Tag Archives: San Francisco

Sacrifice (Hong Kong)

I remember one day coming home with soot and dust covering the shoulders of my coat from the pollution. My son once asked me, “Why did you leave China with such a good job to come to America? You work much harder here than back in China.” In China, I was considered upper class. I had a high income, lived ... Read More »

Craig Gibbs (New Zealand)

Craig was the first of his family to move from New Zealand and live in another country. He knew it was risky, but he was looking for opportunities that he couldn’t find in rural New Zealand. So he packed up all his belongings, which fit into only two suitcases, and left his friends and family behind him on a 6,500 ... Read More »

Navy Family Finds California Hospitable (Cayman Islands)

I was born in 1943 in Louisiana. I lived in a small yet prosperous neighborhood of mostly black families, one or two Mexican families. No white people. Similarly to all the scary stories that were told to the white people about us blacks, we heard many stories about the white people that made us on edge. One chant they used ... 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 »

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 »

Escaping Oppression

This is my great aunt currently.

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 »

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 »

La Venida (Guatemala)

It was very hot in there and we had to wait for 3 days inside this tank, not knowing when I would get to see the world. I was born in Guatemala, a little town called Chimaltenango, where farming is still the way to go. The only way of living is crops, with only my mother and my grandfather. I was ... Read More »

My Immigration

Gazing out to where the sun kisses the ocean, I slowly stepped into the shallow water, wanting its comfort one last time. I could see little fish swimming around my toes, schools of bright colors, many different shapes and sizes. The cool breeze gently tussled my hair. It felt nice. The familiar feeling of home. My name is Leali’ie’eiao Nofoaluma ... Read More »

Finding Gold Within; Leaving China When It Looked Safe To Go

My parents were afraid to file the paperwork necessary to immigrate because if anything went wrong, they could be severely punished by the government. “Where is all the gold?” I thought as my preconceptions about America were shattered and I dejectedly peered out the plane window at the end of my eighteen-hour flight to America from my hometown, Taishan, a ... Read More »

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