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Vindman discusses his immigrant background in impeachment opening statement

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman discussed his family's decision to immigrate to the U.S. from Ukraine during his opening statement in Tuesday's impeachment hearing.

What he's saying: Vindman told his father that his testimony is "proof that [he] made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union ... in search of a better life for our family."

What he said:

"Next month will mark 40 years since my family arrived in the United States as refugees. When my father was 47 years old, he left behind his entire life and the only home he had ever known to start over in the United States so that his three sons could have better and safer lives. His courageous decision inspired a deep sense of gratitude in my brothers and myself and instilled in us a sense of duty and service. All three of us have served or are currently serving in the military. ... Our collective military service is a special part of our family’s story in America.
I also recognize that my simple act of appearing here today, just like the courage of my colleagues who have also truthfully testified before this committee, would not be tolerated in many places around the world. In Russia, my act of expressing concern to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions and offering public testimony involving the President would surely cost me my life. I am grateful for my father’s brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.
Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth."

Go deeper: Live updates from the Vindman-Williams impeachment hearing