During the first wave of Vietnamese immigration, highly-skilled and educated Vietnamese migrated to the United States upon the Fall of Saigon. Most of them had intimate ties with Americans and/or the Republic of Vietnam and thus feared communist retaliation. During the second wave, Vietnamese from predominantly rural and uneducated backgrounds fled Vietnam by boats to escape the distressing political and economical conditions of the new regime. During the third wave, children of American servicemen, newly released former prisoners of re-education camps, and family members of now Vietnamese-Americans were sponsored to come to the United States in order to reunite with other family members.
These three waves have resulted in Vietnamese Americans becoming the third largest group amongst Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Vietnamese Americans were only outnumbered by Chinese and Filipino Americans according to the 2006 American Community Survey.
And still, numerous Vietnamese are coming to America in the 21st century. Why? What are the compelling reason(s) for Vietnamese to leave their motherland to come and rebuild a livelihood in a foreign country?
Is it still for family reunification? The legal process usually requires up to ten years for a citizen to sponsor relative(s) with underage children to resettle in America. There are exceptions, such as for sponsoring elderly parents. This, however, does not seem very beneficial as most sponsored relative(s) would be relatively older by the time they can come, so it seems that the benefit here would only be for the younger children.
Are these individuals coming to America because of the perceived notion that America is paradise – where food, jobs, money, entertainment, and standards of living amongst others are aplenty? Is this a misconception based on oversea Vietnamese Americans being able to send money back home? Is this a misconception based on oversea Vietnamese Americans being able to vacation in Vietnam while flashing more so-called “bling”? Or, maybe, comparatively, America is paradise, and these individuals will not be disillusioned.
Or, is it still due to distressing political and economical conditions? Or, perhaps, the conditions are not as distressing, but conceivably, the new youths of Vietnam are relocating to the United States to seek educational and/or employment opportunities that may not be as abundantly available in their homeland.
What are the reason(s) that still motivate Vietnamese to come to and even stimulate some to illegally stay in America?