True Immigrant Tales: Vietnamese Boat People

[In 1979, tens of thousands of Vietnamese boat people, many of them actually Chinese, fled the communists in flimsy, overcrowded boats. Many drowned or were killed by pirates, but several hundred thousand reached refugee camps in other countries. Here is one refugee’s story; he came to the U.S. in 1980 at age 17.] “Our boat … More True Immigrant Tales: Vietnamese Boat People

True Immigrant Tales: “I Was Weak in the Knees”

      [Louis Adamic was a prominent Slovene-American writer who migrated to America in December 1913 at age 15.] “Now and then I glanced at the noisy, picturesque, garlicky crowd on the steerage deck; people of perhaps a dozen nationalities milling around the capstans and steam-hissing winches, pushing toward the rails straining and stretching, … More True Immigrant Tales: “I Was Weak in the Knees”

True Immigrant Stories: Young Teenager at Ellis Island

[This is another true immigrant story from my oral history collection, gathered as part of my research for the historical novel, Guardians of the Gate.  In 1925 at age 13, Heinz sailed alone from Bremen to live with his aunt and uncle in the United States. “We arrived on Election Day and our ship was … More True Immigrant Stories: Young Teenager at Ellis Island

True Immigrant Stories: Her Father and his “Palace”

[This is another true story from my oral histories collection of immigrants who came through Ellis Island as part of my research for my historical novel,Guardians of the Gate. Elzbieta came from Russia in 1923 at age 15.] The closer we came to the United States, the better we felt after being so dizzy and … More True Immigrant Stories: Her Father and his “Palace”

True Immigrant Stories; A Teenager at Ellis Island

This true story is from my immigrant oral histories collection when I was researching for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate, about Ellis Island in the 1890s. Because of the emotional level in his narration—even when he retold his story 65 years later—I’ll let Wilhelm tell the story in his own words.] “I came … More True Immigrant Stories; A Teenager at Ellis Island

Immigration Then and Now

Last week’s blog—about the 1890s immigration setting of Guardians of the Gate compared to today—promised next time to give some surprising facts about the impact of immigrants on American society, both past and present.  Here goes. Demographers measure the immigration impact in different eras by using an immigration rate.  Similar to other rates—the crime rate, … More Immigration Then and Now