Today our hearts are with members of Congress and their staffs, law enforcement, journalists and others directly affected by the storming of the U.S. Capitol and other congressional buildings by angry mobs.

Over the last few days, I have been thinking about why immigrants and refugees so want to come to the United States of America. Most of the time, we think it is for better economic opportunities, for a safer life.

As our nation has staggered through this transition period, as authoritarian forces here try to hold on to power, as authoritarians around the world act with greater impunity, I believe there is another reason immigrants and refugees come to the U.S.

For our democracy.

Because it is our democracy, and our belief in a peaceful transition of power, that allows for the freedom and opportunity to pursue one’s dreams. For one to reach their fullest potential.

Today, that democracy is under attack. But I have faith it will survive.

Our democracy will survive because of generations of Americans who have fought and died for our nation, the millions of Americans who exercise their rights in our democratic society, and the millions of immigrants and refugees who have strengthened our democracy.

We have a new Congress. Soon we will welcome a new president.

In the meantime, we pray for our democracy and for our ability to come together. And we will do all we can to help the nation heal and move forward toward unity.

We are not a perfect country. We are not perfect people. But, at our best, we share a deep belief in the idea that all people have, and should be treated with, dignity.

It will be the resilience of Americans, whether they have been here for generations or weeks, that will make a better future.

President and CEO of National Immigration Forum, author of “Crossing Borders” (April 2022, Rowman & Littlefield), host of the podcast, Only in America.