Name Date Course Section/# Immigration to Dreams – Struggle and Reality Asian history has been as turbulent as any other continent’s history of the world. It is not easy for people to leave behind their roots, culture, societal comfort and identities and to migrate to any other country and society…
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In this essay we are going to compare and contrast the immigration history of two Asian communities to America, which are Chinese and Japanese. These immigrations took place when America was described as ‘New World’ and ‘Land of opportunities’. However it was definitely an uphill task for these two communities to find home in America. Fighting the disparities these communities have settled themselves well in America only to be a significant section of the community and American society. Reasons for immigration Because of opium wars and end anarchical rule of Qing dynasty China lost its identity as an independent nation and was reduced to a semi-feudal colony of European powers. This drove the masses in rural and central China to look for new opportunities in order to earn money and a stable life. Chinese were not averse to hard labor but wanted good results for the hard work put in. During this time the California Gold Rush on the west coast of America had begun. The mining of precious metal required labor which was proving to be expensive with the available white labor. Hence initially America welcomed the influx of Chinese labor on the west coast. In fact it is noted that American supervisors and companies were initially skeptical of these thin immigrants who physically did not look strong and sturdy at all. However over a period of time Chinese labor proved that they were strong and capable of handling the strenuous physical work. Companies who initially opposed the idea of recruiting Chinese immigrants later asked for more immigrants to join the work force, thus bringing in more population from China. The railroad construction which followed the mining business again proved to be a major work opportunity to Chinese people to come to America. Other businesses such as agriculture, laundry, fisheries also benefitted from the influx of Chinese people to America. Japanese economy’s transition to modern economy was not smooth. Japanese were struggling to keep their heads above the water and float. Large scale unemployment, bankruptcies and civil disorders forced Japanese population to leave their roots behind and look for opportunities elsewhere. Hawaiian sugar industry which was booming attracted Japanese to the state. Like Chinese immigrants, Japanese were also looked upon with skepticism by Americans (Harold et al 65). Hence Chinese settled on the west coast Japanese started with the Hawaii islands. Looking at the reasons of both ethnic groups there are a lot similarities observed. Both groups left country of origin because of political and social unrest and moved for better opportunities in terms of money, societal conditions and better future. Angel Island The gateway to America for Asians was Angel Island located in San Francisco bay. Angel Island was used to deport and detain people coming from China, Japan, India, Thailand, Philippines and all other countries from Asia and South East Asia. Ellis Island which was used as an immigration office for European population was faster in process (Werner 27). There were not many questions asked to the immigrants at Ellis Island and the maximum waiting period was hours to a day. While on Angel Island the conditions were exactly opposite. The detaining period could range from two days to two years. The conditions were deplorable and people staying at Angel Island were reduced to despair and depression. Chinese immigrants ...
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