Looking around at our team, I realized that I had people from all over the world except for locals, natives. In fact, I was the only one there born in the U.S. the rest are from India, Pakistan, Thailand, Morocco, Jordan, Ethiopia, Peru, Mongolia, Korea, England and Ecuador. OOF, that is a mouthful of countries…
All these nationalities under one roof, living in America made me think of an essay that Isabela, my 14 year old daughter, wrote for school a few days ago:
The American Dream by Isabela Fraga-Abaza
The American Dream is real depending on a person's view of life and what they see for themselves. This is different for everyone, and does not have a specific definition. The American Dream is genuinely thought to be the idea that everyone is equal and everyone has the same opportunities of success. To some, mansions, fancy cars and unlimited money, define the American Dream but to others it can be waking up in a safe place not terrorized by war and other dangers; for them it is to have the opportunity and a chance for a better life knowing it will not be an easy goal.
The American Dream can be real for people coming from terrorized areas. If people from these areas live in the fear of being killed or imprisoned everyday, they don't have enough energy to focus on the things that matter like family. Everyday people deal with terrorism in their own way. An example is this family from Baghdad, they were very poor and one day they started receiving text messages saying, “Give us money, or we will burn down your house. If you tell the police, we will kill you.” The family was very poor and they couldn't get the money. They kept receiving those text messages, but they thought maybe the terrorists were lying and that the messages would eventually stop. Then one day they woke up in the middle of the night to their house on fire. Fortunately they got all their kids out of the house. The family received another text saying, “Give us money, or this time you will die.” The family decided, “they’d rather die in a plastic boat than die there.” There are many stories like this. People in these situations usually come to the US because they won't have to worry about these kinds of things, but it does not guarantee that things like this won't happen. The police and government in the US aren't as corrupt. Even if things like this happen you have more sources and rights. The law is above everyone!
Economic inequality does have an effect on the American Dream. It can depend on what opportunities your family can provide for you, as well as the education you receive. A child growing up in poverty is likely to face more challenges than a child growing up in a wealthy family. The Caste System is a great example of economic inequality because people are usually born into the various social classes of the caste system. It is very hard to move up to another social class and people are not allowed to have relationships with other classes. The class a person is in defines their job which then defines their economic status.
Outside of a Caste System it is possible to overcome economic hardship. My father is an example of this. He left Ecuador when he was 19 and came to America with only 600 dollars in his pocket. He worked 2 manual labor jobs per day until he could afford and got accepted to a Community College where he got a scholarship to continue at American University. He did not complete the last semester because he was trying to follow his dreams of starting his own business. Today my father is a successful business owner and believes in the American Dream. Although the American dream worked for him, this is not the case for everyone.
Citizenship in the US, which the government has a big influence on, can affect a person’s ability to achieve the American Dream. It can also affect your ability to get good housing, a job, health insurance, college education and it could lead to deportation. If a noncitizen or immigrant comes to the U.S. there is no guarantee they will obtain a job. Certain paperwork must be filed to work as a noncitizen, and it includes a $340.00 fee. But even then it is not guaranteed that this paperwork will go through. The same challenges are faced when trying to become a citizen or when trying to achieve the American Dream. Unfortunately when people come to the U.S., they are not aware of all these challenges. They may be coming from poverty thinking they might get a well paying job to support themselves and their family. Once they come to the U.S. they realize it is not as easy as they thought.
Xenophobia is a big struggle for immigrants. The government should stop portraying immigrants as a bad thing and more as an essential part of society. In many cases immigrants do the jobs no one else is willing to do, that people take for granted. The government should also help more with jobs, because the only jobs immigrants can usually do are jobs that don't require paperwork. Those jobs are usually paid at below minimum wage. It is also hard to get a working visa here and good education. The fee to apply for a working visa should be lowered because even if this amount is paid it doesn't necessarily mean a person will get approved. The government can make immigrants eligible for in state tuitions in all states, and getting rid of language barriers because that is a big struggle for immigrants who come to the U.S. and want an education.
Even though it is hard to come to the States, the American Dream can be real depending on how it is viewed. It is a struggle but it’s not impossible. The worry of terrorism is not as bad as other places and people can trust police more other countries. Even if someone is born into poverty here it is not impossible to get out of it, unlike people who live in the Caste system or similar circumstances. Education may also be a struggle because of the cost and language barrier, which the government should get more involved with.
The American Dream is depended upon what a person sees for himself or herself.
- Isabela's essay taught me 2 lessons: One, all of us have the capacity to create our own destiny, our own reality; our fate depends on our intention and the capacity to accomplish it. Two, people immigrate to the United States, leaving everything behind, their family and friends, their culture and possessions, because they have hope, hope for a better life! They do not come to beg for the social benefits; they come to find work and to improve their lives and those of their families.
At our company I see our people from all over the world that work hard, pay taxes and obey the law. They left everything behind to better their lives and their loved ones; they left everything in search of the American Dream!