Have you ever risked your life to achieve a dream? Many undocumented immigrants cross the border each year and come to the U.S. in order to achieve the American dream. For instance, there are majority of Hispanic immigrants, especially from Mexico and other Latin American countries. According to the reports from the department of Homeland Security, an estimated 11.4 million undocumented immigrants were living in the U.S. in 2012. The Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims that Mexican immigrants that come to the U.S. are criminals and rapists, which contradicts because many immigrants only aim to come to the U.S in order to improve their lives. Some of the factors that cause the immigration include; lack of resources and opportunities in Mexico, abuse of a corrupted government, extreme poverty, and minimum educational resources among others. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the issues of undocumented immigrations; how they migrate, the perceptions of the Americans, and previous literature about the matter.
Undocumented immigrants cross the border by land, river, or by falsifying documents. However, there are several risks that are associated with the attempt of the immigrants to get their way to the U.S such as deaths due to harsh conditions that they could face (Altman 1). On the other hand, some literature reveal the sarcastic tone and opinions that the Americans people reveal due to the rise of the immigrants. For instance, many Americans are wondering whether the Mexican immigrants are taking away their jobs (Baca 1-3).
For many years, Mexicans in the United States have been stereotyped. This is from different avenues such as television, news, movies, social media, and currently from presidential candidates. The common stereotypes consist of: being gang members, drug dealers, killers, or even referred as lazy people. The Mexican people who have found their way to the U.S have disregarded the legal system, which creates negative impression about them. The aim of the Mexicans is to get good jobs so that they can provide the basic things to their families, which according to their culture is a blessing. Do they sneak into town at night, and as youre walking home with a whore, do they mug you, a knife at your throat, saying I want your job? (Baca 8-11) In these words of Baca, he is trying to reveal that Mexicans come to the U.S on a friendly motive and highlights his concern on the perception and stereotypes that the Mexicans are criminals. All Mexicans want is to come to the U.S. to work and earn a decent living just like all immigrants when they first came to this country. According to Kurt Eichenwald in his article Borderline Insanity, stated that; Americans believe that illegal immigrants should be excluded from social service benefits because they do not pay federal income taxes. They are regarded as a drain on government services and the economy as a whole. However, it is evident that while living in the U.S., undocumented immigrants pay their share of taxes, and contribute to the social security. Many use false social security identification numbers yet they will not receive any type of retirement pension and will not qualify for Medicare at the age of 65. Some of these factors are vital to be considered when judging the validity of the immigrant who comes to earn a decent living in the U.S.
In addition, Baca goes back to late 19th century by personifying a cowboy, or vaquero when questioning if Mexicans come on horses with rifles. It is then known that tensions have existed beyond generations and even goes as far as the Mexican-American war (1846-1848) when parts of the U.S. belonged to Mexico. Afterwards, during the great depression, the United States government sponsored the Mexican Repatriation program, which allowed Mexican immigrants to voluntarily return to Mexico. As a result, a number of Mexican immigrants were forced to leave against their will. A total of one million people of the Mexican ancestry were deported, although about 60 percent were actually U.S. citizens. According to Diane Brooks in her article Crossing the Border back in the 1920s, Mexico and the U.S. was once opened to cross the border as people wished (Brooks 1). Security at the border became strict after the U.S. Border Patrol was established. In 1943, the Zoot Suit Riots, an incident that was characterized with racial violence against Hispanics, and it occurred in the Latino Los Angeles. Currently, the Mexican community is more aware of its rights, which is has been achieved due to the efforts of activists leaders like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
According to the history of Mexican culture, living in peace with everyone has always been prioritized. Bearing in mind that I come from Mexican ancestry, I have heard and learnt that being a minority in this country has prevented us from achieving our goals and ambitions. Our generations learn from the preceding ones by gaining knowledge. For example, being the second female in my family to attend college, it is essential for me to inform them of our rights as citizens in this country. Ive encouraged, advised, and assisted the younger generation in my community to further their education by attending college because knowledge is power. School should not be and option but rather a priority.
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