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Immigration in the United States

Introduction

Immigration is an issue that has been in America’s politics for a long time. People desire to go to America because of the opportunities available in the country. In the case of Jess, the interviewee, and her family traveled to the united states for economic reasons. Their father had a struggling business which meant that they were moved from one tiny house to another. Jess notes that their home became smaller and smaller as things became hard. The opportunity to work in America was a reprieve for Jess’s father as it opened up new opportunities. The plan was for the father to go and settle, then the family to follow after a year. Immigration has become a political issue because of the notion that immigrants come to take jobs that Americans need. Politicians from both sides have not been able to agree on the DREAM act bill that seeks to expand immigrants’ rights.

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For this essay, the focus will be on family dynamics, naturalization and immigration policy, and integration. Family dynamics are affected dramatically by the immigration process. Often, people have to sacrifice, leaving their family members for them to gain entry (Gulbas & Zayas, 2017). In the case of Jess, her father had to stay for a year and a half in America before they were able to join him. This period may be stressful for family members especially if they are used to being close to each other. Naturalization helps immigrants gain full citizenship but, in some cases, takes too much time. When immigrants arrive in the country, how fast they integrate depends on various factors. The neighborhood and the race of the immigrant are crucial.

Background Information of the Community

The immigrants from Latin American countries may be referred to as Latinos. In America, the Latinos also comprise people coming from Mexico, which borders the united states. Latinos are a minority group and have been disenfranchised for many years. During the political campaigns, the group attracts interest from politicians because of their ability to vote as a bloc (Asad, 2020). The majority of the undocumented immigrants in the United States come from Mexico. This is because the two countries border each other and have relatively different economies. Brazil, where Jess comes from, also faced similar issues during the 1990s when the family moved. The country was still industrializing, and the opportunities were minimal. Also, the country’s poverty and inequality were high, which meant that people in the lower percentile suffered more. Moving to the united states is always a dream for many Latinos because of the availability of jobs in the country.

Most of the immigrants work in farms and industrial complexes as laborers because they do not have certificates (Asad, 2020). These jobs pay better when compared to the countries they come from. Studies show that labeling the immigrants from Latin American countries as Latinos is a way of racializing them. When the immigrants are in their countries of origin, they are defined based on their land. However, when they arrive in the country, they are grouped into the non-white category. According to the 2018 census, there are over 60 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the united states (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018). This accounts for around 18.5% of the overall united states population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018). The United States government groups Latinos and Hispanics together. However, there is a difference since Latinos are mainly people from Latin America and Hispanics are Spanish-speaking groups that settled in America.

Analysis

Family Dynamics

Family dynamics can be referred to as the patterns of interactions between family members. Studies show that families have unique subtleties and, in other cases, may possess similar patterns. Immigration alters the family dynamics by alienating family members from each other. Typically, when a family member immigrates to the united states, they are forced to leave their family members. If a person is married and has children, the situation becomes more complicated because they may have to go a long time without seeing family members. Family dynamics are crucial in understanding the impacts of the immigration process. Currently, at the border with Mexico, there is an unfolding crisis of immigrants (Gulbas & Zayas, 2017). At some point, children were separated from their parents, which may have had lasting effects on them.

Children who are used to seeing both parents at home will be affected by the departure of one parent to a different country. Children enjoy spending time with their parents while growing up, which is essential for their growth and development (Gulbas & Zayas, 2017). Immigration of one parent changes the way children act and behave even in school. The parent who is left may be overwhelmed with the tasks at home. For close-knit families, it is easy to survive as there are people who might take over the responsibilities of the person who has left. From the interview with Jess, their family had a strong bond, and her mother had a big challenge going with her grandmother and aunts. She notes that her mother returns to Brazil every year to see them. Therefore, immigration may make it hard for family members to interact easily.

In terms of social status, the family benefits when one member decides to seek better opportunities in America. Studies confirm that family members benefit from remittances from the person working abroad (Gulbas & Zayas, 2017). Children benefit by accessing better education opportunities and better nutrition. Family members are also able to access health care in case of emergencies. This is essential as the family interactions will be more positive, and members will support the decision to go abroad. In the interview, Jess notes that her dad had to stay alone in the United States to make sure it was a good move for the family. The family would later move to the united states after one year and a half. Therefore, the immigration of a family member can alter the social status of the family positively.

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Immigrants prefer to maintain the same cultural practices that bide them together as a family. Religion is one of the most important parts of society in different areas in the world that can be transferred from one country to another by immigrants. Also, practices such as sharing meals as a family are maintained. In the interview, Jess notes that when they came to America, they always attended church as a family. Sunday was a day for the family, which is similar to when they were in Brazil. The family maintained the practices that they felt kept them together even when they moved to the new country. Immigrants need to carry part of their culture to remind them of where they originate.

Naturalization and Immigration policy

Naturalization is a policy where immigrants have the chance of becoming full citizens of the country. For an immigrant to pass the test, some conditions should be met. The requirements are stringent, and the government has been accused of making the process complicated for some people. One of the policies is that applicants have to pay a $680 filing fee which should be done in full. The fee may be too high for some of the applicants as they depend on minimum wage jobs. Additionally, applicants are required to pass an English test failure to which the application may be rejected. Applicants should also pay for their own legal and document preparation fees. Naturalization is important to immigrants because it reduces the probability of being deported (Asad, 2020). Immigrant workers have a high chance of being deported if they are found without the right documentation. Also, they face the threat of being sacked without any explanation, which makes them a target for exploitation.

Naturalization provides immigrants with citizenship status, which enables them to participate in important political activities such as voting. Also, it allows them to access better job opportunities with better salaries. This indicates how hard it is for an immigrant to survive without full naturalization status. Studies show that immigrants pursue citizenship to enhance their economic opportunities and to vote (Asad, 2020). From the interview, Jess can acquire full citizenship together with her parents. Education played a big part in the naturalization of Jess. Her parents made sure that they had the best education, which enabled Jess to get a job in the country. Their family achieved the American dream they had wished for when they left the country.

Immigrants’ dream is to acquire citizenship in America and acquire full rights. The government organizes a swearing-in ceremony for successful applicants. The process of naturalization can take many years due to the conditions that are imposed on applicants. Most immigrants would become full citizens their adults if they went as children. Every applicant must pass the English test. People may need English lessons to pass the test, which is expensive for some of the emigrants. The process of application should be simplified to make it easy for people to apply. Also, creating awareness of what is needed to pass the tests will go a long way in helping many deserving people to get full citizenship (Asad, 2020). From the interview, Jess’s parents were sworn in much later than her, yet they had spent over 15 years in the country. In those years, they did not enjoy the full benefits of what the country offered.

Naturalization is essential in providing confidence to the immigrants and assisting them in fighting for their rights. Minority groups in the united states suffer from disenfranchisement by various government agencies such as the police. Officers may take advantage of the status of an immigrant and add charges in a bid to get the immigrant deported. For many people, the desire is to come to America and earn a living. However, not all immigrants can get well-paying jobs to enable them to live a comfortable life. From the interview with Jess, being an immigrant is complicated, and it takes hard work and sacrifices to make it in the country. More support should be provided to immigrants who are in the country legally.

Integration and Assimilation

Integration focuses on how the immigrants interact and form relationships with members of the new country. Immigration to a new country can be difficult, especially if one has to learn a new language. Language is a useful component in the process of forming new relationships with people. Immigrants who come from countries that are not English speaking may have challenges during the first months (Qian et al., 2018). For example, on Jess’s second day in school, she raised her hand and asked to use the toilet, and everyone laughed at her. She notes that that experience motivated her to learn English. Learning a new language may take time because of the need to understand the phonetics of the new language. For Jess, television shows and conversing with the neighbor helped her learn the new language easily. Motivation to learn the English language stemmed from the need to communicate properly. This is integral to integration into the new community and enables an immigrant to get better opportunities.

Another aspect of integration is the intermarriages between natives and immigrants. Marriages assist in the complete integration into the new society. Jess was able to integrate into society fully by getting married to a former marine. Integration can only happen when the organization builds secure, vibrant, and cohesive communities (Qian et al., 2018). This will enable people to communicate freely and to feel that they are valued members of society. From the interview, the neighbors and co-workers of Jess’s father welcomed them and helped them integrate into the community. Jess notes that they occasionally hosted gatherings with his father’s fellow workers. When people feel accepted in society, they are likely to thrive because of the confidence created by the acceptance. Therefore, the ability of Jess’s family to succeed is a result of the blessing they received from the community when they first settled.

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Assimilation, on the other hand, means adapting to the surroundings. Most immigrants have to adapt to a different way of doing things. The united states have additional holidays that are celebrated yearly. The holidays might be a surprise to many immigrants who share different experiences from their native countries. The assimilation process involves adapting to the practices of the new government and learning why they are essential to the people (Qian et al., 2018). Jess talks about how the holidays in America are fascinating. Of particular interest to Jess is the Halloween holiday, which she considers the best of them all. This aspect of the interview shows the way immigrants get to learn about the culture of the new country. Holidays have meaning and can be used to remind people of past events that are important to the county. Jess also respects the veterans who chose to fight for the country and keep it protected. Incidentally, her husband is a former marine who had served for eight years.

Assimilation helps a person understand the reason behind a certain idea or process. Immigrants may experience new experiences and change the way they view certain things such as religion, sports, and drugs. The integration of immigrants into the community is essential in building trust between the native Americans and the immigrants (Qian et al., 2018). When the immigrants feel safe, their attitude towards Americans will also change. People should be allowed to live in areas they want without being harassed. Jess’s parents were able to move and settle in different areas without any issues, which is a positive sign. More support is needed to help other immigrants determine and help build the nation. Immigrants need to preserve their cultural practices even as they adopt a new ones.

Conclusion

In summary, the Latino community in America has been steadily increasing. Immigrants from Latin American countries come to America in search of better opportunities. The government has provided support to the immigrants by facilitating their entry and providing them with documents to enable them to work in the country. However, for some, the experience is not the same as they end up being deported or living imperfect lives. Jess can achieve her dreams in a new country which is due to the sacrifices made by her father. Their family success story represents the American dream as it was designed to work. Their father can educate them, which was one of the reasons he moved to the country. Family dynamics is an important aspect when assessing how immigrants integrate and assimilate into the new community. The family may become disintegrated when one member leaves which may affect the way people interact. However, the family’s social status may improve if the move to a new country works as planned. From the interview with Jess, every immigrant desire to become a full citizen and get a job. Naturalization is a process that provides the immigrant with confidence to continue living the dream.

References

Asad, A. L. (2020). Latinos’ deportation fears by citizenship and legal status, 2007 to 2018. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(16), 8836-8844. Web.

Gulbas, L. E., & Zayas, L. H. (2017). Exploring the effects of U.S. immigration enforcement on the well-being of citizen children in Mexican immigrant families. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 3(4), 53-69. Web.

Qian, Z., Lichter, D. T., & Tumin, D. (2018). Divergent pathways to assimilation? Local marriage markets and intermarriage among U.S. Hispanics. Journal of Marriage and Family, 80(1), 271-288. Web.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2018). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States. Census Bureau QuickFacts. Web.

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