Your US passport has a hidden -- and powerful -- message about immigrants

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Open a U.S. passport and you'll see soaring, patriotic images: eagles and buffalo, Mount Rushmore and the Liberty Bell. Pages are topped with quotes from the likes of Presidents George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt.

But among these well-known names and images is a quote from a lesser-known figure: former Democratic New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman.

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"It is immigrants who brought to this land the skills of their hands and brains to make it a beacon of opportunity and hope for all men," he said, as one passport page shows.

Now, because there are several versions of U.S. passports currently in use by the public, your passport might or might not contain the Lehman quote.

The quote came from testimony Lehman gave before a House subcommittee in 1947 — and it was first added to U.S. passports as part of a redesign for passports issued after 2004, a State Department official told Mic in an email.

Lehman himself was born to German Jewish immigrant parents in New York City in 1878. He came of age in a New York City teeming with immigrants, which had seen wave after wave of new arrivals pass through Ellis Island.

29 PHOTOS
Historical photos of immigrants traveling through Ellis Island
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Historical photos of immigrants traveling through Ellis Island

An Italian family with their baggage, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A Slovakian grandmother, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

Newcomers being interviewed, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A Jewish immigrant, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

An immigrant family, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

Immigrants climbing stairs, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A Jewish grandmother, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A group of immigrants, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

Slavic mothers with a child, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A family of seven sons and one daughter, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A Slavic immigrant, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

A woman and two children, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

An immigrant woman, 1904

(Photo by Lewis Hine via the New York Public Library)

Deported Hungarian gypsies in 1905.

(Photo by Augustus Sherman via the New York Public Library)

(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
(Photo via Augustus Sherman via New York Public Library)
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Succeeding his close friend Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York in 1932, Lehman advocated for public housing and unemployment relief, among other social programs: He once said that government should "concern itself with the solution of human as well as material problems."

As the U.S. faced the rising threat of fascism in Europe, Lehman asked Roosevelt — who had gone on to become president — to take special measures to help save more European Jewish refugees, to no avail. Roosevelt would not move to let Jewish refugees into the country, citing national security concerns and the possibility that some might be German spies.

But Lehman remained committed to the cause of aiding refugees.

In 1942, during World War II, he chose not to run for re-election, and resignedas Governor of New York to take a new position heading the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations, where he led programs assisting refugees escaping Axis powers.

As for his quote?

The State Department official we interviewed couldn't offer any insight to Mic on how or why the quotes that decorate U.S. passports were chosen.

But Lehman's words, tucked away in the passports of millions of Americans, reads as especially poignant right now: following President Donald Trump's recent executive order banning Syrian refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from immigrating to the United States.

It serves as a reminder that America is shaped by all her people: those native to the land, those who came by force as slaves — and those who arrived as immigrants or refugees.

34 PHOTOS
Protests erupt throughout US cities over Trump immigration ban
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Protests erupt throughout US cities over Trump immigration ban
Demonstrators gather in Copley Square for the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
Demonstrators yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Sarah Ijaz joins the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
BOSTON - JANUARY 29: People hold signs as they march from Copley Square to the Mass. State House in Boston on Jan. 29, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Muslim women pray during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" protesting U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
People gather to pray in baggage claim during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
Eight year-old Esma, an Irish-Moroccan-American, prays with other Muslim women during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" protesting U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Demonstrators spell out "# No Muslim Ban" during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Izzy Berdan (R) joins the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Muslim women pray during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" protesting U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Muslim women pray during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" protesting U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Demonstrators gather in Copley Square for the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
An activist holds a sign outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Samah Mansur, from Egypt, takes part in the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
People gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
BOSTON - JANUARY 29: People hold signs as they gather in Copley Square in Boston on Jan. 29, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JANUARY 29: People gather in Copley Square in Boston on Jan. 29, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29: Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., speaks with an ACLU legal observer during the protest at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Protests erupted at airports around the country following President Trump's executive order restricting travel from several Islamic countries. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: A protester holds up a sign that reads, 'Banning Immigrants is UnAmerican!,' as she stands with others at the Miami International Airport against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Protesters stand together at the Miami International Airport against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Susan Barimo joins with other protesters as they stand together at the Miami International Airport against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
People gather outside Terminal 4 during a protest against Donald Trump's travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
International travelers walk past protestors holding signs as they protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
Protesters at Discovery Green Park during Super Bowl events in Houston, Texas, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Trish Badger
Dozens of pro-immigration demonstrators cheer and hold sign as international passengers arrive at Dulles International Airport, to protest President Donald Trump's executive order baring visitors, refugees and immigrants from certain countries to the United States, in Chantilly, Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
Activists march to the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Activists march to the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Activists gather at the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
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