Immigration Crisis ‘Tests Soul of Our Nation’

Adriano Espaillat, first Dominican American Elected to U.S. Congress, reflects on the promise of the American Dream

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat is the first Dominican member of the United States Congress. As part of an exploration of rising political power among Latino Americans, National Geographic interviewed Espaillat about his life and experience.

I thought of my grandparents and how sad I was that they weren't there. They were both factory workers and I think they helped me build the mental toughness to make this journey possible. But it was a great experience obviously to see the Capital lit up at night, almost surreal.

My grandmother was a seamstress, who worked in the garment district and my grandfather worked in the (Ray-Ban sunglasses) factory. My father worked in a gas station, my mother (stayed) at home. Eventually my father owned the gas station, so he became a small business owner, and that's who we were. All of us lived together in the same four-bedroom apartment at the edge of Washington Heights, 153rd St. and Broadway.

Read This Next

Sexually transmitted infections seem to be on the rise
This 1882 surveying error saved a patch of forest from logging
The Maldives is being swallowed by the sea. Can it adapt?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet