Irina VanPatten


Irina VanPatten is a writer who immigrated from an Eastern European country called Moldova. She writes about immigrants in America, their experiences and their issues, in publications oriented to the minority communities.

One of them is the Romanian-language magazine published in the US, Hora in America. She is also a contributing writer to the Diaspora page in Ziarul de Garda, an independent Romanian-language publication, where she talks about issues of the diasporas around the world. She has also been published in local newspapers like Herald and Seattle Stranger.

She contributes to nonprofit organizations that provide help to immigrants, like Northwest Immigration Rights Project and supports initiatives on voting rights for minorities from the League of Women Voters. She is active in her diaspora, and participates in conferences that discuss a multitude of issues, which the diaspora is dealing with. At the same time, she advocates for immigrants to give back to their respective communities in any way possible: by sharing their knowledge, their network connections and their resources.

All her previous work paved the way for her book Welcome to America, Welcome Home, that she put together by interviewing over 30 people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives on immigration. This is a guide on how to deal with various immigration issues in America, which she hopes will give the answers to many questions that various communities may have.


Being an immigrant in America is never easy. Everything is different from where we came from: the language, the culture, the traditions. We are anxious, frightened, unsure, but at the same time brave. It is courageous to take a leap of faith and dive into the unknown, alone or with our families and kids alongside. New start, new opportunities but also new responsibilities: learn the language, integrate, but keep true to your own traditions. So much to do, so much to strive for, but where to even begin?

Welcome to America, Welcome Home is a book that tries to answer these questions by relying on other people’s experiences. Advice from immigration and criminal lawyers, business owners, financial advisers, police officers, medical researchers, psychologists, language professors, charity workers, civil rights activists, it’s all in here.

At the same time, the human stories that we all can relate to: the refugees, work migrants, and even of the kids of immigrants are also here.



For every question there is an answer. For every problem there is a solution. Do you know what’s easier – finding a regular job or starting a small business? Do you know your rights? Do you know how to do get your voice heard and stand up for your rights? You can find the answers by going through these issues one chapter at a time.


The real life encyclopedia from immigration experts and immigrants’ experiences told with humor and heart.

    • Language imperfections, accents, cultural differences are not a barrier but an asset.
    • How to work within your community to get your first American job.
    • What suits you best: your own small business, a start-up or a traditional job?
    • You have rights: advice from immigration and other lawyers.
    • What to do in case of emergency if you don’t speak English.
    • How to become an active citizen by being engaged in your community’s needs and lobby for your rights.
    • Civic engagement tips from local activists.
    • How the immigrant kids deal with issues of immigration.
    • How to keep your traditions alive.
    • No matter how difficult the circumstances, there are established institutions, nonprofit organizations, charities, and regular citizens of good will, that help immigrants to succeed in America.