1. How does your experience in the U.S. compare to one of the immigrant stories in “The New Americans”?
As an immigrant, I have noticed that there is a high level of congruence between some of the characters presented by Martinez in the book and my life. I have undergone a high number of experiences that some of these individuals have gone through. On my journey to the US, I was seeking the American Dream just like Naima. It involved getting access to the world of opportunities where individual rights are respected (Martinez 67). I saw chaos in my home country after many conflicts that had occurred there leaving a lot of people hopeless and desperate. Once in the US, I focused on making American friends with the aim of improving my security and acceptance. Except for them, the majority of citizens looked down upon non-natives perceiving them as being of the lower level.
Just like Naima, leaving my country meant leaving many of my relatives and friends behind. It was a time that tore down the family security and sense of belonging that had lived among us for years. In the new land, I had to put some of my dreams aside especially after realizing the differential treatment of migrants and nonimmigrants. Despite this fact, I used academics to bridge the gap existing between foreigners and natives in terms of financial capability.
2. How does your economic class impact your life in the U.S.? What privileges or disadvantages do you encounter due to your economic status?
There are a number of factors that influence my economic status in the United States of America. To start with, the non-natives are, in many cases, segregated to do low paying jobs. Due to that, I have been left making not as much money as native individuals who have the same level of qualifications and skills as I do. One should note that the Constitution guarantees the equality for everyone irrespective of their color or race. Nevertheless, the provisions of the US Constitution are not always upheld. This results in a situation where the American Dream as well as the perception of immigrants who move to the United States is entirely different from what immigrants experience once they get into the country.
The discrimination of immigrants together with a long period that they spend in the camps before they are allowed in the country especially among those seeking asylum leaves such individuals in deplorable conditions. The inequality in the levels of access to the employment between the natives and the immigrants creates significant economic disparities between these two groups of people. Economically, I, thus, do feel that my opportunities are more constrained as compared to those who are natives in the United States of America.
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3. How does your gender impact your life in the U.S.? Are there cultural expectations placed on you because of your gender? Give two examples.
Gender discrimination often affects the future as well as the being of different individuals in various countries. As far as I am an immigrant myself, I can state that gender differences have significantly influenced the overall life of many incomers. I have often seen a close friend of mine and relatives who have found it difficult to gain legal status just because they are females. Personally, I experienced a high level of delay when seeking the family reunion in the United States of America. In the US, it is clear that some of the natives have shown bias to me in some cases just because am not one of them. However, white men also discriminate against white women just because they are females. While there has been increasing empowerment of women by laws on anti-discrimination and equal employment opportunities, I have observed some signs of these phenomena in public places including the bus stops. There is, thus, a low level of assimilation of natives in the American society.
4. How accessible has public education been for you in this country? What are the challenges you have faced in the public education system?
Today, the access to education has significantly improved among the immigrants. It is no longer the days when whites and blacks were disallowed to mix and obtain equal academic opportunities. The Constitution offers everyone the same right to education in United States of America. In spite of it, there is a difference in terms of quality of knowledge that these two population groups have access to. For instance, in my early years, I was forced to join an institution that I can consider as below standard in quality just because I lacked sufficient resources to enter a better one. This indicates that while the law guarantees equal access, economic disparities maintain the inequality.
5. How does your overall experience in or with the U.S. differ from your parents or the previous generation in your family?
While there has not been total integration of immigrants in the US, it is evident that a lot has improved over the years. There is a very minimal level of discrimination between natives and the incomers. This has enhanced significantly the individuals’ standards of living in the United States of America. In the past, non-US citizens were segregated and were not allowed to share buses or even schools with the natives. The situation is completely different nowadays. For example, I study in the educational institution with people of various races which has significantly enhanced assimilation of non-natives in the US improving their wellbeing. Economically, it is evident that individuals who came to the USA as immigrants encountered a high level of obstacles since they were often discriminated against in the workplace. Today, even non-natives do access jobs quickly although they still feel discriminated in some cases.
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