Leng Leng’s Story

I’m the only one (in my immediate family) here. I came in 1993 from Singapore to go to college. I only stayed because I fell in love (with my now-husband). When we got pregnant, we had nobody, and it was lonesome. I was working a minimum wage job since I left grad school, caregiving for my child, and going to work. I had a c-section but I didn’t take all my leave because I couldn’t afford to, so I went back to work four weeks after I left work.

I’m super close to my sister, and she was the only one who wanted to come to America and live closer to me. My sister lives and works in Beijing, we are both on our own, so over the years we talked about where we are going to end up when we get older.  

She decided she wanted to come to America and we applied for her visa almost 10 years ago, and when we processed we were told it would be a 15-17 year wait based on the date. Based on date for visa, she will be in her 60s before the process gets started. It’s still a long process. There’s still no guarantee she will be able to come. The wait period is not a confirmation.

We have kind of given up home of her coming. I feel like we have almost given up hope that she will ever be able to come.

We were very hopeful because we thought immigration system was changing and Dreamers were coming up and there was a lot of movement in the immigration work. When Obama got elected we were even more helpful that the backlog got taken care of.  We didn’t have any other choice. I’m her only connection so it’s not like she can come here any way. We even considered could she start a business? We don’t have that kind of money to invest in a business visa.

What I want to see changed with how people view immigrants is everyone should have autonomy with how they want to live their life to the fullest. If your family was not from here, you would never have to experience the pain and separation. For people who have never gone through an immigration process or having to be separated from their family, I wish general population would have more compassion.

I also think growing up in Asian culture family is so core to our culture that the values of family we did not grow up in individualistic society, everything revolves around family, so for us it is even harder.

Leng Leng family photo.jpg