PHOENIX -- Immigration and the American Dream were central themes of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address.
"Our dream is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity," Obama, said.
A Valley couple said they are living proof that the American Dream Obama spoke of is alive and well. Dmitri and Luda Supruniuk won a green card lottery in '95 and moved to the U.S from Belarus (formerly Soviet Russia).
“We came here with two children – 2 years old and 4 months old – two suitcases and $2,000. That’s pretty much it,” Luda said.
In the ensuing years they became full-fledged American citizens. Dmitri earned his master’s degree in engineering at Arizona State University and began working as an engineer. As of three weeks ago, Luda was able to buy her very own hair salon. She is now the proud owner of Hair Flow in Gilbert.
“I wouldn't be able to open up my own beauty shop back in Russia,” she said. “It's a dream come true.”
The couple also owns their house, which they also helped build.
“When you see results and know you did it, it feels good,” Luda said before joking, “Now [Dmitri] goes, ‘we'll never sell this house [because] I put so much work into it.”'
Their kids are dreaming big, too. Their 19-year-old son, Ivan, is in community college now and wants to go to ASU for math and physics. Tatiana, 17, wants to go to U of A to become a surgeon.
“If she's willing to do it, work hard at it, she can become what she wants to be,” Luda said.
For now their youngest, 4-year-old Max, is just working on finishing his corn dogs and milk at dinner time. But his parents said whatever he chooses to do in life is possible to achieve.
“[America is] the land of opportunity. You can do what you want. Live your life, live your dream,” Luda said.