According to the 2011 A.C.S, there were an estimated 40.4 million immigrants in the United States. That is about 13% of the entire population in this country. About 45% of those immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens. Illegal immigration is a huge issue in this country, and the laws are constantly changing. A lot of people are very much against allowing immigrants to be here, reasons ranging from believing that immigrants take our jobs to simply not liking them. But what if we were in there shoes? Do people actually stop and think about that? People come here for opportunity, and sometimes to escape places where their lives would be lived in fear. I know a man named Sony, who is a legal citizen now, but emigrated here from Vietnam. He agreed to answer some questions for me about his experience.
Me: How old are you?
Sony: 49 years old
Me: How old were you when you came to the United States?
Sony: 10 years old
Me: Why did you come to this country?
Sony: Communists were taking over and the country was at war. It was not safe and there was no opportunity for us there.
Me: Who did you come here with?
Sony: My aunt and uncle
Me: What about your parents?
Sony: My mom had to stay there.
Me: Obviously you didn’t know anyone here, so what did you do about a place to stay and food when you got here?
Sony: There was a church that provided assistance until we could get on our feet. And then I started school right away.
Me: What was the biggest challenge for you at school?
Sony: The worst thing was that I had to run home from school almost every day or I would get beat up. And I had to learn to speak English.
Me: How long did it take you to learn to speak English?
Sony: About a year. I learned mostly by watching cartoons.
Me: How far in school did you go and how were your grades?
Sony: I graduated from high school with a 4.0
Me: What has been your biggest overall challenge?
Sony: Finding a job and fitting in.
Me: Have you ever been back to Vietnam?
Me: Do you have kids?
Me: Do they know your story and what you went through to be here?
Sony: No, I will tell them when they are older.