Yang Chen

I met Yang Chen at his Quality Auto Body garage in Silver Spring, Maryland. He came to America from China in 1988. He takes care of Earl Dotter’s car.  His employees are either from China or Central America. He told me in his cluttered office, “I had a hard time getting a job, worked at a restaurant, until I discovered the help classifieds in the Washington Post. When I started my own body shop I worked until 11 or 12 at night. I like America because it is fair. Nobody asks for money under the table. My three kids went to the University of Maryland to study engineering.“

Like Chen, the foreign-born are more confident that hard work gets you ahead. They are more sure than American-born parents (70% to 47%) that their children will prosper. Those recently arriving tend to match better with American role models. More speak English, in part because more have learned some English before arrival. They are more educated than the average new immigrant of 20 years ago.

© Photo by Earl Dotter

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