I asked myself, Is this really me?

They wanted to know my name, birth date, the place where I was born, and also the names and birth dates of my parents. They asked the color of my eyes, my weight and height; they gave me various medical exams; and of course they wanted to know where I lived and worked. In the process of applying in the United States for a work permit, I actually had all my fingers printed once, and one printed three times—thirteen fingerprints in all—and almost as many photographs taken! I began to ask myself, Is this really me?

I felt a kinship with all the other people who were filling out forms, having their fingerprints and photos taken, and sitting patiently for hours, waiting to be examined by the authorities. We came from many countries and backgrounds. We spoke a variety of languages. But in spite of the differences in our outward appearances, we all had one thing in common—we were men and women seeking permission to live and work in a country different from that of our origin.

Working together
May 6, 1991

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