The Experiences of Immigrants in the US
There are many stories of hope and success of immigrants who achieved their citizenship and built a life for themselves and their families in the US. But for the vast majority, particularly girls and women, there are some stories that are fraught with difficulty and struggles. Despite the federal laws and desire to protect the rights of all human beings, there are some immigrants who have remained on DACA status for many years with little chance of ever becoming citizens.
Despite many families traveling to the US in the hopes of a better life, for some it is an endless journey of trying to find their roots and where they fit in, trying to find the legal means of becoming a citizen, and trying to keep their family united even when facing deportation.
The Story of Traveling to the US to Build a Better Life
We all know the personal accounts of people, particularly parents, who decide to move abroad from war-torn or third world countries to the USA to build a better life and a better future.
For some, hard work and dedication pay off as individuals and parents take up low paying jobs to get a start in the city. By the time they’ve earned enough to afford a rental, they bring their families over in the hopes of helping them pursue and achieve their dreams in a better environment and a country with more opportunities.
For many immigrants, an important part of being able to stick it out and save money in the US is having a roof over their heads. According to the HUD immigrant housing is available for refugees, survivors of trafficking, and for those who are green cardholders. There are also no restrictions on access to emergency shelters and temporary housing for those who lack the necessary legal documentation to reside in the country. These types of housing services have assisted many girls and women who have been smuggled or trafficked into the country, or who find themselves in abusive relationships and need a lifeline to get out of their situation.
The Reality of Women Traveling From Third World Countries
From Mexico and Asia to Africa, many people are unaware of the ways that young women enter the country.
It is estimated that up to 17 000 people are trafficked into the United States every year and placed into forced labor. Young girls and women who are lured under the guise of more money and opportunity often find themselves in abusive relationships and living in appalling conditions. Despite being in a country where there is meant to be opportunity, they are unable to escape their circumstances.
Female immigrants often have their documentation removed by their captors and are forced into isolation. Their fear combined with a lack of knowledge or awareness on how to find help allows their captors to easily control their lives and subdue them.
Some immigrant women don’t know about the legal support available to them which makes it near impossible for them to find safety and support.
Despite the government’s efforts to curb trafficking, every year immigrants and even nationals are trafficked throughout the country. For foreigners, language barriers and a lack of skill make them totally dependent on the people who brought them to the country under false pretenses.
Threats of deportation, of harm to one’s family, and of physical captivity stop women from reaching out to local authorities for assistance. There are also women who feel ashamed and who are too afraid to reveal how they got to the country or what they have endured.
The story of every immigrant is different. For some, the country offers opportunity and the chance to grow and build a life that one could never have imagined but for others, it is a continuous cycle of poverty, the threat of deportation, and the struggle to find their feet. As an immigrant, even as a child entering the country and attending school and college, a sense of failing to belong or an inability to find one’s roots is shared by foreigners who touch American soil.
It is important to open our hearts and our minds to the lives and the experiences of others, especially those who fought hard to build a life for themselves and their families coming from virtually nothing.