by Linh Chuong. This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.
In 1986, my dad was forced to flee Vietnam because of persecution. He came to the United States as a refugee and was relocated to Oakland along with my three older brothers. As a child, I remained in Vietnam with my mother and three siblings, and my father filed paperwork to bring the rest of my family to the United States so we could be together again. We spent almost a decade apart before we were reunited as a family in East Oakland eight years later.
Our first Vietnamese New Year together in eight years was one of the most memorable moments of my life. Vietnamese New Year is a time for family reunions and for preparing for the year ahead with your loved ones. We eagerly awaited our red envelopes, we made delicious new years dishes, and I wished a year of good health, prosperity, and longevity to my dad and mom, who I had not seen together in eight years. We were overjoyed when our family grew, and we welcomed my baby sister into the world in Oakland a short time later.
Only in the United States can a son of a refugee receive a world class education and work for top companies, and I am grateful for all these opportunities. I started a management consulting practice business and could not have done so without the unwavering support from my parents and brothers and sisters.
Starting a business is a very personal experience. It is a family experience. I bounced ideas off of my family members, and they helped me to hone in on the right ideas that serve as the foundation for my business. Family members provide you initial funding to launch your ideas and turn them into action. I could not have done it alone. With their support, I have had the opportunity to work with the latest technology innovations and introduce high-value startups to government agencies.
I support the family-based immigration system because it gives families the opportunity to be together and to contribute to this land of opportunity. Without the family-based immigration system, I would not be here, and my family’s support is the foundation from which I have built a successful business.
Learn more about SEARAC’s immigration policy work, and download SEARAC’s family-based immigration fact sheet.