For different reasons and ways, every year people around the world move to and settle in America.
Why do people come to this country? If you look at it closely, people come to America because they might be trying to find a new opportunity for living. They might be looking for freedom because they were not treated well in their own country. Some people may just come to experience different cultures and lifestyles. These people who come and settle here are called immigrants.
Most immigrants who come to this country have a dream or a desire to do or have something better. They come to America to make their dream come true. That is why I call America “The Dream Factory.”
In my life, I have a chance to understand immigrants and how they make their American Dream or desire come true. My mom and her brother Jin are two immigrants out of many others from all over the world. They came from Taiwan. Both of them have very different experiences about their American Dream.
By talking to Uncle Jin, I understand that during the 1980s, many Taiwanese believed that students had to go overseas, seeking higher education that will be more helpful and useful for their futures. America would be the first choice for them. So, after Uncle Jin finished college in Taiwan, he decided to come to America so he could continue studying computer technology. When he finally earned his PhD in computer science, he decided to extend his American Dream. Twenty-five years have passed by. Now he lives in California, has a great job that he is interested in, a nice house with two smart kids and a lovely wife. Life for him is sweet and great. He said, “Immigrating to America made my dream bigger.” He never regrets that he settled in this country.
His sister, who happens to be my mom, has a slightly different perspective. Every night when my mom and I look up at the sky, she tells me, “How pretty it is! It never looked like this in Taipei. The sky full of stars seems so big and bright, you can almost reach out with your hands and touch the stars.” My mom tells me, “If I didn’t immigrate to America and move to this island, I would never know there is such a beautiful land in the world.” She had never been so close to nature when she was in the city. She said, “I enjoy listening to the ocean and the noise from the coqui frogs every night.” For my mom, the quiet, peaceful, and relaxing life of nature’s beauty is perfect for reaching her American dream.
Uncle Jin and my mom are two immigrants, two very successful cases. They feel lucky to have their American Dream come true in this American Dream Factory.
A lot of immigrants have endured difficult times to fit in. They have given up families and communities back in their homelands. They have used up all their life savings and often risked their lives to come to America. So, next time, pay attention, I’m sure you’ll find immigrants all around you. Open your arms to accept and welcome them from all around the world. You can help make their American Dream come true. By doing so, you will find your own lives as enriched as I have.
© American Immigration Council 2014