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Immigrants and Obits

Patricia Sullivan

We're a country of immigrants, from those who crossed into North America across the Bering Straits to those who arrived with H1-B visas this morning. What's often impressive is how much immigrants accomplish once they get to the U.S.

I noticed a handful of obits lately that spell this out:
Kenneth Takemoto, a virologist at the National Institutes of Health who researched viruses associated with human cancers, and Pho Ba Long, who ran entrepreneurial business training classes for other immigrants. Then, there are the countless children of immigrants who had their own travails, including Jewish refugees from the Holocaust to the Nisei who were locked up in American internment camps during World War II.

That bit of history hit home for me about 15 years ago, when I was writing about a housing development that planned to build a golf resort on land where a Justice Department camp in Missoula, Mont. once stood. A year or two later, in San Francisco, I met a Japanese-American woman who asked where I was from. "Oh, I know Missoula," she said. "My grandfather was interned there during World War II."

By Patricia Sullivan |  March 11, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan
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