Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Immigration

Before this unit, the majority of my knowledge of immigration was limited to my parents own stories, and the policies that Donald Trump has suggested, including building the wall, his plans for deportation and preventing children born to illegal immigrants in the States from gaining automatic citizenship. I had also learned about the poor working conditions many immigrants had faced because of their undocumented status. However I did not know many specifics about these conditions, and while the name Caesar Chavez was familiar I did not know anything about his  efforts to create the United Farm Workers. I also knew little about immigration laws like the Immigration and Nationality Act, which abolished restrictions on how many immigrants could come from a particular nation and shifted focus onto reuniting families.
The part of this unit that has been most interesting to me is the personal stories that we saw in the movie I Learn America and in the articles we read for class. Two stories that stuck with me were those of Brandon and Exel. Brandon wanted to learn but his passion for soccer distracted him and his parents decided to pull him out of school to work. While he did eventually get a second chance, the fact that he was almost denied the chance to finish his high school education resonated with me. Exel had a similar story. While he, unlike Brandon, was on top of his school work, he had to earn money to help support himself and his family. The only immigrant stories I had really heard before now were the ones my parents and their friends have told me, however the children we learned about in this unit had far more trouble than my parents. While my parents did not grow up with a lot of money, my grandparents put a focus on making sure that my parents, as well as my aunts and uncles received the best possible education. This meant that, unlike many immigrants, they had careers when they came here, my dad got a good job working with computers while my mom started her fellowship when she came to the States a few years later. Unfortunately for many the kids in the movie and in the articles, the education they received prior to coming to America was subpar and their families were more focused on surviving in dangerous areas. Unlike my parents, who came here for the job opportunities America offered, the kids came because they had no choice. Whether it was due to violence, or because their parents chose to come for another reason, these children were uprooted from their homes for reasons beyond their control.

4 comments:

  1. Nisha,

    First of all, I think your blog is very thoughtful and provides insight into the information you've learned through your unit of immigration. I think the fact that you started with so little information about immigration, and added your own personal story, along with the personal stories of those in I Learn America, and then progressed to gain so much knowledge about this is amazing. Although, I'm curious to listen to your answer to this question. You wrote that you think children have been stripped of their choice of whether or not they want to live in America, just because their parents came for job opportunities, but do you think this is true for everyone? Personally, my parents' decision of moving to America might have been the best one they've taken in my life thus far. Though, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read your expressive blog, keep writing!!

    From,
    Rajitha (rpenaka_18@stuartschool.org)

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    1. Rajitha,

      Thank you so much for your feedback. When I spoke about children who were forced to immigrate I was speaking specifically of the kids in the movie and in the articles I read for my class. I too know people who are happy that they immigrated here as children. However many of the kids we learned about in class felt that moving away from their friends, even if it was for their own good, was unfair. While they did eventually make friends in America and learn to like it here, the teenagers especially often felt that they had no choice in the matter.

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  3. Though my parents are not immigrants, they had a very similar experience when it came to education. 50 years ago, plenty of American-born citizens did not value educatoin as much as we do today, and consequently went directly into the job force rather than seeking a higher education. Both of my parents were raised in poor-lower middle class households, and their experiences with education are very different from many people's today. My mom grew up in a single parent household, but was very lucky that my grandfather pushed academics. My dad, on the other hand, had parents that did not enforce education. They did not support him when he wanted to go to college, and he had to work odd jobs to pay for his tuition. Back then, education depended more on class because not everyone went to college, and there were more jobs that did not require a college degree. Now, though, nearly everyone has to go to college to make a living, and poor immigrants are facing even higher hurdles than poor Americans 50 years ago.

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