Migrating to the United States: Then and Now Essay
During the turn of the eighteenth century, the United States was arguably the best place to migrate to in the whole world. Therefore, people came from all corners of the world with the intention of settling and seeking a new life in the United States. The immigrants who came into the United States at the turn of the century mostly settled in the major cities where it was easier to obtain work. Even though a century has passed since Ellis and Angels Islands, immigration into the United States bears striking similarities to that of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, immigration into the United States is still considered to be a prestigious and fruitful venture by the immigrants. In addition, the government is still grappling with issues and policies concerning immigration. This paper will act as a comparison between my own migration experience and that of immigrants at Ellis and Angel Islands at the turn of the twentieth century.
By the end of the 1800s, migration into the United States had begun to encompass people of diverse cultures. Previously, only individuals from western and northern Europe were migrating to the United States (Foner 355). My migration journey started from the United Arab Emirates, an area that does not consist of ‘traditional’ immigrants to the United States. Consequently, I would have a lot in common with the immigrants at Angel Island in the 1900s. For instance, like the Asian immigrants at Angel Island, my cultural background has little in common with that of America. However, my knowledge of English during my migration was particularly better than that of most Asian immigrants at Angel Island. On the other hand, the European immigrants at Ellis Island had just enough knowledge of the English language to help them communicate with other people in America. The availability of several technological tools and platforms has enabled me to master the English language at a faster rate than the twentieth-century immigrants.
The immigrants who came to America during the turn of the twentieth century considered the country as ‘the golden gate of opportunities’ (Foner 355). Most of these new immigrants left their countries of origin to escape economic and lifestyle hardships. My main reason for migrating to the United States was to acquire a better level of education. Globalization has harmonized the economic prospects of most countries in Asia and Europe. Therefore, education is the number one motivation for immigrants. It is important to note that there were immigrants who remained in the United States for only a short while. This group is known as ‘birds of passage,’ and it contains immigrants whose circumstances are similar to mine. After a short while, I intend to return to my country of origin and apply what I have studied in America.
Most immigrants came to America using steamships. Immigration details were processed in America, particularly in the ports of Ellis, Angel, and Charleston. Traveling to the United States in these early times took between one and four weeks. In some cases, immigrants were questioned intensely while awaiting admission into the United States. My migration experience featured a less grueling journey by plane. In addition, the availability of foreign embassies has made it possible for people to seek admission to the United States in their own countries. However, immigration officials still take immigrants through a rigorous grilling process. In my case, this process took more than ten weeks before I was finally granted a visa to enable me to study in the United States.
Foner, Nancy. “What’s new about transnationalism?: New York immigrants today and at the turn of the century.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 6.3 (1997): 355-375. Print.
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