Modern Immigration Status


Grant Okazaki

Three generations of family connected by a common purpose, love.

By Grant Okazaki, Staff Writer

I am the oldest son, of the youngest son, of the oldest son, of the oldest son; four generations long in America. I am grateful and understand of what it took to get from a poverty stricken Imperial Japan to the plantations of Hawaii. Each of us are made up of centuries of generations that managed to survive throughout time and history. Each individual decision culminated in the overall quality of life that encompassed each life and then passed down to each child who then lived their life to then pass it over to the next generation.

Why this is so important is because the issue of immigration has come to the forefront of recent topics expanding from this election season. Why are we as a country disallowing immigrants from populating our society and considering interning those who are already here? George Takei writes about his family’s life in an internment camp during WWII and how something similar might come about for Muslim’s in the years to come.

I’m starting to understand the hardships that my family had to go through with liberties we as Americans take for granted such as documentation of birth certificate’s, identification cards, passports, and I-9 immigration clearance forms to be able to legally work in United States.

My personal experience extends to a Micronesian family whose hopes of thriving here in Hawaii are a distant dream. But it is a dream nonetheless. Their hopes of an American Dream are challenged each day they live in a single family apartment in Wahiawa occupied by three families supporting seven children. Sisto and Atarina Asterio have become a second family to me through our time together working at Ichiriki nabe restaurant. I shared with them the dream of one day owning a home and living outside of the poverty economic line. Both of them can understand English but are not educated in the traditional United States sense. Their daughter Asarina is nine years old and has a proper third grade education. For Asarina’s birthday, I gave her a college dictionary so that she could be exposed to new words she has never heard of before. She enjoys reading and adding to her vocabulary each day. It’s like a new adventure with each passing page. There’s character in each of them adding to the qualities they have as human beings. I admire their love for one another without regard for their own sacrifice as a means of surviving in this modern world. With all this technology, one would think that it would be exponentially easier to live and thrive in a contemporary society but without the knowhow of how to operate within the society, they are left to my care and guidance for the support they need in order to continue through these tough times.

I hope that by helping the Asterio’s I can gain insight to the hardships that my family went through and know the value of what it means to be a civil American citizen. I can use this experience to strengthen my future responses towards impoverishment and lack of well being and quality of life. I hope that when you read this, you too can have an impact on someone else’s life in a big way.