The American dream has been seen by many as the epic journey to a land where life is full of riches and a very promising future. It is a social fulfillment where each man attains his/her full stature. Many refer to it as the land flowing with milk and honey. Every human has the urge to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Every immigrant to the US has targeted these inalienable rights, but recently most immigrants are in pursuit and searching for material or physical property and wealth in this American dream. These are some of the information that I received from an interview I had with Mohamed, an immigrant from Saudi Arabia.
Nowadays the American dream is termed as having a well paying job which will enable one to get a nice house, Porsche cars, expensive lifestyles and enjoyment. Little do the immigrants know that the suburbs which are filthy of poverty, crime, desperation, and odd jobs are waiting for them the moment they land in the US. Majority of the immigrants are forced to get odd jobs, or jobs that are risky especially at construction site, others join the military only to end up in war ton countries and even end up dying there.
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The easiest way to land in America as an immigrant is the Green card lottery played annually, close to 50000 people benefit from this scheme, but other countries like Muslim countries individuals are not eligible for the lottery hence they use other means to achieve their dream.
The US migration policy
The US policy on immigration aims at several goals the first is mainly to reunite the families of those in the US as immigrants, and to admit workers with special skills and to reduce labor shortage in the country, it also seeks to give refuge to people faced by problems either politically, racially, or religiously from their country of birth, it also aims at diversity by admitting immigrants with low represented population migration to the US. Lawful entry into the US can only be through permanent which is the immigration and temporary where this is a non immigrant. According to immigration policy in the United States (2006 p.10) the number of lawful immigrants in 2004 were 946, 000 of the total 46,000 were due to diversity admissions, 50,000 were refugees and asylum seekers, employment sponsored admissions were 155,000, while family sponsored admissions were 214, 000.
For one to be a lawful permanent citizen or immigrant in the US then one must belong to a category named below; immediate relatives of US citizens e.g. spouses and children. If they are family based then four preferences are 1st for the unmarried 21 years and above adults, 2nd spouses and dependent children of the immigrants, 3rd is for married sons and daughters of the US citizens, and 4th are the siblings of adult US citizens.
For employment based admission there are four preferences, 1st is the priority workers who have extraordinary ability in various fields, 2nd are the professionals like degree holders and have exceptions in their working, 3rd are the skilled workers with enough experience may be 2 years ad above or other employment areas where there is shortage, 4th are referred to as specials immigrants e.g. ministers, 5th are the investors who create employment.
Individuals who are not totally qualified in any of these categories are in major struggles to gain access to the US. There is also the challenge of religion and war or terrorism related countries. The immigrant interviewed was a male named Mohammad Hussein an immigrant from Saudi Arabia, who is a staunch Muslim and works in the stores of a private investor as an attendant. He describes the major challenges that are involved in the admission process to be a lawful permanent citizen. The American dream describe by many seem to be an alluring story of the one who came, saw, and conquered, but the reality is that there is more than meets the eye. The push and pull effects of the theory of Ravenstein can explain the conditions of the immigrants.
The reason that Mohammad gives for leaving his homeland Saudi Arabia include poverty that he faced while he was there; his family lives in the slums and sometimes it takes days to have something to eat. The poverty levels are extreme that he explains the many odd jobs he had to do in order to feed the family. The reasons he gives for coming to the US are the many repeated stories. He explains that he thought that US was the land of his dreams and once he landed he was guaranteed of at least a decent employment opportunity and a well paying job that will make him live a life he had yearned for a long time.
He experienced several problems during the process of immigration. He had to go through many irrelevant questions regarding terrorism, reasons for moving to US and his mode of stay in the country. The major problem was to find a person who had enough assets to sign his visa pass. He describes that the US really have very high assets requirements for one to be a guarantor. There were also problems in the traveling where all Muslims underwent extra checks at every check point. When Mohammed landed in US he struggled a lot to get a work permit especially due to the fact that he was from a country that US is not quite fond of.
While in the US the only social group I am associated with is the group of members of the Mosque I attend people have been busy to meet and everyone is for himself but god for us all, although he attends meeting of the members of the Diaspora from Saudi Arabia from his state. The US society had a mixture of responses to the arrival, most treated Mohammed as a terrorist and thus he gained a nick name Osama. Cases of discrimination due to religion are common while most of the people may be discriminating against race. I socialize mostly with members of my religion since others never want to be associated. The US is a nice place though I struggled a lot with odd jobs and still going on is that many employers pay relatively well than my homeland that’s the reason for me being here. The US has given me a livelihood although it takes away the dignity of my education.
Many come expecting bread and butter but nothing comes easy in life. The dream of formal employment, Porsche cars, nice houses, and expensive lifestyles is just a TV reality hence people should not be cheated in believing it. The dream many have that America promises better life always leads to misconception and it is only when one lands in the country that he/she realized that all his/her expectation as a pipe dream. Many people have been mistreated and others forced to work without pay for the work done by employers just because of lack of work permits they go through hell like I did. The advice to all immigrants is that the homeland is the only free place according to the saying ‘east or west home is best describes this perfectly.’
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