Category Archives: Came from

Escaping My Own Darkness

Orlando was one of the presenters at our “Walk of DREAMers” storytelling event on April 23, 2017. An excellent student who received a full scholarship to one the most prestigious universities in the country, he still fell victim to a deep depression. He was haunted by the difficult feelings and challenges that arise for many undocumented “Dreamers.” Below is his ... Read More »

Emanuelo (Italy)

My family’s most recent immigration story occurred so long ago that, when interviewed, my mother had to recount the number of “greats” that came before grandfather. My great-great-great grandfather, Emanuelo Oliva, was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1840, and immigrated to the United States with his family, including his three brothers. The family eventually made their way across the country to California, ... Read More »

Working Towards a Better Future

San Joaquín, Municipio de Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco

I was born on June 21, 1967 into a family of 13 who all crammed into a two bedroom house in San Joaquín, Municipio de Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco. I was given the name Jose Luis Reynoso. I lived in un rancho[a ranch] called La Colonia where four other tiny houses recited on a large desert plane. Our house was ... Read More »

Americhina: The Immigration Story of Y. L. Chew

Photo of Y. L. Chew at her home in San Leandro, California, taken circa 2016.

Imagine a woman—40-years-old yet unmarried—in a country that does not recognize her hardships, a country only recently recognized by the United States. Imagine having lived there for her whole life, persecuted by nearly everyone around her, and known by no one in the journey that lies ahead of her. This was China in 1981, a year of great uncertainties and ... Read More »

The Success Through Struggles (Philippines)

“I cannot live like this anymore, we cannot live like this anymore, we have to do something about this,” I said to myself as I look at my struggling family. This marked the start of our pursuit of happiness in America. My name is Doris Perez, and I was born and raised in the Philippines. I met my husband here ... Read More »

A Hell Within Heaven (Iran)

Some immigrants might say, how do you fight against a force with no morals, no boundaries, the shadow to encumber the light of liberty, the ICEberg to sink the ship of freedom, the assassin of the American dream? Life back in Iran was a calm one, with slowly rising tension. Even though war was on the rise, the dream to ... Read More »

It was Just a Normal Day (Mexico)

We arrived at the beach and I was extremely happy and excited, and at that point I didn’t know we were crossing. I thought it was a normal day… until I got the news that my friend was pregnant. Little did I know that was the day my life was going to change forever. My name is Joanna. I was ... Read More »

The Life of A Hidden Soul

Editor’s note: Slavery is an integral part of the American story and those who were forced to come to the US in chains, are no less immigrants than any other group. Not only was their freedom taken, but in many cases, their personal family history was lost. On this web site of immigration stories, we pick up their descendants’ story ... Read More »

From the South Pacific to Shoreview

I was darker than most, as were my kids, and had often gone through numerous racial encounters. I had been called ‘nigger’ or ‘bum’ by people who didn’t want to hire me or even by people on the street as I walked by with my children. I was born in Niuatoputapu, Tonga. It’s a small island and one of the ... Read More »

Starting off Fresh (Tonga)

Knowing that I would start a new life, my mind and heart continued to push me forward, making me actually do it while my feet were trying to stop. Which led me to today, knowing that if I had never come here, I would never be who I am right now. My name is Sylvia Wolfgramm and I was born in ... Read More »

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