Immigration and Poverty

Struggling in America

Immigrants from all over the world come to America to seek a better life; however, many continue to face hardships everyday. Coming to the United States does not always result in a life of luxury for these immigrants. Many Americans find themselves struggling in their daily lives; subsequently, when immigrants come to America they must overcome these barriers as well. Poverty and discrimination are the two biggest issues many immigrants face. Often times, they encounter even more problems than Americans because of their inability to receive benefits. Moving forward, this essay introduces several authors who describe the difficulties faced by so many living in America today. 
Americans in Poverty

Americans and immigrants find themselves in similar situations when it comes to poverty. Barbara Ehrenreich’s article shows how Americans as well as immigrants are not getting the jobs they need. By not having any means of receiving income, both immigrants and Americans are forced to steal, lie, cheat, and use anything that will help them proceed to the next day (par. 1-4). However, even if Americans or immigrants have jobs, they may still be in poverty and struggle to survive each day. Lars Eighner shows this example in his article, which describes his life as he lives out of a dumpster. In reality, the poor cannot find sufficient jobs that will provide enough income to pay for their bills, so they will end up on the streets, living out of dumpsters, and stealing to provide for themselves and their families.

Living in poverty is becoming even more of a reality for many people in America. This is because America’s economy is suffering. The cost of living is more expensive for some people than others, depending on where a person lives. The cheaper places to live are suffering from low job opportunities; likewise, wealthier places to live are costing people their homes while they are just trying to make ends meet (DeParle et al. par. 4). Many people get laid off from their jobs when businesses are not meeting sale standards and cannot afford to pay employees. This forces many Americans to lose their health benefits and take any part time job they can get. In Jason DeParle and coauthors article,
 he explains that many older Americans are in poverty because of their medical bills, which they cannot pay for because of their inability to obtain a job. (par. 4). These poverty rates are putting future children at risk of being poor. Ehrenreich and Eighner both saw the effects that were leading Americans into poverty; consequently, they see that many individuals may have a difficult time surviving in America. 

Immigrants in Poverty

While both Americans and Immigrants face financial difficulty, studies show that the highest poverty rate is among immigrants (Bardessy). Immigrants often come to America hoping to find a better life. America is seen as a land of opportunity where anything is possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the reality for many immigrants living in America today. Edwidge Danticat wrote an essay for the New York Times entitled, “New York Was Our City on the Hill”. The essay is about her family’s move from Haiti to New York City. Haiti is the poorest nation on Earth and Danticat’s family was not an exception. When the Danticat’s made the move to New York they were faced with many hardships. With little education, her parents were forced to work minimum wage jobs to support their family. They were unable to afford things like health insurance. This is just one example of a family of immigrants and the hardships they face in America. There are many other families with similar stories living all over the country.
Because of their low income, finding a place to live is a great difficulty for many immigrants in America. Frank Bruni and Debra Sontag describe the illegal housing located in Queens of which many immigrants call home. They describe these homes as small apartment buildings or sometimes even garages, which are divided into several different homes. Many immigrants sleep on nothing but bare mattresses. Although these living conditions are inadequate and unsafe for many, it is their only option besides sleeping on the cold, hard ground.

Illegal Immigrants

Illegal immigrants in America are looked at with mixed feelings.  Pat Farmer, a local policeman from a town an hour from San Francisco chooses to coexist with the illegal immigrants in his community.  He says that as long as they abide by the laws and are here to better their lives, the he does not turn them in.  On the other hand, many politicians are pushing for more strict enforcement when dealing with illegal immigrants.  Governor Rick Parry from Texas has “pledged $10 million, 50 new immigration detectives, and National Guard training to help local deputies police the border” (McGray par. 15).  America is clearly divided in its views on illegal immigrants.

What Immigrants Seek

The United States most readily becomes referred to as the land of Freedom, a beacon of hope or even a place where the American Dream thrives. The American Dream was thought to be something in which every American seemed to already live and what every person deprived of this vision wanted. People in undeveloped countries live in ways which many of us could not even imagine. They lack the money and resources that many American's take for granted. For example, Glennerste and Kremer point out that simple necessities such as school uniforms and vaccinations are unattainable for some families in Kenya. Immigrants from all over the world have flooded to this country in hopes of a better tomorrow. This readily system has helped many immigrants change their lives for the better, yet still struggle on a daily basis when entering this crude reality. Thus, Immigrants coming to this American Dream land have come to realize they must not only fight for their lives and jobs with other immigrants, but also with Americans on the sprint for jobs as well.

While some immigrants, such as Mira and Bharati from India, obtain successful careers in the United states  (Mukherjee 280), most are not so lucky. Fighting for those top of the line jobs might as well be labeled as impossible; unfortunately for most illegal immigrants this is their doom. Most immigrants flee to the United States as a last desperate hope; making them the most willing to acquire any small, low paying job one can get their hands on. For most, this may mean picking strawberries in a field for little pay and excessive hours, yet not appearing on the U.S Immigrations and Customs Enforcements or ICE radar. It could take years for an undocumented Alien to show up and actually be deported from this wonder land of a country. According to Wood in the Bloomberg Businessweek, ICE keeps most up to date with illegal immigrants and immigrants who commit crimes over in the United States. This is only due to the threat one may hold by being in the country which then causes automatic deportation. Overall, immigrants and illegal aliens come to this country to seek a better opportunity; if that means working many jobs, then most do just that.

Inability to Obtain Benefits
While many poor Americans are able to receive benefits from the government in order to get by, immigrants find it hard to obtain these same types of benefits, especially if they are undocumented.  Leland's article, "Stuck in Bed, at Hospital's Expense," explains the struggles of an immigrant named Raymond Fok who was unable to afford health insurance and did not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. After having a stroke, Mr. Fok was taken to a downtown New York hospital where he stayed for 19 months because no other facility, such as a nursing home or rehabilitation center, would accept him due to his lack of income and insurance. Many immigrants go through the same type of experience as Fok, and this problem will likely get worse as government officials debate over cutting Medicaid and Medicare benefits.


Besides poverty, another major hardship immigrants have to face everyday is discrimination. No matter what country they come from, immigrants in America are being judged, not by who they are, but instead, by where they come from. No matter what other country they are from, not only illegal immigrants, but also legal immigrants are ridiculed and mistreated by many Americans. Often times, even the media portrays different ethnic groups in an unrealistic manner, which can lead to many misconceptions about immigrants. Latinos are often portrayed as sex symbols, which draws a large amount of unwanted attention towards much of the Latino population. Cofer explains that it is not uncommon for many Latina women to experience sexual harassment in the work place, and that many are even forced to “submitting to sexual advances” if they do not want to lose their job (93). While Latinos are not the only immigrants to be discriminated against, they do make up a large percentage of America’s population.

Another group of immigrants that often face discrimination include America’s neighbors, located directly south of the US border. Leal, who is the son of two Mexican immigrants, has created a photo essay in which shows the image of where these immigrants come from and why they come to America. Many of the photos include children. In these photos, you can see the living conditions are not great. One picture in particular shows a boy standing behind the dividing wall that separates Mexico from the United States. It looks as if the boy is in prison just watching and waiting to get out. The ultimate goal of Leal’s essay, he says, “is to produce images of who these “aliens” really are; not just faceless demons but humans whose daily struggle takes place just south of a man-made line.”

For the many Americans that dislike the fact that there are immigrants living in every part of the country, they will have to get used to it. According to Meacham’s article, “The New Face of Race,” Whites will only make up about 53 percent of the United States population by the year 2050 (par. 5).
As you can see, people living in America are struggling everyday. Poverty and discrimination are two of the biggest issues many deal with; especially among the many immigrants living in America. Immigrants also have a hard time obtaining government benefits, which makes their daily lives that much more difficult. What is the solution to this problem? There are many different opinions. The less compassionate, such as ICE, solve the issue by imprisoning immigrants, or driving as many immigrants as possible right out of the United States (Stevens; Wood). A more positive solution is presented in Bowdens article, "Our Wall," which suggests the economy in undeveloped countries such as mexico need to be dramatically improved; whereas Horansky emphasizes the need for education in these poorer nations. In her article, "The Life Saving Power of Education," she states, "If all children in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, the UN estimates that 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty." 
Discrimination towards immigrants also needs to be addressed to the public. It is wrong and unjust to judge and riducule someone because of their origin, ethnicity, and economic status. Different cultures in America have brightened America's world by letting them see a whole different side of things. Immigrants come to America for a better life when in reality they may come here and struggle to survive. However, they may be able to touch another person's life and show that there are numerous different views in the world. The diversity in America is what makes this country so unique. If America lacked the various cultures and ethnicities it has today, the country would be less successful and less appealing.

Annotated Bibliography

Bardessy, Karim. Immigrants and the Question of Fairness.” National News, 11 Sept 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.

In Karim Bardeesy’s article, “Immigrants and the Question of Fairness” she goes to explain how immigrants from Canada were not only suffering from discrimination, but as well as hard times with finding work and shelter. Bardessy describes how many communities with immigrants suffer like regular Americans. However, studies show that immigrants are the highest group of people in poverty.

These Canadians look for many job opportunities but can only obtain service jobs or anything else they can get. According to Bardeesy’s article, “Less than one in four internationally educated immigrants work in the field for which they trained.” The immigrants are not getting noticed for their full potential because they are immigrants. This is shown by “Anton Norbert of Brampton, Ont., [who] emigrated from Sri Lanka 13 years ago, and got jobs in telecommunications despite his passion for the airline industry, in which he'd worked in a senior capacity in Sri Lanka and Europe. The 51-year-old married father of three has been out of work since February and wouldn't qualify for the Liberals' tax credit.” Problems like these are overlooked because of regulations set by the government. Immigrants are forced to live in hard times, low pay or even no pay because the government is still unsure of what mandatory regulations should apply towards immigrants. They argue on what is truly fair between immigrants and non-immigrants.

Bowden, Charles. Our Wall.” National Geographic, May 2007. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.

Charles Bowden explains how putting up walls creates separation and mixed feelings, in his article “Our Wall.” The walls he is referring to are the walls that separate us from one of our closest neighbors, Mexico. According to Bowden, these barriers “flow from two sources: fear and the desire for control.” Bowden points out that these walls slow immigrants from coming over, but do not stop them. Some despise the wall, some find comfort in the wall, and some have mixed feelings about the wall. Bowden includes the thoughts of some men living near the barrier. Jesus Gastelum Ramirez, is somewhat sympathetic to these immigrants as he knows they are just trying to increase their income in order to live. Dan Duley is not quite as understanding as he says: “We need help…We’re being invaded. They’ve taken away our jobs, our security. I’m just a blue-collar man living in a small town. And I just wish the government cared about a man who was blue.” Bowden explains that many, along with Duley, believe the only way to resolve this problem is by fixing the economic issue in Mexico, as most illegal immigrants would not come to America if they were able to make a living in their homeland.

Bruni, Frank and Debra Sontag. Behind a Suburban Facade in Queens, a Teeming, Angry Urban Arithmetic.” New York Times. 8 Oct. 1996. Web. 16 Oct. 2011.

In this New York Times article, Frank Bruni and Debra Sontag bring us into the city of Queens to a seemingly pleasant neighborhood. However, if one takes a closer look, this neighborhood turns into an overcrowded mess filled with many unpleasant people. Bruni and Sontag explain the reason for this deteriorating, once pleasant neighborhood is the insufficient amount of affordable housing, the growing number of illegal apartments in the neighborhood, and the growing population; of which many are jobless immigrants. Many of these recent immigrants sleep on nothing but bare mattresses in the basement of apartment buildings.

Bruni and Sontag go on to describe the owners of these illegal apartments, who are middle class homeowners trying to increase their wages in order to keep their own homes. Many get away with this illegal act. Without these cheaper, crowded homes, its’ occupants would become homeless. However, Bruni and Sontag point out the risks by letting people live like this; the biggest risk being fire hazard. The authors also emphasize that tenants of these unsafe homes have to surrender to these conditions because they have no other choice. If they make demands of their landlords, they face risk of being evicted.

Bruni and Sontag also include some of the negative opinions of residents living in this neighborhood, who are not living in these illegal apartments. They once moved to Queens because it was a better living environment than its’ surrounding cities, but now it is hard to tell the difference. Bruni and Sontag conclude the article by explaining that this illegal act is likely to continue, as the landlords suffer only minor consequences when they are caught.

Danticat, Edwidge. "New York Was Our City on the Hill." New York Times, 24 Nov. 2004. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.

New York Was Our City on the Hill by Edwidge Danticat is about a family of Haitian immigrants living in New York City. Edwidge Danticat was just a young girl when her parents fled Haiti for the United States. Her parents promised her that they would reunite and after living with her aunt and uncle for seven years Edwidge and her brother finally reunited with her parents in New York.

The essay talks about the struggles that immigrants have in this country. Both of her parents worked in a textile factory for minimum wage and her father also had a night job at a car wash just so he could support his family. Their family was not able to afford things like health care so if they required medical attention they usually could not receive any. The article also talks about how much more expensive everything is in America. Life in America for immigrants can be very difficult.

Ehrenreich, Barbara.Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?” New York Times, Aug 8 2009. Web. 22 Oct. 2011.

In “Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?” an article that was published in the New York Times paper on August 8, 2009, the author Barbara Ehrenreich explains how poor people may be in danger of going to jail. With poor people sitting or sleeping on the sidewalk or in parks, police can take them to jail for loitering. Ehrenreich talks about how the growing poverty in America may force people to commit crimes to help them out tough situations, but will prevent them from getting jobs in the future. For example, there were a few men who would steal from food places just to eat, and one man who actually got arrested for sleeping on a bench because he had not where else to go. These discriminations are getting so large that the jails are going to be packed.

The poverty rate in America is rising as well as the criminal rates. But Ehrenreich notes that it is not based on race or age; poverty is happening to most people. Ehrenreich says that the “meanest” cities in America are the large ones like Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The people who are getting arrested for these crimes find it hard to believe that one can arrest the poor for being poor. America is going through hard times and Ehrenreich says, “…if we can’t afford to truly help the poor, neither can we afford to go on tormenting them.” America needs to stop the jail threats, help get those who are homeless find jobs, and help provide food and other essentials that people need to survive.
Eighner, Lars. On Dumpster Diving.” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Samuel Cohen. 3rd ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2011. 146-158. Print.

Eighner shows throughout his article that poverty can be hard, and it affects many people from around the world. He compares the average American to any homeless person such as the types of food we eat when one find mold on their food or old milk. Things such as old food do not necessarily matter to a person who has nothing. Also, he describes his own story of becoming homeless himself and how dumpster diving became a kind of scientific experiment; such as figuring out how to get into the dumpster without becoming trapped. “While my dog Lizbeth and I were still living in the house on Avenue B in Austin, as my savings ran out, I put almost all my sporadic income into rent. The necessities of daily life I began to extract from Dumpster” (pg 147). He explains that when the times got hard he would do just about anything to get the basics of what he may have needed in daily life, which unfortunately meant going dumpster diving. Eighner also explains the importance of learning what you are extracting from the dumpster such as food.  
Throughout his article, Eighner explains the big differences between the homeless and an average American. He shows through this article that anybody can go through a struggle without notice; especially in this type of economy in which many Americans are struggling with.

Throughout his article, Eighner explains the big differences between homeless and an average American. He shows through this article that anybody can go through a struggle without notice, especially in this type of economy in which many Americans are struggling with.

Glennerste, Rachel, and Michael Kremer. "Small changes, Big Results." Boston Review. Apr. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2011.

Small changes, Big Results” goes in depth of the issues that families in poverty face every day. The article explains how families from Kenya, mostly girls, are unable to afford things such as uniforms and vaccinations. The article also explains how girls are being put last in education since it is seen that they do not seem to need it in third world countries. Glennerster and Kremer seek to explain behavioral economics which becomes a new phenomenon in today’s society. “Behavioral economics, seeks to understand deviations from simple rational agent model that has dominated economics for most of its history- why people procrastinate, say, or why American’s don’t exercise or save enough” (par. 3). Glennerster and Kremer also put forth information saying that families are willing to give up things such as schooling if that means they can either save money or make money from not having their children attend primary school. “ In 1997, the Mexican government instituted a “ Conditional cash transfer” program, which provided substantial amounts of money to poor families if they kept their children in school and got them regular checkups” (par. 16). There also was an additional program for families that enrolls and keeps their adolescent girls in school, which increased the schooling population “by 14.8 percent” (par. 16).

Not only does Glennerster’s and Kremer’s article concentrate on the importance of schooling for young children in developing countries especially, but also the health choices being made by these families. Families with low income do not receive the right amount of immunizations that a child or even an adult is in need of. Consequently, these families are ultimately increasing their mortality rates.

All in all, they put a massive amount of interest in third world countries to inform people of the devastation that these people go through on a daily basis and now is much worse due to the recession. Thus “small inconveniences and charges can prevent important health and education investments, and that small incentives can yield large changes in behavior” (par. 47).
Horansky, Christine Elizabeth. "The Life-Saving Power of Education." Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.
The Life Saving Power of Education, by Christine Elizabeth Horansky, is an article that promotes funding of education in poverty stricken countries.  Horansky’s biggest argument is the number of lives education saves.  She states that HIV/AIDS cases drop by 50% among children who complete their primary education.  Young women are also less likely to die during child birth and get proper immunizations for their children if they have completed their primary education.  The UN estimates that if all children in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, then 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.  Proper education in poorer countries would help save a lot of lives.
Better education would also lead to more economic growth and prosperity.  For women, each additional year of primary education they receive will increase their annual income by about 15%.  For men, each additional year decreases their risk for violence by about 20%.  Working in “global partnership” is one of the UN’s goals to help end poverty in this millennium.  If the UN could reach its target of $2.5 million then that could put an additional 25 million kids in school over the next three years.  It is very important to fund global education to give our younger generations a better opportunity at a successful life.
Leal, Reynaldo. Border Town, a Photo Essay.” The Virginia Quarterly Review. 2007. 30-37. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

Reynaldo, the son of two Mexican immigrants reminds Americans that their ancestors were once considered to be immigrants as well. He explains that many immigrants come to the United States in order to provide a better life for their family as living conditions in their hometown are poor. The article also includes pictures of immigrants living along the border, from Tijuana to Matamoros. A majority of the pictures are of children and the pictures show the daily struggles these immigrants face. Leal says, “Ultimately, my goal is to produce images of who these “aliens” really are; not just faceless demons but humans whose daily struggle takes place just south of a man-made line.”

Leland, John. Stuck in Bed, at Hospital’s Expense.” New York Times. 16 Oct. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2011.

John Leland’s article “Stuck in Bed, at Hospital’s Expense,” emphasizes the economic struggles among immigrants and health care workers in the United States. Leland explores the life of a 58 year old immigrant named Raymond Fok, who travelled to the United States from China 23 years ago. On his way to dialysis, Fok suffers a stroke and is put in a downtown New York hospital. Even after Fok’s health improved, his stay at the hospital did not end until 19 months, and $1.4 million later; all of which the hospital paid for, except for the $114,000 they were reimbursed with.

The article goes on to say this is the case for numerous people without insurance, and many, like Fok, are undocumented immigrants. Therefore, with no money, no insurance, and ineligibility for Medicaid or Medicare, Fok is stuck in the hospital with no family, friends, or a place to go. Because of their financial situation, his family was unable to take care of him. Leland points out that many of these patients stuck in the hospital belong in less costly facilities such as nursing homes or rehabilitation centers, where they would be able to develop friendships. It is possible for some immigrants, under certain requirements, to qualify for Medicaid or Medicare; however it can take over a year. Leland concludes his essay by pointing out that the debate over the issue of cutting Medicaid and Medicare will likely result in even more difficulties for immigrants to acquire these benefits in the near future, which will create even bigger problems for non profit institutions.

Meacham, Joe. The New Face of Race.” The NewsWeek Magazine. Oct. 16 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.

Meacham’s article shows that Caucasian’s are soon to be the minority group in his article,“The New Face of Race.” The article focuses on the immigrants in our society and how each ethnicity is treated because of immigration. Meacham says, “Every Day, in every corner of America, we are redrawing the color lines and redefining what race really means. It's not just a matter of black and white anymore; the nuances of brown and yellow and red mean more-- and less--than ever. The promise and perils ahead.” Meacham shows how the different races are treated in many stories. A 17 year old boy, Carlos Aguilar, growing up in Birmingham, Alabama explains how it “isn't a matter of black and white.” Aguilar explains how active he is in his community, with the music, people, foods, and clothing. No matter what ethnicity he is, he embraces every culture and dislikes all the negativity that people have about immigrants. One negative experience Aguilar recalls from his childhood was when a classmate asked him if his family came to America on donkeys. Many Americans judge immigrants without even getting to know them. "This is not a futuristic vision; it's here. The young, in fact, are already living in a new country.” With all the different ethnicities in society the younger generations are well aware of immigration. In fact, “By 2010, Latinos will outpace blacks as the nation's largest minority population. By 2020 the number of people of Asian descent will double from 10 million to 20 million. By 2050, whites will make up a slim majority--53 percent.” The government slowly started to notice this on voting polls when there were check boxes for Asians or other ethnic groups. This has changed in past years since the minority groups are becoming the majority.
Some ethnic groups would actually say they are white when in reality they are truly mixed. Different regions of the world accept the term mixed while others will not. Immigrants find it offensive to have to make that decision between what they truly are. When in reality they are multiple cultures because of their grandparents and parents. All the different ethnics want to do is express their true colors. Today in America it is becoming easier for immigrants to express their true roots and not be ashamed of it. For some it is harder but will change with the rapid grow of different ethnicities in America
McGray, Douglas. "Shift Work." Washington Monthly. Apr. 2006. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.

In “Shift Work,” an article published in the Washington Monthly in April 2006, author Douglas McGray details the hardships an immigrant must endure no matter what geographic location they may be in. He goes on to describe a town just an hour away from San Francisco, where undocumented immigrants are very high yet most people in this town just go about their lives as if they were here legally. McGray talks to a man, Pat Farmer, who is a local police captain. Farmer informs that immigrants coming to this country want help, yet they do not want the risk of being turned in. For this reason, Farmer just coexists with the immigrants and does not get them deported, especially if they are abiding by the law.

Mcgray also gives examples of how many politicians are pushing to get much harder and harsher systems of dealing with illegal immigrants. Such as Governor Rick Perry from Texas, where he said that the state of Texas must do things since the Federal government will not. Governor Perry “pledged $10 million, 50 new immigration detectives, and National Guard training to help local deputies police the border” (par. 15). But overall, McGray points out many hardships that immigrants are judged for and let alone being given much harder lives even here legally or illegally they come here to try to have better lives.
Mukherjee, Bharati. "Two Ways to Belong in America.” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Samuel Cohen. 3rd Ed. Boston: New York, 2011. 280-283. Print.

In the essay “Two Ways to Belong in America” written by Bharati Mukherjee that was published in “50 Essays” by Samuel Cohen, Mukherjee describes how two immigrant sisters evolved in America for thirty years. Bharati and her sister Mira came to America from India to obtain degrees and then return back to India, but their plans changed as they got married and started lives in America. For thirty years both girls lived in America freely with their husbands and started their careers.

But soon after, their luck changed when Vice President Al Gore created “Citizenship U.S.A,” which meant the girls needed proof that they were legal immigrants to stay in America. The girls described their feelings as “… used…manipulated and discarded” since they were asked to stay to continue their work because they had much talent. Mira was ready to give America a fight. She said, “If America wants to play the manipulative game, I’ll play it, too.” The girls feel as if they would be safer in India now with this discrimination towards immigrants. Bharati explains a time when she was in her husband’s homeland, “Canada, I was always well-employed but never allowed to feel part of the local Quebec or larger Canadian society.” This betrayal made Bharati feel the resentment for America the same as Mira had.

The girls loved the freedom and their jobs that they are very talented at in America; likewise, they decided to stay. For Mira it is easier to accept herself as an “expatriate Indian than as an immigrant in America.” Whereas with Bharati she “needs to feel a part of the community.” In order for her to adopt her new community, she needs to put her old community behind her. This is a hard fact to face but according to Baharti, “the price that the immigrant willingly pays, and that the exile avoids, is the trama of self- transformation.” This transformation is what the immigrants come to America for and need to embrace change for a better life.

Ortiz Cofer, Judith.The Myth of the Latin Woman: I just Met a Girl Named Maria.” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Samuel Cohen. 3rd ed. Boston: New York, 2011. 91-97. Print.

In Judith Ortiz Cofer’s essay, “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I just Met a Girl Named Maria,” she tells of the many troubles Latina women like herself face everyday after leaving home.  Cofer explains how she receives much unwanted attention everywhere she goes.  She describes one such occurrence where she was travelling by bus to London; a drunken Irish man spotted her, and on his knees in the isle, sang his version of “Maria” from West Side Story.  While this attention can sometimes be good, many times it is unwanted.                              
Cofer goes on to tell of the difficulties she experienced as a child growing up in America as she realizes the differences among the two cultures. While she just wanted to be accepted by the other students, she found it to be an impossible task. Cofer also points out that sexual harassment is another barrier many Hispanic women have to overcome, as the media often portrays Latina women as sex symbols.  Cofer says “From conversations in my house I recall hearing about the harassment that Puerto Rican women endured in factories where the “boss men” talked to them as if sexual innuendo was all they understood and, worse, often gave them the choice of submitting to advances or being fired.”
Because of her education and talent, Cofer is one of the lucky Latina Women living in America.  She sympathizes with the less fortunate, and her primary goal is to change the old myths of Latina’s being “whores, domestics, and criminals,” into a realistic view.
Stevens, Jacqueline. "America's Secret ICE Castles." The Nation, 16 Dec. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

America’s Secret ICE Castles by Jacqueline Stevens is an article about the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is an agency that handles illegal immigrants in the United States. The problem with ICE is that they have not been going about their business legally. James Pendergraph, former executive director of ICE once stated, “If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." The immigrants that ICE prosecutes are housed in one of the many buildings around the country. The buildings are generally office buildings and they bear no markings alluding to ICE. ICE does not release any of their information to the public. Many police departments around the country have enlisted the help of ICE to help clean up the illegal immigrants in their towns.
Most people feel that ICE goes about their business in an unprofessional manner. ICE agents can basically bust people at their own discretion whether a fair trial is given or not. It is guaranteed by the Constitution that everyone has the right to a fair and speedy trial and a lot of ICE’s detainees have received no such trial. ICE has been arresting people for years and it does not look like they will stop any time soon

Wood, Graeme. "A Boom Behind Bars." Bloomberg Businessweek. 17 Mar. 2011. Web.

In Woods piece he explains that immigrants are being treated unfairly even if they are here legally or illegally. Seems to be that it does not seem to matter what your immigration status is; the CCA or Corrections Corporation of America can hold you for any extent of time. He explains that one man had been here legally in this country and the government came and took him away to an immigrant prison. The man Selvin Cardena’s spent a time of three month in this corrections center mainly due to a lack of attendance at a trial, thus showing up on the radar of the CCA.  

Woods article details that “ICE pays CCA about $90 a day per person to keep immigrants behind bars and to manage every aspect of detainees’ lives running its prison much as the government does. The main difference is that CCA locks people up for a profit” (par. 4). His article also explains that the CCA in Houston, Texas is being paid by ICE to hold approximately “1000 alleged illegal immigrants while they are process for potential deportation” (par. 7). Mister Wood explicates that the CCA not only manages these immigrants while being housed at these prisons but also manages them until the moment they leave American turf. If these immigrants are from Mexico, they are put onto “white CCA buses with tinted windows and driven to the Mexican Border” (par. 7). If they happen to be from somewhere in which they cannot travel by vehicle, CCA “drives them across the road to the airport, marches them to an airline counter, and watches them fly away” (par. 7). Normally an average stay for an immigrant that comes into the system is around “21 days” (par. 13), but they also report that an immigrant can stay up to “two years” (par. 13) while waiting either deportation or awaiting a release. Overall, Wood goes into detail of the harsh realities of being an immigrant in the United States can be like that especially if you are an illegal immigrant or immigrant that has a criminal record in this country. Toward the end of his article he compares the hotel industry to the CCA model “profits come from filling beds with paying customers” (par. 37). Wood gives an overall explicit look into realities of immigrants that can describe such events that have occurred in their lives.

Other Works Cited

DeParle, Jason, Gebeloff, R, Tavernise, S. "Bleak Portrait of Poverty is Off the Mark, Experts Say." New York Times. 3 Nov. 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2011.