Blog Post Immigration
So far in the immigration unit I have learned a great deal about actual immigrants and seen first hand accounts of people’s immigration stories. Prior to this I had focused mostly on mass scale immigration rather than looking into specific stories and personal accounts. Through the beginning of this unit we have seen the direct impact that immigration has on people both psychologically and physically. This can be seen in the film “I learn America” and in the readings in the Baltimore Sun entitled “Unsettled Journeys.” An example of the physical toll is seen with Exel who immigrated from Guatemala and when he reached the US he was forced to work to pay rent in his own home. This resulted in him having little time to do school work and no free time at all. Another example of this was with Brandon a student from the film who did poorly in school and was forced to work alongside his father at a restaurant. From these physical problems one can see the psychological toll that this takes on Exel.
One aspect all of the immigrants that we have learned about have in common is that they each face incredibly difficult obstacles. Prior to this unit I knew about the general struggle of immigration and one first hand account from my grandmother telling me about her immigration from Croatia when she was 18 years old. But these stories are different from modern immigration in which there are so many different restrictions and obstacles. My grandmother described how it was difficult in some ways to assimilate, but there were little to no obstacles that she faced in actually traveling to the US. Today it is so difficult to immigrate to the US, and people are forced to enter illegally.
I never have really thought about what it would be like to be in a completely foreign place and not be able to communicate with anyone because I do not understand the language. I do not think it would possible for me to experience something as extreme as the situation that Monique Ngombo was put into when she was supposed to ride a bus home at the end of the day. She could not read or write in any language, and could only speak her native language of Sango. She was put in a situation Which was that she got lost on the bus ride home from school. The situation was almost impossible to get out of due to the language barrier until luckily she was discovered by the Police. This is just one example of the difficulty that is faced being in a completely foreign land. This compares to my grandmother on a different scale as she faced many smaller challenges when she was first an immigrant.
As a privileged white male is is hard for me to relate with these incredible immigrant stories. I have never been put in these intensely difficult situations. It is so amazing that these people overcome all of these challenges in a completely foreign place. After reading the “Truth about Mexican Americans,” it is very disheartening to hear and think that the 45th president of the United States has said such volatile and harsh remarks about immigrants, focusing mostly on Mexican and Muslim immigrants. Although there will be some bad people in any group he has labeled all immigrants in a derogatory manner that in my opinion is very difficult to erase. Almost more frightening is the fact that so much of the US has similar opinions to Presidential Elect Donald Trump. The millions who voted for him had to have either supported or felt indifference towards his extreme ideas on immigration.