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Rosita Cansino
English 250 Section SE
Research Essay
Ms. Futhey
November 20, 2015
Immigration and Assimilation

Who is able to define the American dream? What does the American dream even consist
of? To the majority of the people the American dream is about getting an education, a stable job,
and having a retirement plan. Although for the people/families that come to the United States
from a different country, wanting to escape the life they had over there and establish a better life
style here, is not an easy transition. When coming to a different country there are barriers that
can prevent this accomplishment. Main barriers would be the language, religions, cultures, and
having the same rights as a citizen. Is it possible for people from other countries to have an
American Dream?
According to the Center of Immigration Status, it was recorded that just in 2015, there
were more than 42.1 million immigrants in the United States. Back in 2000 there was
approximately 30.2 million immigrants and it increased 11.9 million immigrants more
throughout the years, with the majority of immigrants coming from Mexico. It was recorded that
more than 740,000 Mexican Immigrants were the ones who impacted the immigrant population
in the United States. It was also estimated that more than 14 million immigrants come from other
countries, with China and Latin America being the second most immigrants in the U.S. Although
when immigrants come to this country, many dont expect the many challenges they will have to
face in order to be welcomed to a new country.

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For many immigrants, English was not a language that was available for them to learn
back in their country. Not knowing a language that is greatly used in this country can lead to
challenges in communication. When immigrants come to the land of opportunities learning
English will come to great help specially when they are in search for jobs. Even though the U.S.
does not have an official language, English is the language that is spoken here the most. Statistics
have shown that it can be more difficult for adults to learn a completely new language. In the
article Mother Tongue by Amy Tan, she explains how her mother learned English by reading
the Forbes report, listening to Wall Street Week, and by conversing with her stock broker (Tan
A. p. 623). Although her mother tried to learn English, it was still difficult to speak it and if you
cant speak English clearly, it can be harder to find job opportunities in the U.S. With more
immigrants coming to this country not knowing English, there are more opportunities for them to
learn how to speak, write, and read English. Some immigrants can afford to go to classes where
instructors teach them the basic information that they will need in their jobs. For children, if they
have difficulties learning English, most will get placed into the ESL category. During these
sessions, children receive help from teachers. This is one of the major steps when they assimilate
to this country.
Cultures and beliefs can be impacted tremendously when you have to assimilate to a
country that has a different culture and has different beliefs. The majority of the people in the
United States are Christians and some can view other beliefs and cultures differently. Immigrants
that come with different religions sometimes have a hard time to find a place to worship their
beliefs or finding people with the same religion as them. One belief that is usually misinterpreted
would be El Dia de Los Muertos. For many Latinos, mostly Mexicans, this is a religious day to
celebrate the loved ones that have passed away. It is celebrated on November 1st and ends

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November 2nd. It is said that during those days the loved ones that have passed away come back
to be with their families once again. There are many objects that represent el dia de los
muertos, such as an altar that has food, candles, pictures of beloved ones, and sugar skulls.
Although, there are situations where one culture may think it is alright to use their sugar skulls to
represent Halloween, when they are two complete different things. Names from other countries
may have a lot of significance to those peoples culture. In The F Word by Firoozeh Dumas,
she explains how her name means Turquois and her brothers name, Farshid, means He who
enlightens. These are common names from Islam, yet they are made fun of at school for having
names that are not common to the American culture. Wanting to fit in, they all decided to
assimilate and changed their names to Julie and Sean. When Firoozeh began college she
decided to stop using the name Julie and went back to her real name. It was once she graduated
and began looking for a job that she realized her real name would be a problem. For three
months she was rejected, until she began using Julie again. It was like a miracle and she finally
got a job. It took Firoozeh a long time until she is able to accept her name once again, but once in
a while she is reminded that she is an immigrant with a foreign name. (Dumas F., p. 605-608)
For the children of immigrants, their parents main focus when coming to this country is
their education. Those that are first generation students have had a harder time because most of
their parents were not allowed to finish high school and some parents werent even allowed to
finish their elementary education. With this flaw, first generation students have to learn the
majority of their school work by themselves. According to From Underground Undergrads by
the UCLA Center for Labor Studies and Education (p. 229), there are about 50,000
undocumented high school students. Due to coming from immigrant families, they tend to be the
students that would are more willing to try their hardest in school, yet that doesnt matter if they

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cant continue their education after high school due to their immigrant status. In 2001, the
DREAM Act was proposed to congress, but unfortunately it was not passed. It wasnt until June
15, 2012 when President Obama stated that immigrant students that are 16 years of age and that
have been here before June 2007, would be able to receive a 2-year work permit and would be
allowed to continue with their education. This program is known as the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Thanks to this program many undocumented students have had the
opportunity to further their education and have the opportunity to graduate with a degree. With
this opportunity, they have helped the economy by creating more jobs.
For the majority of immigrants that have come here illegally there is always a reference
to some sort of line that is in between the U.S. and their country. This line refers to the borders
that thousands of immigrants try to cross over each year, month, and day. If they manage to cross
these borders, they may have an opportunity to have a better life. Although there are thousands of
immigrants that manage to come to this country, there are also many that dont succeed this
journey. There are many ways that immigrants come to the United States. Some come with
temporary visas and once they are here they decide to stay. Other immigrants risk their lives by
crossing the border. Either way, once they are here it is when they begin to assimilate to a new
culture by learning the language, finding a job, and once they find a stable home they bring their
families. When the families arrive here, one of the first things they do is to make sure their
children are enrolled in school. This is possibly the main purpose to which why families come to
America, to ensure a future for their children. The next steps are debatable depending if those
that have come here illegally have the requirements to become a resident. Residency would
require a lot of background checks and usually takes a long time depending how long the person
has been in the U.S. illegally. From there they go through a process and if they are no

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complications they are allowed to have a visa and become a resident. The next step would be to
wait for about 6 months until they can apply to be a citizen. To be a citizen, most have to study
the history of the United States and are asked multiple questions by immigration. If they end up
passing this test, they are sent before a judge to pledge they will obey and follow the laws of this
country. For those that are able to reach this goal tend to help the rest of their family to receive
the same benefits. Others tend to go back to their country to visit family and friends that they
have left behind.
Undocumented doesnt always mean one ethnicity, religion, culture, or the color of ones
skin. Anybody can be undocumented from any place of the world. Many people are biased
towards the thought that just because someones background is different from their culture, that
they are undocumented. Every person has different views on what should be done to immigrants.
Some people believe it is beneficial to give citizenship to immigrants. While other people would
prefer to deport all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are in the United States. One
example of someone who has strong opinion of what should be done to immigrants would be
Donald Trump. When Mexico sends its people, theyre not sending their bestTheyre sending
people that have lots of problemsthey are bringing crime. Theyre rapists. And some, I assume
are good people. This was stated by Donald Trump at the presidential announcement speech on
June 16, 2015. There are many people who have the same views as Donald Trump and those
same people believe it would be a great idea to create a wall on the border between the U.S. and
Mexico. People like him that have a strong biased mentality, clearly dont understand what it is
like to be an undocumented immigrant.
In some cases some people would find this idea insane and outrages, while others support
this idea. Now if a wall were to be built between these two countries, it would have to measure

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954 miles long, costing the U.S. more than 20 billion dollars stated Jorge Ramos. If this wall
would be built it would only prevent the 125,000 Mexicans that come to America, yet what
would prevent the 147,000 immigrants that come from China? (Boston Journal). Another plan
that people have is to deport all of the immigrants back to their countries in 2 years. If all 11
million undocumented immigrants were deported back in 2 years, it would cost the U.S. about
$135 billion dollars (Jorge Ramos). The deportation of all these people would drastically bring
the economy down. Which is why they should remain here in this country to better the economy.
To give them an opportunity to pursue their American Dream and to accomplish a successful life
that they dream of.

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Annotated Bibliography
Immigration and Assimilation

Center of Immigration Status, Immigrant Population Hits Record Second Quarter 2015
This article gives information about the number of immigrants that have some to the
United States in the past year.

Dumas, Firoozeh. The F Word Everythings An Argument. Ed. Andrea A. Lundsford and
John J. Ruszkiewicz. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2013, Pg. 605-608
Story of Firoozeh Dumas of being an immigrant from Islam. Knowing that there would
be challenges when coming to a new country, but not understanding how her name would
be an impact on how society saw her.

UCLA Center for Labor Studies and Education. From Underground Undergrads Rereading
America. Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. 9th ed. Boston:
Bedford/St. Martins 2013, Pg. 229
This short article discussed the challenges that undocumented students have when
wanting to further their education. It gave information about the Dream Act and how it
was designed to help undocumented students to pursue their education.

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Tan, Amy. Mothers Tongue Everythings An Argument. Ed. Andrea A. Lundsford and
John J. Ruszkiewicz. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2013, Pg. 622-627
In the Mothers Tongue by Amy Tan, she discusses how different her English is from
her mothers. With these differences she finds herself using her English when speaking in
conferences, but uses her mothers English when talking to her mother or to her husband.

Washington Post, Donald Trumps False Comments Connecting Mexican Immigrants and
Crime, Ed. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, July 8th 2015,
This article was posted on the Washington Post after Donald Trump made comments
about Mexican immigrants.

Wikipedia, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Ed. Wikipedia editors, N.a.,
In this site there was information provided about the DACA program and the
requirements that people would need in order to have the opportunity to use it.