Thinking about current issues, such as immigration and racism, especially with the controversy of the election, can be quite overwhelming. Immigration has been brought up in many ways in this country, but in a way, it has always shown how it has influenced the American people, rather than how is this affecting the immigrants themselves.
Maximilian Moreno, 37, born in Medellin Colombia, is one of the many immigrant children who at a very young age had to leave everything they knew to have a better future. Based on the struggles he saw his own mother go through, he acquired a very extended knowledge about the life of an immigrant.
“My mother had big aspirations for us,” Explained Moreno. “She was a single mother and she was afraid of the violence that was going on at that time in Colombia. So, when we visited New York for the first time my mother said: “we are not going back” and made a decision right then and there.”
According to an analysis census data published by Newsmax, “A record of 61 million immigrants and their American-born children now live in the United States — including an estimated 15.7 million who live here illegally”; that is 61 million people who one way or another found that the United States held a better future. Yet, not all are fortunate enough to come at a young age. Rubiel Pupo, in his late 40s, came from cuba to escape economic and political injustice. His desire to get out of Cuba, having tried to go to the US sailing across the ocean on a small boat three times, finally paid off when he was invited to Guatemala by some distant family.
“When we finally moved to Guatemala, we had many jobs.” Said Pupo, “But, it wasn’t making enough money to help my family.”
This lead Mr. Pupo to move to the US, passing through Mexico’s border where he was pleased to explain, how he fulfilled his goals in the “ promise land” as he calls it. “ I am now able to provide a very comfortable and stable economic life for my wife and I, also my wife’s family and mine”. Coming to the United states was a long process and difficult but he explains the gratitude he feels he encountered in this country, explaining “if you work hard enough, twice as hard you’ll be able to succeed and live the life you want”.
A most recent case is Ivan Sanchez, 20, who left Mexico at a young age, where he and his entire family came to the United states legally to escape the crime in Mexico. He expressed very quickly and clearly when asked, how would his life be had he grown up in Mexico. “I would have been in a Cartel”, admitted Sanchez. Yet, strong with his Mexican heritage, also bilingual he is grateful to have lived his childhood, and young adult life in the United States.
The most important part of every single story told by an immigrant, is not the beginning where they get to the promised land, but how they manage to adapt to this culture and achieve the supposed American dream. The struggles that immigrants go through in this country are unimaginable and it can affect them on the long-term.
In their article “Common Mental Health Problems in Immigrants and Refugees: General Approach in Primary Care”, it’s stated that “When immigrants and their families face enduring obstacles to advancement in their new home because of structural barriers and inequalities aggravated by exclusionary policies, racism and discrimination,” according to Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Immigrants have to overcome so many obstacle in their search for a better life, a live they want to provide to their children; their families.
“I think as an immigrant you have to be willing to put forth the effort and you have to be willing to put forth more effort than the average person”, concluded Moreno when asked how is the life of an immigrant like.
All of these emotional stories are told to show us how fortunate we are of having the benefit of living a first world country where you have more liberties and privileges than other countries have and certainly an opportunity to change your life around if you commit to it.