American Dream And Immigration In The Distance Between Us By Reyna Grande

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The memoir, “The Distance Between Us’, by Reyna Grande, is an extraordinary story that depicts the struggles of migrating from Mexico to the United States and confronting new challenges as an immigrant in the new country. Reyna recounts her memorable immigration experience in which it had created an internal conflict with herself, along with the painful separations between Reyna and her homeland and family. Initially, Reyna and her older siblings, Mago and Carlos, lived an impoverished life in a small neighborhood in Mexico with their mother. However, the three children were separated from their father, who was in the United States in hopes of achieving the American Dream. Reyna’s mother eventually settled in the United States with the father but eventually returned to Mexico due to a divorce. This raised further complications within Reyna’s family because Reyna and her siblings had always dreamt of being with their father. However, when Reyna’s mother withdrew from her children, she would continue to aggravate the situation because the children were constrained to fend for themselves. Once the children entered the United States as undocumented immigrants, this would become the most tangled situation of their lives. Reyna and her siblings resided with their alcoholic and abusive father. Unfortunately, in the United States, Reyna’s father seldom acknowledged any of his children’s achievements and presence, especially Reyna. As a result, Mago and Carlos disconnected from their father to endeavor their own life. Reyna was isolated from her siblings. Although Reyna was living with her father and slightly far from her mother, there was still an irreversible gap between the family, both physically and emotionally. Furthermore, Reyna is distant from her homeland, where the culture and traditions she valued has diminished. I think these examples illustrate the consequences of immigration and do not outweigh the benefits for immigrant families. Immigration creates further separation from loved ones, does not guarantee success in society, and conflicts with the individual’s cultural identity.

Undoubtedly, immigration can divide families apart. Most families who immigrate to a new country will not be guaranteed to settle due to legal reasons. For example, in the reading “The Heartache of an Immigrant Family”, by Sonia Nazario, she narrates the traumatizing event of immigration tearing families apart and its outcome. Enrique, a father who left his family behind to immigrate to the United States, regrettably contemplates his decision. Enrique’s girlfriend, María, and daughter, Jasmín, eventually arrived in the United States, along with the newborn son, Daniel. But unfortunately, Enrique was detained and unable to contact his family. This can be detrimental to the children because, without their father, there is a lack of emotional or financial support. The children aspire to have a father personally facilitate their lives in the new country. But now, the mother is unable to support the family by herself. As a result, the children lose their self-esteem which ultimately affects the family’s standard living. Some may argue that migration is beneficial in a case where parents can send money to their separated children. However, according to Nazario, these abandoned children are compelled to make unfavorable choices such as getting into affairs or joining a gang to compensate for their family separation and absent affection. This suggests that immigration forces families to leave their loved ones, and the consequences cannot be fixed merely because of a negligent choice.

Another reason why the benefits of immigration do not outweigh the consequences for immigrant families is that they do not guarantee prosperity. Most aspiring families consider to migrate in hopes of a better life. Despite that, it is evident that the majority of immigrants stem from poverty and low incomes. Additionally, it is costly to invest money for an immigration lawyer, and applying for a visa application or green card cannot be promising. An example is displayed by a family who recently immigrated from Vietnam to the United States. This particular family, a father, mother, and two young daughters arrived in the United States with hardly any money. While the family endured a tedious process to obtain a green card, healthcare was impossible to afford, and the parents worked as a housemaid or dishwasher – low-income jobs – due to their lack of education. 

In the United States, low-status immigrants are unable to fulfill the American Dream experience, specifically for families. A wealthy immigrant family can relish the privileges of immigration such as easily affording an immigration lawyer, renting a property, or financially sustaining themself. Realistically, the advantage of immigration only pertains to the upper-class.


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