Journey To America Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Immigration Type: Essay Paper: #65695761 Related Topics: Immigrants, Family, Vietnam, Russia
Excerpt from Essay :

The journey to America was different for all types of immigrants. Some came from Asia, some from Europe, some from Latin America. Each faced unique hardships and challenges along the way. For some it was an experience filled with trauma, and for others it was an experience filled with hope. This paper will compare and contrast the experiences of six different readings by six different immigrants to explore the nature of the journey to America that each immigrant experienced.

From Vietnam

Vo Thi Tam tells the story of emigrating to America as one of the many “boat people” who fled the Communist takeover of South Vietnam following the pullout of American troops at the end of the Vietnam War. As a refugee, the immigration process was fraught with perils: the threat of pirates at sea, the threat of starvation or death from dehydration, the threats from others who did not take kindly to refugees in the camps that were set up to accept them. Tam’s story is a nightmarish one.

The description of the refugee camps is particularly telling of the types of conditions faced: “There was no housing, no facilities, nothing. It was already full near the beach, so we had to…make some sort of temporary shelter” (42). It shows that for immigrants fleeing a problematic environment, the risks of finding no shelter en route to America were worth it—even if it meant facing the elements and braving threats to one’s very existence.

Crossing the Border

The situation was much different from Marilyn Davis, who described the process of immigrants from Mexico to the U.S.—a process in which the illegal immigrants actually had something of a network of other immigrants upon whom they could rely: family or friends across the border who would assist them with support in their pueblo communities. It was a far cry from the utter desolation and lack of support that Tam found as he and his family sought to escape their home in South Vietnam. For Tam, the voyage was simply about just surviving and trying to keep one’s head above water while one hoped for refuge in America. For the illegal immigrants described by Davis, the experience was different: it was about leaving behind a way of life that was important to one because it was what one knew in hopes of securing a better way of life in the unknown world of America. For them America was the symbol of “opportunity and a new life” (Davis 51). It was something that one wanted if one was in Mexico—and it was something that one felt one could reach out and get with relative ease, compared to the journey that Tam took. Tam, coming from halfway around the world faced monumental travails. The illegal immigrants coming from Mexico faced one big hurdle—getting across the border without getting caught, and from there one’s network could assist with the rest, so long as one had such a network.

Coming to America

Njeri tells the story of the Iranian immigrant who fled persecution in Iran and came to America: Dr. Hassan Shahbaz, “one of Iran’s leading Persian literary scholars and broadcast personalities before…to the New World where there is so much promise. But his story is certainly not the same as that of the Mexican immigrants’ or the Jewish people who came from Russia or the Trinidad girl whose future is unknown but not likely to be so promising. Bradford’s account of being an immigrant is not really like any other immigration story because there is no need for him to fit in or to adapt. The land is his: he and his people certainly do have to adapt to a new way of life, but they do not have to change their identities the way the Jews had to change theirs in order to fit in or the way the Mexicans have to hide theirs because they are illegal.

Bradford’s story offers hope because for him the future and the land was wide open. There was no reason to be afraid. There were no worries about who would oppose his entry or how he would get across. There was no fear about who would be there to receive him: he was a governor. He had clearance. He had respect. His place was readied and waiting.

For Tam, who came from Vietnam, this was not the case. For Jasmine, she had to sneak across the border because the America that Bradford came to had changed substantially by the time Jasmine came and there was no hint or even similarity with respect to her coming across the border to his coming to the New World. Bradford’s was unique—but they all had unique experiences because they were all coming from…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Antin, Mary. “The Promised Land.” Emerging Voices: Readings in the American Experience. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Bradford, William. “Of Their Voyage.”

Davis, Marilyn. “Crossing the Border.” Emerging Voices: Readings in the American Experience. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Mukherjee, Bharati. “Jasmine.” The Middleman and Other Stories. Grove Press, 1988.

Njeri, Itabari. “Coming to America.” Emerging Voices: Readings in the American Experience. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Tam, Vo Thi. “From Vietnam.” Emerging Voices: Readings in the American Experience. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Cite this Document:

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