A Dream Deferred for an Alhambra Chinese Youth

Sep. 25, 2012 / By

Alhambra Source, Commentary, Posted: Sep 25, 2012

My father, mother, and brother stare down at their rice bowls, and the dinner table falls silent except for the click of chopsticks on porcelain.*

How is it possible, at the age of 17, I could not have known? I’d been watching news stories about illegal immigrants for years. But the debate was always about the Mexican-American border, never about other countries.

I left Hong Kong when I was 4 years old, so I don’t understand everything my parents say in Cantonese, and they don’t understand everything that I say in English. My older brother facilitates any complex conversations. So when I tell my father I need my Social Security number to apply for financial aid, it’s my brother who must explain to me that I don’t have one: We are not legal immigrants.

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