Immigration Then and Now Essay

This essay has a total of 1150 words and 4 pages.

Immigration Then and Now

When most people think about immigration to the United States, they think of the U.S. as
being the "land of opportunity," where they will be able to make all of their dreams come
true. For some people, immigration made their lives richer and more fulfilled. This
however, was not always the case. A place that is supposed to be a "Golden Land" (Marcus
116) did not always welcome people with open arms. Even after people became legal citizens
of the United States, often times the natural born Americans did not treat the immigrants
as equals but rather as outsiders who were beneath them in some way. In some situations,
people's lives were made worse by coming to the "land of opportunity." Often times people
were living no better than they were in their own countries not able to make ends meet,
just to live in the United States. Virtually all immigrants during the 1900's had the same
dream, to become successful and provide for their families as citizens of the United
States, but they soon found out that the life in their new country was not going to be
easy.

Throughout all of the readings and letters, there seemed to be a common theme faced by all
of the immigrants, and that was hardship. Immigrants alike, no matter their country of
origin, faced these hardships. The main thing that all of the immigrants wanted was to be
able to have a real life and to be able to provide a better life for their children so
they could have successful futures. While reading "Letters from the Great Migration," it
seemed as though each individual in their own words expressed the same dilemmas. Most of
the people in their letters were trying very hard to get out of the South and move to the
North in order to find decent work and to provide for their families. It seemed like they
would endure pretty much anything to secure a job in the North, particularly the man from
Houston, Texas. He says that he wants to find a job in the North so he can go "where a man
is a man," (Marcus 134). This shows that people from the South feel like their lives could
be fulfilled in a greater way in the North rather than in the South, where they currently
reside. Particularly for the men, this quote seems to also suggest that the men in the
South do not feel like real men, in the sense that they can't find decent work in order to
provide a good life for themselves or their families. It also appears that because their
lives were so bad in the South that they would have moved anywhere to just get away from
their current situations.

Along the same lines, both Jose Luis and Rosa would do anything to become American
citizens even though their daily lives were so amazingly hard. They would have to cross a
river to get to and from work everyday and barely make enough money to pay for lunch and
transportation, let alone pay for food for their four children and rent for their
apartment. I am sure that when they thought about moving to the United States they
believed that their lives would get easier and not harder, but unfortunately that was not
the case. They went through their daily lives, struggling in hopes one day that their
children would get good jobs and could have happy and successful futures. What is also
interesting is the fact that Rosa says, " We would be honored if they are chosen to serve.
We would be very proud of our children for doing their duty for their country" (Marcus
313-314). The fact that neither Rosa, nor her children were even legal citizens of the
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