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Politics & Government
The Fourth of July is a time for family, fireworks, picnics, and pies.But it's also a time when many reflect on what it means to be an American.Here at Michigan Radio, we asked immigrants across Michigan what America means to them. Here are some of their stories.

Iranian-American works with war refugees, knows it could have been her

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Mark Brush
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Michigan Radio

In honor of July 4th, we asked immigrants across Michigan what America means to them. Linda Steinke shared her story with us.

Her family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s when her father had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.

"I feel I am free in this country... I have freedom and I am safe in this country."

Steinke is petite, with striking, honey-brown eyes. And these days she works as interpreter at medical appointments.

"I not only interpret the language, but I interpret the culture," Steinke explains.

She says she often sees the person she might have become - had she stayed in Iran - in the people she helps interpret for.

Many of them come from war-torn countries and suffer from war-related injuries.

Steinke says every day she feels grateful for the opportunity to be an American. 

"Being an American means that I am two people," she says. "I have two cultures. I can help two different worlds."

When asked her favorite part about being an American, she says, "I feel I am free in this country... I have freedom and I am safe in this country."

Listen to the full interview above.

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