Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao immigrated to the United States on a cargo ship in 1961, when she was 8 years old. The trip from Taiwan took a month. It was no easy passage.
“My sister fell ill during the ocean journey,” she told me on a recent afternoon in her spacious office, a short walk from the U.S. Capitol. “Seventeen hundred nautical miles, there were no doctors on board and my mother sat up for three nights and three days, just continuously soaking my sister’s body, little body, with cold water” to break her fever.