The researcher interviewed Jesus Siordia, an old colleague who migrated to the United States 13 years ago from Jalisco, the western part of Mexico. He was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States as an adult. The trend is common, and according to Wilsona and Khansa (2018), most of the immigrants in the United States come from Mexico. Some of them come through legal means to come to the country.
Mr. Siordia explained that several factors motivated him to migrate to the United States. One of the reasons was the lure of the American Dream. He believed that he could achieve success while in this country of opportunities. He admitted that another reason was economic as he was jobless in his home country. Kisacky (2021) explains that the majority of Mexicans coming to the United States are motivated by the need to find sustainable employment. Jesus also noted that he wanted to join his brother who had moved to the country earlier.
The subject explained that life in Jalisco, Mexico was characterized by many challenges. One of the challenges faced in this part of Mexico was insecurity, primarily caused by the activities of drug cartels. Kisacky (2021) argued that parts of Mexico where activities of cartels are not controlled by the government tend to be insecure because of constant gun battled amongst these criminals and also when they engage the police. Jalisco’s New Generation Cartel is one of the prominent gang groups in that part of the country, posing a major security threat. The respondent also admitted that finding a job in the home country was a challenge.
Mr. Siordia explained that he came to the United States through an invitation from his brother. One of the common ways that people migrate to this country is through family reunification (Steel et al., 2020). Upon the expiry of his visa, he sought an extension when he secured a job at one of the local companies. He has never traveled home since coming to the country because of the fear of the current immigration policies.
In 2007 when Jesus migrated to the United States, US Census data show that it was a slight peak period of immigration for people from Mexico. The country had just a series of flooding problems that affected a large population (Wilsona & Khansa, 2018). On the humanitarian ground, the government of the United States had allowed some of the worst-hit people to migrate from Mexico. The natural disaster was one of the reasons he gave when applying for the visa.
Mr. Siordia explained that having gotten all the legal documents to come to the United States, he used the safest route. He went to Nuevo Progreso and then crossed the border to Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He traveled by road from his city of birth to the United States. The point of entry that he used is preferred by those coming to the United States legally because of the safety (Kisacky, 2021). Those who are coming illegally use alternative routes controlled by cartels and other criminals.
When Jesus came to the United States, he was not accompanied by any family member. He was the only one who was able to secure the necessary travel documents in his family. However, he was coming to join his elder brother who had moved to the country earlier. He admits that when crossing the border, there were other Mexicans from Jalisco who had related reasons to leave the home country.
Jesus initially settled in Huston, Texas when he arrived in the country. His brother was staying in this city and he was his host. After three years, he decided to move to Rio Arriba County, in New Mexico where he was able to secure a job. He also preferred this location because of the high concentration of Mexicans in the region. It helped him to overcome the culture shock and language barrier that affect many migrants from Central and South America (Steel et al., 2020). He has also stayed in New York City for a short period because of job-related reasons.
When Jesus came to the United States, he had no unique possession other than the fact that his brother was waiting for him. His family had been affected by the floods and they were left homeless. He was able to secure a few items when he finally made the trip to the country. His brother had sent him the money that he used to travel from his home country to the US. He noted that he was a college graduate, which was an added advantage but could not speak fluently in English.
Upon arriving and settling in Texas, Jesus admits that he witnessed minor cases of discrimination. Although many people were accommodating and friendly, he felt that a section of the law enforcement officers was biased against Hispanics. Cases of unnecessary searches on the cars in search of drugs were more common among Hispanics than any other race, according to the respondents. Kisacky (2021) admits that in most of the states bordering Mexico, law enforcement officers tend to be more vigilant in attempts to fight drug trafficking. The prejudice was one of the reasons why he moved to New Mexico, in an ethnically homogenous neighborhood, and with a large population of Hispanics.
The participant admitted that some of his characteristics made him ill-suited for American life. Individualism and materialism are some of the major aspects of the US value system (Takaki, 2012). However, Jesus admits that he grew up embracing a communal approach to life and managing challenges. It took time for him to adopt. Other American values such as ambition, desire for success, optimism, freedom of expression, equal access to opportunities, progress, and conquering and taming nature made life better. He is a believer in continuous improvement, a value that American society highly cherishes.
Cultural pluralism, assimilation, and ethnic identity as some of the concepts that can help define the social life of immigrants in the United States. Cultural pluralism refers to a societal situation where minorities can maintain their ethnic and cultural identity, practices, and values as long as they are in line with the law of the country (Kisacky, 2021). On the other hand, assimilation is where the minority is absorbed by and gets to resemble the majority in terms of values, beliefs, and practices (Steel et al., 2020). When he came to the United States, Jesus embraced cultural pluralism, which is common in this country. He explained that he maintained his ethnic identity, although he was keen not to break the law (Siordia, 2021). Maintaining his ethnic identity, such as valuing family ties, did not stop him from successfully interacting with members of other ethnic groups in the host country.
When Jesus moved to New Mexico, he was able to achieve financial independence. He noted that in 2016, just before the general election, he successfully invited his fiancé from Mexico to the United States. Her visa was temporary, but they married soon after her arrival. It provided a legal ground for her to request a longer stay in the country. The US Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 is favorable to family reunifications (Duvivier et al., 2017). She is still staying in the United States five years later.
Jesus is on the path towards becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. He explained that the process has taken longer than normal because he is not a holder of the Green Card (Siordia, 2021). He was an asylum seeker following the unfortunate natural disasters in his home country. His legal representatives are working on ways of making him a permanent resident of the country. Those who come to the US on a temporary stay visa often face a major challenge when they want to become naturalized citizens. There is always an assumption that they are in the country illegally.
Recent politics in the United States, especially during the last general election, has impacted the status of Mexican immigrants in the country. Former President Trump made the general public believe that Mexico is ‘exporting’ criminals into the country (Chambers et al., 2020). Such political rhetoric causes tension between the locals and the targeted foreigners. It also creates mistrust. The United States has introduced immigration policies to limit the number of immigrants from Mexico.
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