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Five famous faces of immigrant success

As an immigrant, recent events and worrying headlines may have taken their toll on you. But like you, many successful members of our United States have come through this difficult route, and gone on to bigger and better things.

Here are five famous faces you might not know were once immigrants.

  1. Sergey Brin. This computer whiz was born in 1973 in Moscow, and moved to the United States in 1979. With Larry Page, he founded Google - a company that saw revenue of $90 billion in 2016. According to analysts, immigrants are much more likely to be entrepreneurs than their native-born peers - almost a third of new American companies were started by first-generation immigrants in 2016. Researchers say new arrivals like to 'start something' - it might be a new life, or a new business.
  2. Mariano Rivera. Born in Panama,he was raised in a small coastalvillage. At 16, he was working on the family fishing boat. At age 20, he signed for $3,000 and was playing for the Yankees, hitting the Major League in 1995. By his retirement in 2013, he'd won five World Series, been a 13-time All-Star and had an unparalleled record, widely considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time. According to MLB data, "America's favorite pastime" at its highest level is foreign-born athletes.
  3. Albert Einstein. Arguably the world's most important genius and revolutionary physicist renounced his German citizenship in 1933 when he saw his home political climate changing for the worse. He immigrated to America where he was a Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton University and did some advising for the government, eventually becoming a citizen in 1940. News reports from the time show Einstein was unhappy with being interrogated by U.S. visa officials, and made demands for a quick visa process. Fun fact: the EB-1 visa for individuals who show "extraordinary ability" in their field, is often called the "Einstein Visa".
  4. Madeleine Albright.She and her family fled Czechoslovakia as refugees in 1948 to escape an upheaval from the incoming communist government. Her family eventually settled in Colorado. She went on to become a citizen and studied political science. She became the first female Secretary of State for the United States Government and U.S. Ambassador to the UN. Albright has championed gender equality and human rights; in June last year she tweeted: "As an immigrant and refugee, I am offended by the travel ban's cruelty. As a grandmother, I am insulted by its ignorance."
  5. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Born in 1947 in Thal, Austria, he won the Mr. Universe body building title before his 21st birthday. In 1968, he moved to California with $20 in his pocket. The six-time Mr. Olympia would go on to become a Hollywood star and a US citizen in 1983. In 2003, he was elected governor of California (reelected in 2006). He said the chance to serve in public office was "an immigrant's dream come true."

As an immigrant, it can seem like opportunities do not lie ahead and your situation cannot change. But many of the above celebrities have faced similar circumstances, as persons arriving in the U.S looking to become citizens. With positive thinking and some knowledge of your human rights, you too can succeed.

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