Opinion

Korean-American learns new concept

I first heard about and considered the immigration issue in 1995. That is when I immigrated to this country.

It was a new concept because I was taught that being a nation with only one bloodline is a great value, as I grew up in Korea. Our elementary school textbooks taught us: “We are one people for 5,000 years. This is our pride!”

Immigration issues and racism were not major social issues in Korea back in 1995.

However, shortly after I left the country, Korea opened for globalization and there was an influx of foreign laborers from many other countries. We had to accept the value of multiculturalism instead of focusing on ethnic unity.

The change created new social issues, much like those facing the United States.

In the past, people immigrated to this great country mostly for economic reasons. There was a time when people who immigrated to America were envied by their family members and friends, regardless of their situation once they got here. However, I see that recent immigrants are more educated than in the past. They even bring wealth to this country.

Immigrants work in unpleasant industries to make their living. They operate small businesses. Some are even employed by local companies. In all these situations, immigration makes America more culturally and economically rich.

This country consists of people from many different countries. Among many American families there is an immigrant ancestry. Cultures and values that they brought are already established into this country. Nevertheless, many find it is easy to say that immigration has a negative effect on American culture. It does not seem to bring instant benefits into mainsteam culture.

However, just like old immigrants took time to fit in this country, current immigrants, including those from Asian countries, will add new great values and cultural richness into America, as time passes. To me that is what makes America the greatest country.

It seems that immigration brings more complexity, but after all, we grow to share more similarities as Americans.

Oksu Ellis is a Federal Way resident. Send comments to

editor@fedwaymirror.com.

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