Two Very Different Immigrant Groups, and one Common Goal.

            I chose to write my paper on the comparison and contrast of two immigration groups.  I chose them because they are extremely similar once they have arrived in America, and very different culturally.  The two groups that I chose are the Mexicans and the Tongans. It is never easy for someone when they arrive in a new country, but it is how you handle yourself while you are there is what counts, so my goal is to show a brief comparison of these two migrant groups. Living in Arizona you come to interact with quite a few Mexicans in your life.  Many people are afraid of what they don’t understand, Mexicans and Americans.   It is strange to me that Mexicans are the way that they are with their education.  They seem to have very little concern for education, while the Tongans put huge bearing on their children’s education.  I have personally spoken to a few Mexicans that I work with about their education, and they all say the same thing, “es no neccesarrio!”  Meaning that it is not important to them. They feel that their is no future with an education, meaning if they don’t work they don’t live. I think that is one of the hardships that they have to face coming to somewhere like America, with little education it gives them little opportunity to learn English.   I know a few people who are living in America and have been since their children were born. They still don’t know English and have very little concern to learn it.  Yet their children know English, fluantly.  So in away they are accomplishing their goal, and that is to provide a better life for their next generation.  To me what the Mexican parents do for their children is a very noble concept, the problem is if they don’t express the importance of education then these people will continue to progress in this vicious cycle of finding work and food. 

            The Arizona Republic article “Dying to Work” really sends the readers ideas into a mix of concepts that are trying to change their opinions to fit a certain idea.   For example reading about all the people who die crossing the sonoran desert gives you a sense of sorrow for their lives. Then also reading about the one hundred and forty thousand foreign-born individuals that are in jail in the United States.  This is when it becomes hard to say that they are dying to work, not just dying to get money.  If you read through the articles that are talking about the Mexicans their is always a two sided argument. One for the poor immigrants who have nothing to eat, and one for the gang banging, drug pushing individuals.  The sad thing is that the Mexicans are not the only ones doing this.  So people can’t so easily call this an illegal immigrant problem.  There are a lot of white American born people who are totting guns around and pushing drugs, but they aren’t doing it to feed their family, they are simply lazy.  Not to say that all Mexicans are totting guns or are even trying to feed their family they are just trying to live.

            Reading through these articles that are based of the Mexican immigrant population their is a lot of truth that ignorant people do not want to here.  What about the Mexicans that wash dishes at the restaraunt or wash your car in one hundred and fifteen degree weather, what are they doing wrong.  Whose job have they stolen?  I sure don’t want to work out their and I don’t think that most of the American population is “dying to work” there!  Yet people swear that the Mexicans and the Tongans are really stealing away valuable jobs from American citizens.  The article that I personally liked the most was, someone was mad because in the Midwest there are more Mexicans acquiring meat packing jobs then before. What is before is the true question? 


Before they starved to death, these people have nothing to eat and no running water and these Americans are mad because they have to try a little harder to keep their job. 

            Tonga, where is this tiny little island?  It is in the Caribbean, and it is very small and poor.  I really enjoyed the reading “ Voyages”, because it taught me about a culture that I knew nothing about.  I would mention the Tongans to some of my friends and they would always say “Who”.  Not many people know about the Tongans and their culture.  Tongans are very similar to Americans and to Mexicans, because they value their education, and they also value their families.  Tongans similar to Mexicans live in very large communal families that are rather large and are a extremely close knit group.   Both of the countries being looked at are extremely bound to their tradition and to their way of life.  Many things in Tonga are the exact same as they were two hundred years ago, but many things have changed.  They are assimilating very quickly to the American ideals and way of life.

Tonga doesn’t have much room for growth on the island, without outside help.  Meaning that they have no national product to export and that creates no GNP, Gross National Product.  The outside help are the remittances that are sent back to Tonga, from the newly departed Tongans in America.  It is a very similar tradition among the Mexican people also.  The Tongans fascinated me with this one fact, they have a ninety six percent literacy rate in Tonga.  That is phenomenal, and much higher than in America.  The main money producer in Tonga, besides remittances is the Tapa Root.  They make clothes and food and that consists of about thirty percent of the Tongan GNP.  The other seventy percent is Remittances.

In Tonga, they very badly desire the western ideas and way of life.

The Tongan people learned these ideas through the U. S Army that was stationed there, and also by television.  For Tongans the trip to America is a long and treturous journey, but I think once they get here it is all worth it for them.  Once one of the Tongans from a family arrives they do anything and everything to help to get the rest of them to America also.

            The comparison between the Tongans and Mexicans shows although these two countries are on opposite ends of the earth, their migrants arrive with very similar hopes and concerns for making a new life in America. These people are competing with one another for the viable low wage jobs and it is great for all sides. If it were to be a competition between survival of the two groups, based on equal size I think the Tongans would prevail.  I feel this way because they have an unbelievable literacy rate and a good grasp of the importance of education in America.  The Mexicans have the edge though with there size, but that may also serve as a disadvantage.  Due to past Mexican stereotypes.  Comparing the two groups shows that everyone has a chance, it just matters how people pursue their goals in life.



return to Ryan Obrock's Home page


return to migration home page