Free «Current Challenges Immigrants Face in the U.S» Essay
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Immigrants come into the U.S. in search of a better life. For various reasons, most of them believe that life in the U.S. is much better than their native countries. However, the moment they arrive in the country, they are hit by the reality that the American dream is not that is easy to come by. Since there are many immigrants in the country, there is high competition for the available jobs. Immigrants who do not speak English find it more difficult to find jobs because of communication barrier. Since not most school have bi-lingual education systems, it becomes difficult for immigrants to excel in academics.
Similarly, immigrants face difficulties in finding health insurance and health care for that matter. Since most of them are employed in low paying jobs, they cannot afford to pay for health insurance. On the same not, others are employed in jobs that do not pay health insurance for their employees. Since most of them do not speak English, they find it difficult to consult a doctor because they cannot express their problems.
Segregation of immigrants is a big problem in the country. Since most of them are not legally registered, they live in insecure neighborhoods that have no proper public transport systems. Despite all the problems, immigrants shy away from complaining to government officers because of the fear of deportation. This has left most of them to live very miserable lives because they have no one to turn. For those who are lucky to live with relatives who are better off, they have to depend on them for transport among other issues. All these issues has made life difficult for the immigrants. As much as most of them try to persevere, others find this kind of life difficult and therefore end up joining criminal gangs to survive. Therefore, there is need for the government to address these challenges immediately.
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Immigrants often enter the US with high hopes of a better life. However, not all of them fulfill the American Dream (Banks and Banks, 13). Most of them often face immense difficulties than they ever imagined. This paper will address the problems which immigrants face once they enter the United States of America. Thus, the paper will focus on the role and place of immigration issues in the domestic and foreign policy of the United States. Many immigrants come from countries that have experienced immense problems including war trauma, rape, poverty, and persecution. However, not all of them anticipate the problems they encounter in the U.S. Finding basic needs such as food and shelter and securing jobs are common problems for immigrants. Immigration issues should be addressed as soon as possible because it is one of the biggest problems in the country. It is a problem that cannot be avoided because immigrants come into the country almost every other day. If the problem is not addressed, it could worsen. In addition, politicians have used the immigration problem as a campaign strategy rather than finding realistic solutions to the problem (Hirschman, Kasnitz, and Dewind 32). For instance, when President Obama was campaigning for presidency in 1998, he promised to reform the immigration laws, so that the lives of all immigrants in the US will be more comfortable.
However, opponents of illegal immigrants argue that this situation has worsened the immigration issues in the country. Illegal immigrants are unregistered aliens who have been accused of coming into the country and take up most of the jobs that could have been taken up by the illegal immigrants. Most of them accept little pay for jobs in order to survive. It gives them an edge over the American citizens who demand for better pay. Nonetheless, the four biggest problems faced by immigrants are insufficient education, economic issues, segregation in immigrant communities, and discrimination and prejudice (Hirschman, Kasnitz, and Dewind 37). Therefore, this paper seeks to expound the listed problems and provide a few recommendations in the conclusion.
All immigrants have a common story to share on the struggles they have gone through while in the US. They all understand how tough it is to navigate a political or economic system. Therefore, economic problems are some of the common issues the immigrants faced. While most of them move into the country in serve of better lives, most of them are not fully prepared for the economic challenges they encounter (Bomar 55). To make the matter worse, Black immigrants have been seen to face more problems, especially with acquiring the US citizenship, than the European immigrants. Historically, the immigrants from European countries were able to find jobs, gain citizenship and improve their economic standards with ease. On the other hand, policies that used to aid Black immigrants in settling down have been eliminated if not drastically changed.
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Moreover, there is discrimination of immigrants which has worsened the situation. Misconceptions and stereotypes have also made it difficult for most of the immigrants to find their way into workforce. Limited trust or knowledge of institutions coupled with huge financial obligations owned to the extended families back at home and in the country force most immigrants to settle for poor paying jobs to ensure that they support their families. Most of them do not shy away from risky alternatives just to survive (Banks and Banks, 43).
Most of the immigrants, who enter the US legally, join relatives who are already citizens of the US; and this is where they start going to school or looking for jobs. Others come to the country as students or tourist. However, there is another group of the immigrants, illegal, who find their way into the country through various means including coming in as students or tourists and overstaying in the country. Immigrants who are worse off are mostly those from poor or unstable countries (Kyoso 65). This group tends to find it difficult to demonstrate their intension to go back to their countries especially if they do not own any bank account or property in their native countries. Therefore, most of them choose to relocate to the US without following the proper procedure and thus lack proper documentation that can help them find better jobs.
Language barrier is considered a big problem for immigrants because it hinders them from making important communications with institutions and individuals who could help them find jobs and other basic needs. For instance, without proper communication, even a simple task like buying something from the grocery could be difficult. One Arab immigrant was involved in an accident but when he went to the hospital in New Jersey, he could not receive treatment because he could not express himself adequately (Hirschman, Kasnitz, and Dewind 39). Most of them even shade tears because of the difficulty to express themselves to get services from institutions such as hospitals. Therefore, most of the immigrants are motivated to ensure that they learn basic English. However, working for long hours makes it difficult for immigrants to find enough time to learn English considering that it needs considerable amount of time to learn the language. Moreover, there are very few education institutions that offer English lesson. Nonetheless, the biggest priority for most of the immigrants is to work and find some money to take care of their families. Therefore, finding time to take English lessons can be a hurdle. On other occasions, some immigrants complete their English classes, but they cannot pick their GED because they do not have social security numbers that are supposed to be official means of identification.
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Some immigrants from non-English speaking countries such as Chinese claim that most schools do not have bilingual teachers and this results to poor performance from their children because they do not understand most of what is being taught. Since teaches cannot assist them, learning becomes even more difficult for them. Similarly, most of the students begin picking American traits and customs in schools against the wishes of their parents. Therefore, immigrant students lag behind in schools due to the poor preparation for success in American schools (Kyoso 76).
Another immense problem for immigrants is lack of high paying jobs and better housing. Most of the immigrants argue that they can only find low-level jobs. When most of them arrive in the country, they are willing to settle with any kind of job as long as they find some money to survive. The real problem comes when they try to get a better paying job to no success. There are numerous problems that hinder immigrant from finding a better paying job. First of all is lack of proper communication skills and education. For instance, even simple jobs like packing of products now demand that the person has to be able to read the instruction necessary to pack the goods. Additionally, some employers demand that employees ought to have experience in living and working in America. It puts off most of the new immigrants. For instance, if one applicant has a degree in accounts from China and another has a U.S. diploma, the latter will be chosen. It is not strange to see engineers and people with advance degree driving cabs for the rest of their lives in the U.S. Most of the immigrants wish to own business in the country, but this cannot happen if they do not go for further trainings to enhance their skills. The common option for most of the immigrants is to find a second job which in most cases, is as low paying as the first (Mahoney 29).
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Finding proper housing is also a huge problem related to lack of high paying jobs. The cost of the houses is huge and therefore, most of the immigrants live in small shared shelters for most of their first years in the US. The Zoning laws in some states such as Minneapolis prohibit more than five people from staying in one dwelling. Also, some of the landlords demand for job histories in order to rent out their properties which also hinder immigrants from finding better housing. Therefore, the housing most immigrants can afford is normally unsecure (Mahoney 29). Most of the women complain of the fact that they have to walk through houses to look for work because there is no proper transport system. Vandalism and robbery are common occurrences in such settlements. Similarly, access to alcohol and drugs, especially among the youth, is on the rise which makes parents more worried about their children’s health.
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Being legally recognized as American citizens is a shared goal for all immigrants. However, they also recognize that this can only happen if they have proper documentation. Most of them want to own businesses and homes, make enough money, and spend quality time with their families. However, this cannot happen if they are not legal. Therefore, most of the immigrants want help in the process of being legal citizens since they do not understand all the steps required. For others, putting food on the table and finding shelter is more important than being legal.
Isolation of immigrants in specific communities is also a big problem. Most of the immigrants awaiting asylum are normally in more trouble surviving in the country because they are secluded from various government services. Without legal status, it is difficult for the immigrants to even ask for assistance. Instead, they ensure that they are invisible to avoid running into problems with immigration officers. It renders them susceptible to exploitation. Most of the immigrants are afraid of being deported back to their native countries (Mahoney 54). Therefore, they are reluctant to seek for assistance that could have helped them acquire healthcare and housing. Some hospitals demand social security cards for them to offer any assistance. Some undocumented immigrants shy away from going to hospitals because they feel it might hinder their efforts of becoming legal immigrants in the future.
Also, immigrants experience discrimination and harassment at the work place. Most of the illegal immigrants are perceived to have no rights. Therefore, they are afraid of reporting any form of discrimination to the authorities for fear of deportation. It has made some of them to feel powerless. Mahoney argues that there is a need to raise awareness about the rights of the immigrants because they are no lesser human beings (Mahoney 76). Other immigrants complain of delay in processing for residency or work visas.
Another huge immigration problem is seclusion from healthcare services. There are numerous hindrances for immigrants from accessing health services. Most of the immigrants do not have health insurance. Others are employed in organizations that do not offer health insurance for their employees. Others cannot ask for time off work to seek medical attention because they need to work for more hours to earn more pay. If an employee takes a day off, it will mean that they will receive less money at the end of the month. Therefore, they try their best to ensure that they work for as many hours as possible. As a result, most of the immigrants have turned to herbs and other home remedies to cure their sicknesses.
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Physical isolation is also common. Most of the immigrants complain of limited transport option. It is a hustle for them to get to work and back and for children to get to school and back. Some of them are forced to work or go to school. The lucky ones depend on friends and family members with vehicles. However, this is also a big problem because it is difficult to find a friend who uses the same route every time an immigrant wants to go to work (Kyoso 54). Therefore, carpooling can only be successful when people work in the same region and live in a similar region too.
Based on the above discussion, it is clear that immigrants face immense problem. For instance, they are unable to access healthcare services for fear of deportation. Also, they experience communication problems because most of them do not understand English. In addition, most of them are segregated in specific communities which prohibit them from moving freely in the country. Therefore, the government should work on programs that are meant to serve immigrants. It either calls for restricting of the policies or developing new policies all together (Bomar 45). For instance, the government can provide more information on the immigrants or restructure such existing services as healthcare where immigrants can get treatment without any restrictions. In addition, there is a need to use communication mechanisms that are understandable by immigrants. It can be through the use of bilingual communication in schools and health care services. It would make it easier to translate the immigrants’ language into English, so that their needs can be fulfilled.