Two Very different roads, being traveled.
In the world there are six billion people. All of these people are equal in the idea of the human race. These people are not always viewed as equals in some parts of the world. America is the melting pot of the world. America offers refuge to people in need and also who are just looking to pursue a better life. On that note I am going to give a compare and contrast essay between the migrants of Mexico and the migrants from Europe. My goal is to show the very different perspectives of the American Dream and ways of going about accomplishing it.
I interviewed my boss, who is Dutch and the chef at my work that is Mexican. The reason I chose them is because they each came to a foreign land and has made a good life for themselves. Maurice is my boss. He was born in Holland. He lived there until he was about nineteen and then he moved to Switzerland. Migrating through Europe is much different than migrating to the United States, as long as you are a European. If an American wanted to go it would be much more difficult. I asked Maurice what the migration laws are back in Holland and he had no Idea what the restrictions were and are. This is very similar to myself, because I had never needed to know these laws.
Tommy is the chef at my work. He moved to America 12 years ago, with his family. His father and Mother are both here, along with his brothers and sisters also. There are seven kids total. When Tommy moved here he spoke no English and had very little education, or room for advancement in the work force. Tommy came over here with his mother and father in 1990. They migrated here with thirty-five dollars between the family.
They had to walk through the desert for three days, and then met a coyote that brought them here for some amount of money. Tommy could not remember how much it cost them to be transported here. He said that this is standard practice for the Mexican migrant. The reason his family migrated here is the same as all others, they need to work to support their family and there is no work in Mexico. Especially not making the money that Tommy is making now. Tommy was 17 when he got to America.
Then Tommy met a guy by the name of Farn Boggie. Farn was the old chef at my work. Tommy started washing dishes for Farn twelve years ago at the Regal McCormick Ranch hotel. With the job Tommy learned to cook, speak English, read some English and learns what running a successful kitchen entails. Tommy worked for Farn for about twelve years, and then Farn quit leaving the chef responsibilities to Tommy. In disposable domestics it mentions the “immigration reform act of 1986 stating that they are going to try to stop the influx of immigrants yet allowing the ones who have lived and worked here for a certain period of time.”(Chang, 2000) if you read further along it says that if you were in America since at least 1982 illegally you are entitled to a permanent residence in America. Well Tommy has not been here since 82’ but he has been here a considerable amount of time. But he is still not legal. The thing that amazes me the most is he has two American children, one who is eleven and the other is seven. So he obviously can prove that he has been here. Tommy has a job that any person who is interested in culinary work would jump at. If you look through the book “voyages” about the Tongans and how they are so closely related in their families. (Small, 2003) The Mexicans are the same way. Tommy has his brother, his cousins and friends all working for him in the kitchen. All of these people live no more than five to ten minutes apart from one another. They always carpool and help one another out as much as they can.
I have found that most Mexicans like to go to Mexico and see their families and their friends, because most of their families are still in Mexico. In some parts of the world like the Caribbean, “ students of the movements of Pacific Islanders have found human mobility there so routine that they now employ the term circulation instead of migration.” (Schiller, 1992) This is very common among Mexican migrants also. They may come here for a year and save up some money and then go back to Mexico to either live or financially help out their family members. Tommy is really lucky to have his whole family here with him in America. In disposable Domestics there is a statistic that is very eye opening. It say’s “according to a survey of eighteen New York agencies illegal workers make as much as $175 a week. If you are legal you can make up to six hundred dollars a week.” (Chang, 2000) This shows that if you go through the proper steps you may make more money. Tommy makes about forty thousand dollars a year. The grill guys make six dollars an hour. That is quite a different wage, then forty grand. The guys in Tommy’s kitchen make good money and have great job security without following these procedures of legality.
I asked Tommy if he would ever go back to Mexico? He started to laugh, and said “No Way”. He feels his home is in America. Tommy has assimilated to the American culture. He speaks English, his kids are American, and they live the American dream. Tommy has bought a house and is now trying to find a way to help his kids to a better life. In transnational Villagers it says “ that there is no one monolithic culture that immigrants assimilate into.” (Levitt, 2001) I would disagree with that statement. The American dream is perceived like this, you buy a house, raise a family and live to the best of your abilities. That is the American dream that I know, and that is exactly what Tommy did. Tommy is proof that anyone can live the American dream it does not make a difference what country you came from, as long as you put in the effort it will happen. It may take you eleven years like it took Tommy, but when you see him talking about his kids and his life you see that it is all worth it in the end.
Maurice has had a slightly different trip into American life. Maurice is Dutch. The Dutch are the people who introduced us to Sinter Klausse, or more commonly known as Santa Clause. Santa was introduced in New Amsterdam, which is modern day New York. So the Dutch have definitely impacted American cultures. Most American’s know about the Pennsylvania Dutch. My point is this; America is based off of European ideals. Therefore giving the Europeans the upper hand within migration limits. Maurice came to the United States in 1997. He came here to work in the hotel/restaurant field. He came to New York first, to go to school at CDS. He came with a student Visa.
Even before he could come to America he had to have a complete background check for the FBI. Then after that checks out you have to prove that you have enough money to live and support yourself for the entire year without working even one day. Then you have to prove that you are not taking away any job from an American. He also had to prove that he had other money in an account in Holland. Before the trip over, he had to pay a Swiss company five thousand dollars to connect him with the necessary components for the trip.
Maurice arrived here with fifteen thousand dollars, and a suitcase of clothes. He had to find an apartment; he had no furniture or anything to live on. In Europe all of the apartments are furnished prior to moving in. So Maurice was in shock the first time he found an apartment. The hardest thing he said was getting used to everything. The first grocery store he went into was Aj’s Fine foods. This store is very expensive, so he thought all of America was like this. I asked if culturally America and Europe are different. He said “no, America is just a much larger version of Europe. Maurice was better equipped for life in America than Tommy because Maurice already spoke fluent English. In Holland you start to learn English when you are eleven years old. You are required to take four years of English. Maurice said that everyone speaks English, but it is not readily practiced.
Within four days of arriving at CDS in New York, he was working at the Regal McCormick Ranch hotel here in Arizona. It is coincidental that Tommy and Maurice both worked there and both work at my current job. I asked Maurice if he has experienced any type of discrimination while in America. He said no; it is just impossible to get a credit card. He said you have to get a Macy’s card or something along those lines. It will help to build credit. I asked him why he came to America. He said he wanted to see the world and experience everything he can. He is “not dying to Work”. There is equal job opportunity in Europe as there is here in the states. Maurice said he would return to Holland he just doesn’t know when. His parents still live there and he goes and visits once a year and they come here once a year also. Maurice married a lady by the name of Beth. They had to prove that they were actually married. They showed mutual accounts and mutual addresses. They were approved in less than fifteen minutes. They are now divorced but he is considered a permanent legal resident. He has a social security card and all of the necessary requirements.
If you look at the two stories that I have written about you perceive two sides to migration. There are two ways of going about this, the legal way or the only way.I don’t know many Mexicans that have fifteen grand and five more to pay some company to bring them here. There are reasons why things are done differently in Holland compared to Mexico. Holland is self-supporting Mexico needs our help. People from Holland have it a lot easier but it is much more difficult to stay here without getting married to a citizen. The reason is that you are a number, they know you. Every year an immigrant who is legal has to check in to the INS, and make sure that they are working or going to school. The illegal immigrants don’t have that concern, but they have other concerns. Finding a good job is very difficult for illegal immigrants and even more difficult to find a job with a decent wage.
America is a land of opportunity and the opportunity is available to anyone. Whether you are Dutch or Mexican you have the opportunity to better your life and your families lives. Maurice told me the most amazing thing to him is, were he is at right now in his life. He owns a fifty-inch flat screen television, a beautiful condo in Old town and a brand new car. He didn’t think that this could all be possible within seven years of coming to America. Tommy has two kids and is living in a four-bedroom house that is close to his family and friends. His kids are both very good at school and are making their dad very proud. Tommy may not have the big TV, but he says “I am happy with what I do, and I am happy because I can support my family.” This just shows you that every person deserves the right to live in happiness, and should be given the opportunity to better the lives of their families and friends.
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