This has become an annual update about Vietnamese emigration to the U.S. As I mentioned in a May 2012 post entitled Vietnam is a “Top Ten” Country in Another Category, Vietnam ranked 8th among all countries sending young people to study in the U.S. and 7th in another (unlikely), according to US Department of Homeland Security FY 2011 statistics: immigration.
I also noted that from 2002-2011 304,860 Vietnamese emigrated to the U.S. from 2002-2011, more than the population of Đà Lạt in the Central Highlands.) Most are from the South and have relatives in the U.S., those who had some sort of connection with the former South Vietnam and who left Vietnam in several waves of emigration.
Fast forward to FY 2012. According to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics report entitled U.S. Legal Permanent Residents (PDF): 2012, just over 1 million people became legal permanent residents (LPRs), or “green card” recipients, last year. Of those, 28,304, or 2.7%, were Vietnamese.
As I pointed out in last year’s post, this is one reason why it is difficult to obtain a visa because many young people do in fact attempt to use the F-1 as a means of emigrating rather than filing an immigration petition, sitting back and waiting (very patiently) for the bureaucratic wheels to turn. Other issues include students who may not know their parents had filed an immigrant petition on behalf of their family or who know and fail to mention it at the interview. Both are likely to result in a denial.
Yet another issue is students who promise that they will return home, work in the family business and “contribute to the development of the country.” While they mean it at the time of the visa interview and not just say it to jump through a legal hoop that consular officers try to enforce, “life happens.” They become truly bilingual and bicultural, find a great job, fall in love, whatever. Emigration is ultimately a personal decision.
One stark reality that the U.S. government has begun to recognize, including in statements made by President Obama, is that the country needs a certain percentage of international graduates to emigrate. Its population is graying (median age: 37.2) and It needs foreign-born, U.S.-educated and trained professionals in fields that U.S. Americans are not entering in sufficient numbers.
Bonus: Note the other 19 countries on the list. Most have large and well-established immigrant communities in the U.S., quite a few are among the “top ten” countries for study in the U.S. and/or are experiencing poverty, instability and war due to internal causes or the result of U.S. intervention and interference (e.g., Iraq). For more about the latter, check out Linh Dinh’s 2010 essay House Slave Syndrome, which begins thus:
A recent article declares, “Tired of war, thousands of Iraqis want to go to U.S.” What it fails to mention is who triggered all the bloodshed. Who made conditions in Iraq so intolerable that these people must flee?
You know who. Over and over again, the U.S. has instigated mayhem or carnage overseas, generating thousands if not millions of refugees, many of whom longing to escape, paradoxically, it seems, to the source of their suffering. You beat and humiliate me, so can I move in?