On the other hand, immigration is one of the most divisive political issues in the country, Congress is in perpetual gridlock over immigration reform, and US President Donald Trump enacted an executive order banning a huge subset of immigrants within his first weeks in office.
For many US citizens, however, the subject of immigrants isn't complicated. In fact, it's remarkably straightforward — immigrants are the engine of this country and in one way or another everyone is tied to an immigrant.
And this simple clarity is on full display this Valentine's Day as people across the country counter xenophobic rhetoric with words of love and acceptance. #ToImmigrantsWithLove is a campaign started by two advocacy organizations: Define American and I Am An Immigrant. They're calling on people to write letters to immigrants and, naturally, the initiative has taken off on social media.
Here are some of our favorite messages:
#ToImmigrantsWithLove - you are what makes America great. Thank you for your contributions.— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) February 14, 2017
On Valentine's Day, celebrating my parents, spouse & other immigrants who have accomplished so much for our country. #ToImmigrantsWithLove— Cecilia Muñoz (@cecmunoz) February 14, 2017
Chinese Exclusion Act banned my family. They came anyways. Today we are engineers, pharmacists and paramedics. #ToImmigrantsWithLove— Stephanie C. (@HelloJello92) February 14, 2017
#ToImmigrantsWithLove I was born here, but my ancestors weren't. I have great-great grandparents who came as refugees. You are welcome here.— Bess Katerinsky (@BeKaterInTheSky) February 14, 2017