In 1916, our great-grandfather, then known as Salvatore Fundaro, arrived by ship in New York from Alcamo, Sicily. At the age of 10, he was the oldest of 4 children arriving with his mother after a long voyage.
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His father had worked on the New York docks as a longshoreman for 2 years to save money and provide passage to the U.S. for his wife and children. This family was pursuing the “American dream” and was willing to take a great risk to seek a better life.
Salvatore’s father was accidentally killed on a New York pier. The family was devastated. With no money and unable to speak English, Salvatore’s mother sent the two girls to live with relatives. And the two boys to St. Vincent’s Orphanage in Brooklyn. Shortly thereafter, Salvatore’s mother also died.
Disgusted with his relatives for not taking care of him and his brother, Salvatore changed his name to Theodore Findaro. He greatly admired former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was an American hero. Essentially, he had “Americanized” his name and identity through this family crisis.
Like many immigrants of all socioeconomic backgrounds, Theodore was undeterred by his circumstances. He was a hard worker, an excellent student and maintained his faith and devotion to his family. And he developed job skills as a garment cutter in the garment industry, where he made his lifelong career. He was a master negotiator, whether buying clothes for his family or negotiating contracts as a union leader.
At the age of 19, Theodore married Clara Bucalo, the daughter of immigrants from Menfi, Sicily. He became a homeowner. Ultimately their son became a physician and their daughter a nurse. He loved God, his country, and American baseball. Nothing was more important to him than making sure his children and grandchildren were educated so they could create opportunities for others.
At age 23, Theodore became a U.S. citizen. This was one of the happiest days of his life. He carried the document with him for weeks flaunting to friends and colleagues. You can still see the creases on the certificate of citizenship.
In the year that Jack joined Visa Franchise, 100 years after his great-grandfather’s arrival, 6 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren are now thriving in the United States. We are all forever grateful for the trailblazing of our great grandfather and other family members who came from Italy as well as Ireland.
We recently claimed our right to Italian citizenship*. We were quite fortunate our father had gone through the process a few years ago. It has already come in handy on a recent trip to London where we saved hours going through the EU immigration line.
Many countries have visa-free travel for Italians such as Brazil whereas with an American passport you need a visa.
In the end, it provides flexibility for travel, living, work, and studies, not just for me but for future generations.
Like our great grandfather Theodore’s family, modern-day immigrants are seeking a better life for their families when exploring a move to the USA. At Visa Franchise we are carrying out the spirit of our ancestors In helping foreigners find investment opportunities, jobs, education, security, and overall better lives for their families.
*In light of the recent economic and political crisis in Brazil, many of our Brazilian friends and clients are seeking their Italian citizenship. They mostly start this arduous process to recognize their right to citizenship because Italy has a treaty of commerce and trade allowing for the E-2 investor visa. This investor visa permits a foreigner to live and work in the U.S. renewable every 5 years. Many of them have great-grandparents born in Italy as is the case with our family.
(1) E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a national of a “treaty country” – a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation – to reside in the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business (generally >$150,000)
(2) EB-5 visa requires at least a $500,000 investment in a U.S. business that creates at least ten (10) jobs for U.S. citizens or green cardholders in the first two (2) years. Investors may either start their businesses as active investors or invest in designated Regional Centers as passive investors