Being Chinese

I believe that we all have something to say about Immigration.  It’s a tricky issue to deal with and it has not changed. Here is my experience.

I am Canadian Chinese. At least that’s what I thought.  I was born in Vancouver, Canada and grew up there. In the early 60’s I applied for a U.S. student visa and proceeded to fill out all the necessary papers. An immigration officer looked it over and said that I would have to wait.  I couldn’t figure out why so I asked him.  He said that I had to go under the Chinese quota, the same as the newly arrived Chinese who wanted to go to the States.  “What? Why do I have to go under the Chinese quota when I was born here, and have never ever been to China, not even on a trip?” He explained, “It doesn’t matter.  You might be born here but you’re Chinese first and that’s all there is to it.”  I stared at the grey-haired man and knew that I wasn’t getting anywhere and then he said, “The wait shouldn’t be too long.” I breathed a sigh of relief and was hopeful but then he said, “The quota is limited to only about 100 people or so.  You only have to wait year or so. ” I walked away defeated knowing it wasn’t going to happen.


About valerieleeworks

Author of The Jade Rubies and A Long Way to Death Row, from many years of candid interviews with Charles Chi-tat Ng
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