I feel like Jack Nicholson in The Shining; instead of “Jack’s back” it’s “Drew’s back” with his blog. I am looking forward to again sharing my thoughts with you on a variety of immigration topics.

As I have written before, one of the most gratifying parts of my work is past clients coming back to me to get their U.S. citizenship. There are so many prominent people in our history – immigrants who became citizens- who have had an impact on our Nation.

In the spirit of the holidays, I highlight an immigrant who wrote the song “White Christmas” that in 1942 won an Academy Award. It is still a popular song that marks the season. Its composer was a Russian immigrant, Irving Berlin. He was born Israel Baline and changed his name when one of his songs was incorrectly printed I. Berlin. He liked the sound of the name and adopted it as his own.

Berlin left home at thirteen and survived on his own by singing on street corners. This led him to be “discovered” and hired to sing in a bar. Then he ventured into performing in vaudeville and eventually in becoming America’s most prolific songwriter. He wrote more than 1500 songs of which his most memorable is “God Bless America.”

And so in the spirit of the holiday season, God bless Irving Berlin for his life and talent and the countless immigrants from all over the world who have contributed to America’s greatness.