The United States Congress passed Public Law 100-62[S.J. Res. 867]; June 29, 1987 designating October 28, 1987 as "National Immigrants Day." Click here to read the actual Proclamation by the United States Congress.
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Honoring his adopted country and its people is a lifetime commitment for Nick “the Greek” loarniidis, a 63-year-old immigrant from Nikisani, Kavalas. Americana—including a chandelier with 50 red-white-and-blue bulbs and the flags of the 13 original colonies—decorate his Nick the Greek in America” tailor shop in Huntington Park, a Los Angeles suburb.
“Since I was accepted in this country, I’ve wanted to show my gratitude,” he says. When I became a citizen, I vowed once a year to accomplish something to show my gratitude to this country. The crowning achievement of his quest came when Congress heeded his request to proclaim National Immigrants Day. For the past 19 years, October 28 (the date in 1886 when France donated the Statue of Liberty to the US; also Oxi Day for Greece) has been the day.
The United Nations and 47 states have informed loannidis that they recognize National Immigrants Day. Only New York, California, and Arizona have failed to respond.
Ioannidis is now busy trying to convince the US Postal Service to issue stamps honoring immigrants. “I don’t insist that they make an Alexander the Great stamp,” he says. “I have to work for all the people and all the nationalities to be recognized.”
loannidis brought his family to California in 1969. Starting with 25 cents in his pocket, he went to work in a clothing factory. Within two years, he owned a home and had opened his own shop. Today, tapes of songs such as “God Bless America” play in the shop. And each year on April 21, the anniversary of his US citizenship, Nick the Greek digs into his own pocket to throw a party in honor of America’s lifeblood: immigrants of all races, creeds, and ethnic groups. “We immigrants have been accepted here in America like guests in a home,” he says. “We, in turn, have to give thanks to the USA and be good citizens. That’s my dream.” Dan IVilbalopou.