What a wonderful job you did on this documentary! Like many of you, I am
first generation American. My father came to the US from Yemen in the
1950's with nothing but a few hundred dollars and a bag of belongings. He
traveled city to city looking for work as he knew Yemen had nothing to
offer. After landing in the steel mills of NE Ohio, he settled and raised
a beautiful family of four. All my siblings are college
graduates--doctor, business administator, actuary, doctor-to-be. We owe
our successes to God's blessings and work ethic and manners and love from
our parents. Our struggles pale in comparison to theirs and it is this
reminder that drives us further. And all stories in this piece I could
relate. Masterfully done, PBS! Masterfully done!
We were all glued to the TV...for once the kids said when is that show
coming on again! I am Mexican-American and worked in the fields as a kid,
only during Summer's because my father wanted us to learn the value of
money. My parents were farm works as kids. We lived in "el campo" during
the week, go to our nice home during weekends. It was hot, but in
hindsight the best time ever.
My husband came from Iran. He came with $100 and we are quite successful.
This show should be mandatory viewing during Junior High. The saddest
part is to know Nora couldn't continue her schooling...where can the
viewers send money to either family to help them????
I want to thank PBS for showing this program which shows the new
immigration that is occurring in this country. For me the Flores
represents the hardship that my parents had when they arrived in teh
United States. They struggled through many obstacles put against but also
with the new society they are force into. I think it's important that
people recognize that immigration is cause by economic factors as we see
in teh stories of some of these people. Also they come to escape
persecution as well. I think this program should show people the real
story of immigration and how sometimes in this society that is composed of
immigration tend to forget immigration. We tend to criminalized them and
relegate them to second class status but we must recognize the important
contributions they make for this country. Immigration brings together
people from other cultures and creates a mixture of beauty and
understanding. Understanding each other is very important and that is
needed to create a better society. It is through tolerance that peace can be understood and that must be done by educating each other. I wish the best for all immigrants that come to this country and hope they achieve their goals. Con todo amor a mis companeros de Mexico que dio este con ustedes. Viva nuestra patria!!
Santa Ana, CA
Gracias PBS por un programa tan bien hecho, es muy inspirador ver estos
programas que enseñan al immigrante como realmente es, batallando,
sufriendo y con mucho orgullo de quien es. Mis padres salieron del estado
de Guanajuato como la familia Flores y con mucho orgullo digo que todo es
possible, nunca se olviden de donde vienen. I have been admitted to San
Diego State University and will proudly major in Latin American Studies.
I stayed up till midnight yesterday watching the show. All the family
stories were so touching. I could relate too.
I came from Poland in 1994. I was born and raised there in a typical
Polish middle class family. I never intended on living in any other
place. My mother, however, always hoped that her two daughters would have
a better life in the US, the land of opportunities and wealth. My sister
and I were very lucky. We didn’t have to clean other people’s
houses or wash dishes in restaurants although I admire people who do that.
We got full scholarships, finished great universities here and got good
At the same time it was hard for us too. I look at my American friends
and they have this sense of security, they can rely on their families for
support in good times and bad times. My sister and I have worked hard for
everything we have now. If it wasn’t for our hard work and
determination, we wouldn’t be here. We can’t rely on our
parents’ financial support, we don’t have a family house here either. Our entire family is back home in Poland. My mom visited us several times. I think she was a little disappointed with the American reality when she came over. She was very lonely here.
She died a few years ago. My dad was with her, but we were here. My dad
still lives in Poland. We miss him terribly and worry about him all the
time. I hope that my kids will never have to experience my sense of
loneliness, uncertainty and terrible homesickness like I have.
Shirley G. Robuste
VA Beach, VA
My family came from Haiti My dad emigrated to the US in 1974 on an artist
contract. 8 months later he sent for my mother There are six of us
altogether my parents sent for us myself and two siblings included eight
years later.A family of six living in a one bedroom apartment was no
picnic somehow we survived it all. I would not trade coming to America for
anything except for the trade off which is the separation of family Sadly
the family split up in 1985 and I have since seeing my dad but I've manage
to make my home here in VA Beach The biggest obstacle in a foreigner life
is the language barrier I along with my two siblings manage to learn
English watching the Sesame Street Show.With drive,dedication and
perseverance the impossible is always possible.
El Paso, TX
Thanks PBS, the series took me back to my families experience coming to
the USA from Mexico. My mom actually convinced my dad to move the family
north, where we ended up in Duncan,OK. There my parents did it all, like
all immigrants we are hard working, always pushing ourselves forward,
thinking of tomarrow - thinking of the kids, and sacraficing. I didn't
sweat like my parents, I was just a kid, but it brings tears to my
eyes-they love me so much- how our parents love us and endure the pain,
lets look through their eyes-lets sweat a little and not be afraid - its
our immigrant parents we most look up to
I am glad that I stumbled across this program and had the opportunity to
watch it.Next time could you please publicize it? I joined my husband some
18 years ago.We have both struggled over the years. He graduated in
industrial engineering years ago and decided to get a masters degree in
computer science. He worked for ameritech for some time and was let go.He
still hasn't gotten a job. In order to support us he has to drive a
cab.Immigrants esp. those with black skin go through hell in this
country.I shed tears for the people on that show because they reminded me
of what my family has been going through for over 20 something
years.America is a great country for selected few.
Me llamo Lorena, naci en Guatemala. When I was 8 years old, my family
moved to NY. On my 13th birthday we moved to Montreal, Canada. My family
consisted of my Father mother, 2 brothers and 1 sister. We came to Canada
with all of our belongings packed into 2 suitcases. A church helped us get
settled, finding us a 1 bedroom apartment and giving us used furniture and
clothes. As the oldest child I saw the suffering my parents went through,
working 2 and sometimes 3 jobs a day to make ends meet. I can't thank God
enough for my parents. I can honestly say that the first few years were
Today, I obtained my Bachelor's degree and am working in the finance
industry. My brother that follows me, will be graduating as a lawyer this
spring. My other brother obtained a university certificate in business
admin, he works in the fashion industry and my sister, the youngest has
just graduated with a bachelor's degree in commerce.
There are no words to explain how very, very grateful and proud we are of our parents.
PBS, thank you so much for that amazing documentary
El Paso, Texas
This show has truly touched me in so many ways. I began watching two
nights ago and realized how much my parents suffered for me to be born and
raised in the U.S.
My father immigrated from Mexico at the young age of 14 and my mother's
family moved to the states when she was 6 years old. My father worked in
several areas across the U.S. and sacraficed so that my siblings and
myself would have better opportunities.
I wish that more people would watch this documentary and understand that
all immigrants share similar experiences, and that although our ethnic or
religious backgrounds differ, we are all just humans attempting to create
a better life for ourselves and our families. Thank you for sharing such
touching stories, I truly appreciate it.
This is what REALTY SHOW is all about..,,
I came from Palestine in the 2001, and I don't need to tell my story,
because Naima "the palestinian bride" has just said it... thank you
Naima... and while watching this show I could see my life exactly..,, I
know exactly what Naima thinks and feels.. I just wish her the best of
luck with Hatem!! because I'm very Happy with my husband.. and the funny
thing is that I work for Jewish people too!!!
Each of these stories were moving and engrossing. I was struck by many in
the stories, working through their difficulties for the benefit of their
I was especially drawn to the Flores family given my own heritage. My
grandparents' families came here from the same region. My grandparents
were just small children at the time. I saw little Pedrito and imagined my
grandfather that age, put on a train to California to join his parents who
had gone ahead a few years before. Both my grandparents, their parents and
siblings worked in the fields, even as young children, picking various
crops. I cannot pass a migrant camp or a field with workers picking crops
without thinking about my family, just a few generations ago and honoring
the sacrifices they made. They came here seeking a better life for their
children, and through back breaking work, and often heartbreaking times,
they secured that for the generations that followed.
When Nora Flores at the end of episode three said she'd likely have to
give up her dream of education, but would still hold to her dream of learning
English, I felt both sadness and hope. In America you can do anything, and
I do hope she holds to her dream of education because she can have it. May
she and all immigrants know that all they do, every goal they do achieve,
lays a foundation for their children and grandchildren. My grandparents
and their families did this for me by coming here and thereby giving our
family opportunity. How grateful I am for all my grandparents have done
for me. My grandfather often looks across the table at any number of his
58 children, grand & great-grandchildren on Sunday evenings when we all
gather and remarks that he never imagined his life would turn out as it
I can't get enough of the stories of family members generations ago. I
try to picture them in my mind, to imagine them in the flesh from the 1 or
2 photos that might exist. I wonder if they ever imagined me as they went
through their own emotional and physical journeys here. They truly have given me everything by giving me opportunity, for that is in
essence what America offers. May we all honor the sacrifices of those that
came before us.
Kudos to PBS for airing such a wonderful program! I moved to the US from
Ghana some 15 yrs ago and am married to a Nigerian. Because we both
received our college education here (bachelor's and master's),we cannot
readily relate to the hardships and employment frustrations most of the
featured immigrants faced, but we definitely empathize with their
struggles, frustration and loneliness. I applaud Pedro for his hard work
and determination; and I wish him and his family well.
silver spring, MD
I saw part of the documentary about the Nigerian family and really
empathized with their situation. I was particularly pleased to see the
closeness in the family especially on Thanksgiving Day alone at home
I arrived in San Pablo, CA nearly 14 years ago with 400 dollars in my
pocket after paying for my college and rent for one month. I was two weeks
late for my first semester and it was nearly impossible to catch up with
journalism classes, given that I had no time to overcome culture shock, or
to survey my new environment.
13 years later, I have a family, a masters degree and working for a
federal agency as a consultant. The journey has only began.
My family came to America from Cuba in 1993. My father decided to leave
because he found the economic situation to be unbearable. He wanted a
better future for his children. He also feared repression from the
government since we couldn't keep to ourselves our disagreement with
Fidel's dictadorship. We left in the middle of a storm in my father's
small 14 feet fishing boat. We were 9 people in total. After 8 hours of
travel in awful weather we were rescued by a ship named "el Coronado"(the
crowned one) that took us to Jacksonville. We would not have made it if we
would not have been rescued. The storm got progessively worse. There was
30 feet waves. I want to thank our rescuers where ever thay are for saving
us. Perhaps one day in the near future we can meet again.
Thank you PBS for airing 'my' story. I could relate to each story in the
broadcast, the emotions, the joys and the struggles. Like many of the
immigrants in the documentary, I came to this country with 2 suitcases and
have been able to fulfil so many of my dreams - get an education, work,
own a car and a home. This is a truly a land that offers everyone the hope
of a better tomorrow.
Glen Burnie, MD
Thank you PBS!!! One of the greatest TV shows I ever saw! And its all
true! I belive that it touched a lot of people who watched it. I came to
US form Ukraine when I was 17 with my dad, mom and 10 year old sister.
Our father won a green card lottery for our family in 1995. We did not
have any relatives or friends in US, but our father desided to move here
anyway just so that my sister and I can get a better future. Our
destination point was Portland, OR. We had only $300 in the pocket when
we landed in Chicago, IL (we did not have enough money to get direct
ticket to Seattle, WA), and from Chicago we took the Greyhound bus to
Portland, OR. Imagine travel three days in the country were you never
been before and don't know the language). But we made it and we stayed
with the poeple that used to live in our home town in Ukranie. They told
us to live their house in two weeks and we had to find our own place to
live. We stuggle a lot, like the people from the series. After 9 years
my father owns his own business and he has eveything that he dreamd of when he was in Ukranie.
He acomplished his dreams! United States of America made it posible for
my family! I am very fortunate to have a father like that. He made
posible for me and my sister accomplish our dreams too.
Born in Guyana, I came to NY on a student visa in 1990 at the age of 20.
Unlike most other immigrants, I did not have any relatives here.
I spent the first 5 months working for tuition for the upcoming semester.
The day after I got here I was walking through Jamaica Ave. store-to-store
looking for work. My first job was as a helper in a mechanic's shop where
I was paid $60 for the week. My next job took me to McDonalds where I was
responsible for sweeping and mopping. After a month, I was working in the
South Bronx at a clothing store where I (then 90lb, 5ft 4ins) was
responsible for security duties on the floor looking out for theives.
Needless to say that I was conned a number of times and each time I lost
property, the value was subtracted from by weekly pay.
A year later, I was again working close to home in Queens at the
neighborhood Key Food supermarket. I stayed there for the next 2 years
until I finished college. I worked 7 days for a total of 35/hrs and
carried the maximum 18 credits/semester. I graduated magna cum laude and second in my class.
During the first 3 years, 2 of my brothers and a friend joined me in NY.
We shared a one bedroom attic which was infested with cockroaches and
mice. In winter it used to be freezing as the windows weren't properly
sealed nor were the walls insulated.
Upon graduation, things got better. We were able to get rid of the TV
that was dark on one side and the tape recorder which had to be poked with
a pen to get it to play at the correct speed. We moved into a first floor
apartment with 2 bedrooms. Soon after, we found love, got married, and
each went on our own.
Today, my wife and I own a home and our son has toys that I could have
only dreamt of. I have since completed a Masters degree and am currently
working on an MBA.
Mine is a successful story of an immigrant, not that of a new "American".
In my 14 years here, I have never been recognized as such. I have always
been a foreigner (especially after 9/11). I am in deep gratitude for the
opportunities given to me by this country and as such I was glad to become a citizen.
But I don't feel like an 'American', I still feel like the foreigner.
Today, you will not see the lone face of a non-caucasian person on the
poster titled "An American". I hope that one day my son's face can be
representative of an "American" and he can truly feel at home in America.
Delray Beach, FL
My mother defected in 1979 from Romania, which at the time was a Communist
country. My father and I were able (through many political channels) to
finally join her a year later. I was almost 11 when we settled in
Cleveland, OH. My mother was considered as having committed treason by
the Romanian Government, and therefore could never return (as long as the
Communists were in power). Her entire family was left behind, as was my
father's. We came to Cleveland not knowing anyone. We had no family or
friends. During our two years there, my parents worked the myriad odd
jobs that we've all seen in your documentary. They did it all, the both
of them. A few months into our new life, my maternal grandfather passed
away from lung cancer in Romania; none of us were able to go back and bury
him (we were considered traitors). My parents' immigrant story is a
success. We all became citizens in 1985. In 1982 my father took a
nursing job in Washington DC and we left Cleveland for yet another "better
life." Within three years, my parents bought their own house in a suburb, in
Maryland. By 1989 they had paid it off by working continuously without a
single day off or vacation. They were able to send me to colleg (Univ. of
Maryland) from which I graduated in winter of '91 with a degree in
filmmaking. In 1992, my parents were able to buy a second home in south
Florida, to rent out until they retired and planned on living in the land
of sunshine. Using the rent money and yet another stint of a few years of
work without days off or vacations, they were able to pay their 2nd home
off in 1995. My wife and I have now been residing in Delray Beach (a mere
few miles away from my parents' retirement home) for four years, and are
about to make my parents--grandparents. Our soon-to-be born daughter will
be an American by birth! My parents have finally retired, and are in the
process of moving to south Florida to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I
am currently finishing the final draft of a novel about our experience with
daily life in a Communist country, and the struggles of immigration (no
citizens owned a passport and no one was allowed to travel during the
Communist era) to rejoin my mother in America during one of the worst
economic times this country has ever faced (1979-1982). Although ours is
a success story with a happy ending, we, too, were initially taken by the
"myth" of America, the dream that everything is here for the taking--when
in fact it is not. Everything is, indeed, here...but it's never attained
without a high price on the family.
Edwin M. Olivera
Iím a student at the University of Memphis and Iím 17 years old, when I
was 15 I moved to Memphis from La Paz Bolivia where I used to live with my
mother. The number of changes that an individual experience when they move
from another culture is overwhelming, food, language and others are
predominant factors of the hardship of habituating. I fortunately had my
father when I moved here, but his story could've fit the parameters of the
people in the documentary, he was 17 years of age (as old as I am right
now) and moved by himself to Miami. There is something about he
documentary that struck me, since my heritage itís based on immigration to
this country and the cultural tension that undergoes it. Iím a graphic
design student and thinks tat are visually attractive usually catch my
attention but in this case the social drama go a grip on my soul, I just
wanted to communicate that to whomever, and tell how of a great job they
did. There is one image struck me the most, when the Mexican girl, the
daughter grabbed a Dorothy doll, and the doll said at the end of her mechanical monologue
"there is no place like home" I tend to catch small details like that.
Again, great job.
Great job guys!!.
The Palestinian lady really touched my heart, she loved those kids under
her care regardless of their religion. We need to learn a lot from her. I
married an american from St. Louis and although I miss my family back in
Peru, my husband and I love each other and have built a strong family of
our own. I relate to the loneliness I saw in those ladies, away from their
culture. The fact is here in the US we drive instead of walk and we miss
the human contact we get in our countries as many people walk in the
streets and you feel part of a human group. Also, need brings family and
people together, makes you more aware of others suffering and turns you
compassionate and strong. I feel more alive when I travel back to Peru,
more relaxed, I can kiss and hug, smile more and laugh!. I like it is
orderly and controlled here but lacks a bit of human touch. We need more
latinos here! ;>)
Fort Worth Tx
In some way I could empathize with all of the immigrants presented but
being a Mexican immigrant, the story of the Flores family had the most
impact. My father was a Mexican national, my mother a US citizen. We
lived on a farm in the state of Coahuila until 1952 when we returned to my
mother's hometown, Gonzales, Texas. Our parents, expecially our mother,
valued education and saw to it that all the children attended school. My
family is one more example that immigrants do not come to the United
States to be a burden but to be contributing members of society through
our jobs, church and community. Our success was the result of our parents'
support and sacrifice. I can honestly say that all of my nieces and
nephews are an asset to their community in their jobs, schools and church.
Although only my brother, the youngest after eight girls, graduated from
college, fifeen of our children have a college degree. The Zertuche-Molina
family is proud of their Mexican heritage and their contribution to the
United States of America.
Fort Lauderdale Florida
My parents are originally from Tubac Arizona and were deported during
depression of the 1930's. Racism was rampant in the US even for native
people. My parents never really adjusted to Mexico and longed to return. I
was born in Mexico and returned with my parents to start anew in
California. I remember vividly the segrated bathrooms and lunch counters
present in that time.... wondering which one I was meant for a brown
person like me.
We as immigrants have a debt to pay to the civil ights leaders of the
1960's without them...many of their dreams would have been tarnished by
the racism that my parents faced in this country.
I have been in the US for 5 years and my wife is also here now. We are
from India. Our primary purpose of coming here was education but the
stories we saw in these series are not very different from ours.
What was truly touching was how all the immigrants came here with dreams
of "tall buildings and large cars" but none of them found "happiness".
Indeed everyone who left their family and homeland to come to the U.S.
realized that they were oblivious to how happy they were with their
family, even in times of turmoil, social unrest, poverty and struggle. I
feel that every immigrant goes through such a stage when the people in
your life matter very much but eventually the American dream and the lure
of money endures.
Things have changed since this documnetary was made. In the late 1990's
India was a victim of brain drain because a large number of talented tech
workers were pulled in by America. The flow is now in the opposite
direction as India's booming economy and low labor costs is now costing
Americans their jobs.
Few years down the road, we could have the "Lost American Dream"
documentary series if the current state of the economy and the export of
jobs to Asian countries continues.
I come from Honduras i move to U.S.A. back in 2000 i like the people in
the show The new Americans i come here whith dreams the work save money
and go back to my country, but life change and is realy hard when you are
from some where else you meet people are nice some are racist and don't
like you just for the way you look,the color and the skin I cry every time
i see the show because i feel the pain they feel, I kwow how they feel, I
miss my food.
The white americans don't understand the we all are inmigrants they
great,grand parents came from somewhere else too.
we need to change the way we think because of ar childrens and because we
all are humans.
I am a first generation american of Caribbean descend. I watched your
program and it spoke to my soul. My parents emigrated to N.Y.C about 35
Years ago. Being born and raised in N.Y.C, where most New Yorkers are
either first or fifth generation American, there are people, one can
relate to; Not necessarily the same background, but knows secondhand of
the immigrant experience. I moved to the Minneapolis about 7 yrs ago. It
is Highly different;like Saturn is to Mercury.It is very WHITE, and when i
explain where my parents came from, alot of questions projected at me.
Mostly geographic ones. I am telling you, there is no place like N.Y.C.
When i think of the terminology "Melting Pot", i picture N.Y.C where one
can get all types of food. One of many things that i missed about N.Y.C
was the FOOD!!from Caribbean,West African,Jewish,and Middle Eastern to
Thai,and Chinese food. In Minneapolis, there are Some ethnic food but it
is not the same.Its bland; which
one can not anticipate much when their location is the whitest City and State in the U.S. An advice,if you are contemplating about
moving to Minneapolis,especially if one is of immigrant status,there are
some opportunities.But if one is of color, your chances on occupational
mobility is very slim. Think very carefully in terms of what you are
getting yourself into before moving.Love,Peace, and Hair grease.
My family immigrated here from Cuba in the 1960's when Fidel Castro took
power. They came to the United States with nothing but a dream for a
better future. My grandparents struggled very hard to make a living. Not
knowing English, they sweat away in factories with little pay for years. I
am so proud of them and thankful to them for it is because of their hard
work and perserverance that my parents and my generation is able to reap
the benefits of their courage. To all newly arrived immigrants, I say
"Welcome. Yes, the United States is not a perfect Utopia. It will take
hard work for you to succeed, but it will pay off and your children and
grandchildren will always thank you for it." And I want to say thank you
to this great country. What you have given my family, I could never repay,
because freedom is priceless.
Thank you for this wonderful documentary on the new immigrants. I was
inspired, angered, and moved by what the different individuals had to
undergo. My father came to the US from India in the 1960s as a student, my
mother followed him, and I am a first generation Indian American. My
husband also immigrated here after spending his childhood in India. I
think we related to the Palestinian couple the most-especially how Hatem's
idealism after growing up in the US contrasted with his wife's and
parents' resignation about the situation back home. I could also see my
mother's story in the Indian, Mexican and Palestinian wives' displacement
in the new country. I was especially touched by the portrayal of the
Nigerian immigrants: Israel and his family who came as refugees, but their
education meant little in the US. I felt that they were people of warmth
and integrity, and it saddened me to see what obstacles they struggled
with. Also it was interesting to see a different perspective on the
Israel/Palestine crisis than is usually shown in the media. This documentary was also excellent in
the way it handled the dramatic events of 2001, such as the dot com bust,
recession and 9/11. They were woven into the context of these people's
lives, and they did not feel heavy-handed or out of place.
I came to the United States from Korea when I was twelve. Before I came
here, I had a romantizied idea about this country. I thought there were no
such thing as poverty, ignorance, nor hate. But I was naive. My thoughts
about America changed day after day and I no longer thought it as a
perfect country. This land also had poverty, loneliness, as well as
sorrow. We all come here with the hope of getting a second chance in life.
I have gone through it all, poverty, lonliness, and many obstacles. My dad
lost his only son in this country. And I lost a brother who cared for my
sister and I when my dad was at work all night as a janitor. What I
learned in America is that if you make a mistake you can always start
over. I have thanked my dad for bringing us here. All those experiences I
have gone through has made me into a stronger person as well as
compassionate one. By coming to america, I did get a second chance.
Now this is must see TV. I could be biased a bit since I was a refugee
myself. I migrated to the US in 1987 but after 3 years of moving from
one country to the next trying to obtain a visa.
I commend you on this great program that touches the soul and puts things
in perspective such as why am I privileged to be hear and live this
American life while millions of others around the world live in poverty
and with no hope other than to come to the States. Hopefully your viewers
would come to similar conditions and cherish what they have here.
Thank you for helping me remember what I had to go through to become an
The programs were fascinating. My parents were immigrants from Croatia in
the 20s. These stories paralled those of my parents. My Mom traveled
alone as a 20 year old, by ship and train to Kansas City, KS where her two
married sisters lived. After 3 days, she went to work in a packing house.
Even as an old woman, she would shudder as she recalled the sounds,
smells and hard work she experienced. They found her a job in a sewing
factory after the first week. My Dad was a master stonemason and traveled
here with his father. He worked in Montana, Oregon, Canada, Kansas City
and after he met and married my Mom in KCK, they moved to St. Louis, MO.
where my sister and I were born. They never saw their parents again and
did not return to their homeland for a visit until 50 years later. Their
formal education was not much more than a 3rd or 4th grade level, yet they
learned to speak, read and write English and sent my sister and me to
college. I do believe we made them very proud. The programs really made
me better understand the gigantic risk and optimism that motivated them to
come to America. They had told me stories of their and friend's
experiences in getting work, being cheated and demeaned for being
"foreigners". Thanks so much for the excellent programming.
Flushing, New York
I gave my mom a kiss goodnight and went to my living room thinking to
myself I should talk to her about how dissapointed I had been feeling
lately then I heard in spanish"Elizabeth come here look they are showing
something on the Dominican Republic!" I went to my mom's room and we were
both glued to the TV for the next 2 hours.The same for the next 2 days. I
felt so thankful to be here and grateful to have such loving parents.I
told people at work "You have to see this show its amazing!" Watching this
show made me reflect on my parent's hardships coming here, and all the
struggles they went through for me and then my younger sister. My mother
is Dominican and my father Peruvian-Chilean. Both have told me incredible
stories of what they went through in search of the American Dream. We still
as a family are struggling but I know I am very lucky compared to many
people around the world.
I graduated College which is one of the most important things my parents
and I wanted me to accomplish. I am seeking a job in
my field which has been very difficult. I identfied with the show so much
because I felt as if I was watching my life in a way even though these
families came from India, Palestine, Nigeria and so on. Thank you for a
wonderful show I was truly touched by each family's story.
while flipping through the channels, I got this programm and was fixed
there till end. thankyou for providing us with such fulfilling program. I
saw what I always belive. deep inside we all dream the same and we have
the same hope and aspiration. I am first generation immigrant from
Ethiopia, who joined this blessed pool called USA 7 years back. what I
hope while back home, I got it here. USA have been like what I thought to
be. I passed some difficult times but at last I am in the right track
fulfilling my life time dream. I work full time as assistant
professor/tenure track in medical field. This country gave me everything I
have. with all the good things though being a first generation immigrant
is very difficult. you always feel lonely inside. living here happy just
for myself while all my family are back home is saddening. the cultural
gap is huge. difficult to bridge in one generation. Thankyou America, and
let her remain as the land of Immigrants with extended arms to those who
dream big and seek freedom.
thank you PBS.
My parents came to this country from Galway, Ireland when my mum was
pregnant with me. I found that growing up both Irish and American was not
as simple as many people might believe. The Irish may have the
"american-look"(whatever that is supposed to be) but we do have a very
different culture, from simple things like words we use to foods we eat to
bigger things like religion and personal beliefs. As my parents were not
Catholic (which most people think all Irish are)this my parents found to
be their number one hurdle, both of my parents are pagans and have been
for more generations than we have a written history for. Anyway, I
digress, even though I was lucky enough to be born in this country and
count myself as an American I also consider myself to be truly Irish, I
guess I'm the generation after "the new americans" I'm the result of what
comes next, we are got between are parents homeland and our own.
Anyway, I really enjoyed watching the "new americans" although I would
have liked their to be
one more episode with perhaps someone from Asia and someone from Europe.
I think my heart went out to all of those families struggling trying to
find their place here. But, most of all my heart went out to the eldest
daughter of the Flores family, she came to Kansas and was able to see a
future for herself only to have it snatched out from under her because her
mother wanted to be with her sisters, I really felt that was a selfish
thing to do on her part, now I worry that that poor girl will only face a
life of working in the fields in California, which I'm sorry isn't much of
a future in my opinion. But all in all I really enjoyed it.
Thanks you so much for this inspiring program. My Maternal Grandfather
came to CA with parents. They were Portuguese. One can relate even
generations later. I feel all new paths in life can relate to the stories
and lives we viewed in this remarably filmed program. In marriage, and
moves, I too, have felt some of what is shared. New things, confusion ,
sadness to leave family and renewed hope and strengthened resolve to make
Thank you so much for sharing this moving odyssey of the New Americans in
this wonderful series of human experiences. I am a Tibetan, born and
raised in India and I came to America almost a decade ago with a Hollwood
notion of the American life and I felt a lot of the emotions that these
New Americans went through when I had to face the reality . Being here I
have learnt to appreciate my cultural heritage and embrace the way of
life here. Watching the series in its entirety broadened my perspective
of how other immigrants feel and think. We all have a story to tell and
we all want to make it here. My hope is to see more immigrant stories
told so that we can not only educate ourselves but also accept people for
who they are.
What a great documentary!
Being an immigrant myself, I felt there are many unrecognized
nationalities in the United States.
Still, after six years of living here, I go through "getting to know" of
everything. I was born in Bosnia, and when the horrible war happend, we
were forced to leave. My parents moved to Germany.
I have to releate to the story of Almir, we were again forced to leave
Germany, and so my parents decided to move to U.S.
My first year of living here was very hard. Not only for myself, it was
hard for my parents as well. But luckily, we had great people around in
the community, which made us things a lot easier. Thanks to schools and
teachers, I have accomplished a lot myself, and now I have the greatest
opportunity of helping new immigrants adapting to this country.
PBS Thank you.
"The New Americans" is absolutely wonderful.
I am the daughter of Yemeni immigrants. Although I was raised in a very
Arab/Muslim household in Texas, I never really understood fully what and
how it was like to immigrate to this country whenever my parents spoke
about it. "The New Americans" made me realize and truly understand the
emotions, thoughts, and experiences an immigrant is faced with. I want to
thank PBS for doing such an amazing job. I, and many like me appreciate
your efforts in explaining something so complex in such a simple, direct
way. Thank you again.
I grew up on the 42 sq. mile island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas in
the Western Pacific, which is also a U.S. Territory. I came here to
attend college in 1976. Because I grew up in an American territory, I
knew some things about America. I have adjusted and have become somewhat
assimilated. Still, after all these years, and even though I'm married to
an American who was born in this country, I still get reminded that I am
still an immigrant, and life is still hard. Here in Kansas, many of the
people I encounter have lived here all their lives. They have their
social network of family and friends. Since I lived in New York, then
Austin, and now here, since 1998, I don't have the lifelong support
network that they have. That makes a difference. I cried when I saw what
happened to the Indian family. I cried when I saw Naima's mother looking
out the window because she didn't feel right walking around the streets of
the city. I cried when I saw what happened to an intelligent man with
skills and talent cleaning dirty dishes (if he had been an old American, he would
have had connections that would have landed him a job that he was more
deserving off. Here in Kansas I see announcements in the business section
of people becoming CEOs and such after getting only a Bachelor's degree in
business. They get these jobs because of their family name or who they
I washed dishes while I was in college, I've looked out windows, I've
moved around in order to find a good job. I had to get a Ph.D. to make a
respectable living. Thank you, PBS, for reminding me, through the stories
of these people, that I am a New American, and I've lived the life of a
New American. It's a hard life, but there are others like me. That's my
network. I will seek out new Americans more diligently, because I realize
that they are me.
this was the best program I have seen for a while. It touched me at the
bottom of my heart. I saw that at the most elemental levels, all people
are the same even through their different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and
heritages. they all have relatives and ones that they love and are
relentlent to leave, they all have their own difficult struggle to
conquer. this program has documented the human and emotional side of
immigrants and put a real face complete with hardships, everyday struggles
and bitter sweetness of life behind empirical data and satistics.
being an immigrant child with a single mother myself, I can really feel
for them even though my transition was very smooth and different from
their stories. but the fact that they are torn between two places, two
cultures is universal. I can especially relate to the 2 kids in high
school and their cultural gap that has already developed with their
outgoing yet at times bossy mother. I really feel for you guys. more and
more you are going to feel like
you are americans and your mom will have a hard time accepting that
becasue this is not the culture that she was raised in. I still have
cultural differences with my mom even though I've been in America for 12
years. it is a continuous progess as she and I learns and togehter try to
understand where each other is coming from to work out our differences.
Lots of times childrens of immigrants suffer a loss of identity because
they don't especially feel they are completely of the new culture, but
they can't particularly identify with their previous culture either, they
feel no one will understand them. it is not easy but it will get easier
though it might be worse before it is easier. for all the families just
hang in there, as we all trial through the adversities of life.
Pedro's story,brought back memories that relates to my childhood, I was
born in Mexico in 1976 all I could remember about my father as a kid
living in mexico was that he will visit us once a year. but as soon as he
came back I will forget his image,and felt lonely,eventualy my father like
pedro got us a visa and move us to the U.S in 1986 I was 10 yrs old ,when
I finally became closed to him,felt the love of a father also saw him
strugle to suport ,us working at a yarn mill.I felt sad to see him tired
every day but he never miss a day of work,never complain, my father does
not knows how to read,never had a chance to go to school,he work the
family farm,in mexico ,i'm glad he choose to bring us here, I have a
better life in this great country,the United States of America,
My parents immigrated from South Korea to Canada in 1970. They were both
Korean war veterans: my mother was an army nurse and my father was a
soldier in the Korean navy. They saw a lot of bloodshed and their country
nearly destroyed by war. My parents' families lost every possession they
had, including photos. I've never seen a photo of my mother when she was
a child. They came to Canada to escape the lack of opportunities and
devastation after the war.
Over in North America, my parents had to work as housekeeper, orderly,
etc. to get by. They had to learn a new language. They had no family or
social network in Canada. Despite these obstacles, they helped to sponsor
my aunts, uncles and their families to Canada and give them what little we
had when they finally immigrated. Like many Korean immigrants, my parents
started up a small business and worked there 7 days a week. I worked
there too, as a resentful teenager, wondering why my friends were all
hanging out at the mall and I had to work.
My parents were always working, even on Christmas day. 10 years ago, my
husband and I moved to the US.
Like Canada, the US is strengthened and built up by the blood, sweat and
tears of immigrants. Due to my parents' sacrifices, today I am an
attorney in Philadelphia and have been blessed with a comfortable life.
But I will never forget my heritage. Thank God, because it's made me who
Detroit - MI
"New Americans" had me and my husband stick to the Television for through
We immigrated from India, as part of the IT wave. Its a whole new world.
And definetely an experience of a Lifetime.
Oru daughter was born here. an American citizen!!
As the first child on my father's side to be born in the United States, I
was really pleased to see the showing of The New Americans. Mi pai' es
Boricua (puertorriqueño) and my mom is a Black American, so
multiculturalism is something I have to deal with everyday. Even though
I'm half Puerto Rican I feel that I can strongly identify with Ricardo and
Jose who are from La República Dominicana. I luv the fact that PBS doesn't
try to have a translator's voice put over the original voices, so the
viewers can listen to the people speak in their native tongue. I'm also
very pleased with the fact that Ricardo and Jose son morenos b/c the media
always tries to make all Latinos look the same. Hopefully on a new season,
they will have some Boricuas y Cubanos. All-in-all, I enjoy the program a
lot. Keep up the good work!
LEIGH ANN OFEIMUN
SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, NY
My husband is Nigerian, from Lagos.
I am american and we met and married in Germany, twleve years ago, where
he was a political refugee.
When we moved to chicago in 1992, we struggled
and my husband worked two jobs for us to survive. In 1996 we moved to new
york, to be closer to his sister who also lives in New York. My husband
became naturlized in May/2000. I am very proud of him, he has worked very
hard for this country and his family, we own our home home now and he is
now a supervisor for New York Presbyterian Hospital.
I'm a 'New American' precisely 8 months. My husband and I moved to
America due an offer of employment that will help him upgrade his career
as faculty and Scientist. I'm just the 'spouse' and can see myself in some
of the people from the program. I struggle trying to adapt in a small city
after moving from London. My husband is Swedish/Greek, lived several years
in Germany and London, for him is just another place doing what he most
like to do. Iím Portuguese with Scottish roots, lived several years in
London. For the first time I don't feel so different around of so many
others different. I started teaching Portuguese recipes to my neighbors,
introducing a little bit of foreign taste.
Just trying to adapt a new culture and society. Is a new step every day.
My family and I came from Mexico about 12 years ago. At the begining it
was very hard adapting to new culture and very scary too. After the years
past by it became easier because I learned a new language, read and write
too. My family as many other families came for the same reason for a
better life and future. As many other people around the world who come
here is for work and a better life to give to their family.
My father came to America first, it was 1976 we were living in Beirut,
Lebanon, he went to Canada first in order to get papers to come to America
and then a year later he moved my mother sister and I over. We lived in
Philadelphia for 20 years and just 7 years ago came down to FL. It is
funny how America is looked at from other parts of the world, many of my
family members that are still overseas think that money grows on trees and
when you come here it will be automatically handed to you. I remember as
a child my father working as many as 2 jobs along with his regular full
time job. America has a lot to offer as long as you work for it. Other
then the safety we moved for the education, and I appreciate all that my
parents have had to sacrifice for me and my sister.
My father moved to Napa, California from Mexico D.F. in 1971, and the rest
of our nuclear family (mother, brother and I) followed in 1975. Like so
many others, my parents moved us to the United States in hopes of
improving our lives.
Now, over 30 years later, it appears that their hopes were partially
On the one hand, our family suffered through the effects of racism and
discrimination. My older brother became a drug addict and spent more than
15 years going in and out of California's prisons, and has since been
permanently deported to Mexico. Both of my parents are disabled from
work-related injuries (winery and vineyard work) and were unable to keep
the home they had bought in Napa. And finally, I began to follow in my
brother's footsteps and landed at the California Youth Authority.
On the other hand, despite my struggles, I now possess a law degree and
am an examination away from being an attorney. This fact alone, in our
opinion, makes my parentsí decision to move to the United
States of America a good one. My degree and professional status hasn't
only helped me, it has elevated my entire family in many ways. And more
importantly, it sets the stage for my son to enjoy and build upon the
fruits of our family's collective efforts.
That's what my parent's envisioned when they moved here. So, while their
hopes for themselves and my brother may have been partially quashed, their
ultimate goal of improving our family's generational success has been
In sum, even though various 'isms' are rampant in the United States of
America, this country turned out to be for us'the place of opportunity
that my parents sought and I am eternally grateful to, and love my country
I am recent naturalized citizen. I am a Palestinian who was born in
Kuwait. My family moved here after the gulf war when I was 11 years old.
As Palestinians, we had no homeland to go to and Kuwait was not welcoming
at the time. I am grateful for the oppurtunity to live in the US.
I came to USA 2 years ago. I married an American man. I am from Colombia.
In Colombia there are 7 women per one man, so there are a lot of agencies
offering marriage opportunities with Foreign gentlemen. 85% of Colombian
Women are higly educated, come from high moral families and are pretty,
that is the reason that marriage agencies are doing excelent bussines
contacting American and European men with Colombian Women. I met my
husband trough one of this agencies, we dated for a year and half before
he proposed me. I felt very in love with him, we had a beautiful wedding
in my country and then a small wedding here in America. My only reason to
be in USA is love. I never really dreamed about coming to USA, however I
did want to move to another country such as Spain or Argentina for better
job opportunities. I am a professional occupational therapist and in my
country there are not enough jobs for all the professionals.
Getting a good job here in USA has been very difficult for me, the
validation of my career
is a very expensive and hard process and the discrimination is also very
hard. Tennessee is a pretty state but in my opinion, the people here are
very racist and too much conservative and they think that all immigrants
are ilegal, uneducated and just want to steal their jobs.
I was born in Italy but my parents are from Somalia. It has been about 8 years since i and my family immigrated from somalia. The civil war has distroyed somalia and most of the countries that are in Africa. The civil war also seprated families. I am proud of were i am from, and dream to help people back home later in my future.
I am the wife of an immigrant.I watched the saddness and understanding on my husbands face as we watched the immigrants stories.I have been married for 8 years and 2 years ago my husband had to back to mexico to visit his sick mother and had to leave her behind just like Pedro had to leave his father. We are all from immigrants but we seem to forget that until you come in contact with the grateful honorable people coming here for a greater freedom of life that all our forefathers once came here for long ago as well.
Petra M. Cruz-Ramos
Bronx, New York
I was born in the Dominican Republic. My parents and I immigrated to the U.S. in 1963. My sister immigrated in 1965. As with so many immigrants from around the world, we came for economic reasons, to achieve a better quality of life. We are grateful to this country for giving us that opportunity. We maintain our Dominican roots but we are so American in many ways. We are definitely bi-cultural. I am teaching my children the importance of both cultures. Kudos to PBS for again giving their viewers such a masterpiece with "The New Americans". I was touched by all the segments, but of course, especially by the stories of Ricardo Rodriguez and Jose Garcia.. UN GRAN PROGRAMA...FELICIDADES!!!
My parents came to the US from Hyderabad, India in 1971 because my father wanted to complete dentistry school here and hoped for a better future for me and my older sister. The future was only circumstantial and since their arrival, my parents have struggled, but have done everything in their power to provide for us, selflessly.
As a first generation Asian American, I value my culture and also appreciate the many amenities and opportunities other Americans take for granted every day. Intently watching this series, it is amazing how this nation has such a fragile balance of unity. On one hand, you have American citizens who are rude to these hard working immigrants, yet there are sincere people who are willing to support these people with love and advice.
A completely compelling series that ALL Americans should watch. I commend these filmmakers, especially for showing the side of Palestine that many Americans here do not understand and will not be able to understand unless more filmmakers begin to reveal the truth about what is really happening in Palestime and the rest of the Middle East.
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
I was flipping through the channels and I caught your show. It was truly amazing. I can relate to some of the stories. We came here from Brazil in 1973. We were sponsored by my Uncle who already lived here. I have to admit that it wasn't so difficult for me since I was just a child. I adjusted pretty well. But for my parents and my brother it was hard to speak the language and accept the reality that everything was so unfamiliar. My mother would cry and say that she wanted to go back to Brazil but my father encouraged her to keep trying. Eventually we accepted our new life and we couldn't imagine going to live anywhere else. But our greatest accomplishment was when we all became American citizens. We were so proud of our new country and what we had achieved because of it. There is no other place like America and that's why so many people struggle to come here - to find their dreams! I can say that we are truly lucky and blessed to have made the choices we did. Thank you America for being everything that you are and thank you for making such a wonderful documentary on this siutation.
Silver Spring MD
It was a grey morning when my parents told me that we would be leaving our small island nation, Cuba. "For vacation?" I asked. "No, for an indefinite amount of time." I was quite shocked. And thus I learned at the age of 10 about loss.
The thought of leaving my sister, who was 10 years older and already married, my grandmother, our small house, our summer trips to the beach with all the uncles and cousins. But it was to be according to the plan of my parents who had been trying to leave the island for all of their adult life.
My father had won an unheard of scholarship to go to Mexico and complete coursework in Engineering. Or at least that 's the story I was told. Our bags were packed with one extra outfit for each one of us. Our tears were cried. Our family home, history, and childhood memories were left in Cuba, never to be retrieved. We couldn't take any possessions out of the country, not even our picture albums. When it was time to board the plane, my father was prevented from getting on the plane because he had a college education and during that time the revolution was not allowing people with college degrees to emigrate.
So my mother and I went to Mexico, alone and fatherless. That Spring of 1984 was a bitter cold and sad one for me. There we lived for six months, until my father was able to join us. and we asked the United States for political asylum.
I have been back to visit my sister s two times in the 20 years that I have lived here. Communism still endures and we live holding our breaths until the day that Cubans can return to their native land in freedom.
My parents are from the Philippines. They came over in the mid 70s. Nurses were in great demand over here. She along with many other Filipino nurses obtained working visa to work in America. My uncle, when he was in the Philippines joined the U.S. Coast Guard, petitioned for my grandmother to come over. Who in turn petitioned for my father, then my aunt and then uncle. One of the hardest things my parents had to do was to leave loved ones behind. My mother left her whole family behind. My dad left behind his father, two brothers, nieces and nephews. Life was hard for them at first. They often put themselves last. They installed the value of education, and through hard work they were able to provide a private school education for their daughters which they are proud of. They tell us stories of their lives back home. They remind us of the abundant opportunities that are over here and what a blessing it is to live here.
I am so thankful for the sacrifices and hard work they endured. They're determination to provide a better life and instilling in us pride for being Filipino-American.
Daisy Hernandez de Hardiman
I'm from Venezuela and I came to US along with my sister 8 years ago with the only intention to learn English (4 month) but we change our minds several times and desided to go to college which we thankfully finished. My sister continued her master's degre and I got married with a black guy I met in one of my classes. Although we are venezuelans, our parents were originally borned in the Canary Island (Spain), we really knew what is like being considered and treated differently. We have always been inmigrants, but I realize that USA is a very harsh place for forigners because of their highly racial and social dicrimination. It is difficult to live in a process of adaptation the rest of your life, but in the other hand, this is the only place where we can actually work and get paid for what we do. I guess it is worth the sacrifice.
I came from Brussels, Belgium to a small Arizona town some 36 years ago. Cultural shock indeed! I worked in a factory for a time, experienced hard times and disillusions. Homesick and lonely during the first few years, yet I adapted and came to fall in love with all that is good and truly unique about America. There is an American "can do" spirit and a willingness to face shortcomings and learn from our past. Apologists for America would do well to recognize that for so many, this is indeed the land of opportunity.
The New Immigrants documentary provides some powerful insight into the difficulties faced by newcomers to the States, although I feel the West Bank segments rather unbalanced in the context of the whole project. The privileged young man from the West Bank should live in France or Belgium for a while before speaking of "racism". Perhaps an Eastern European experience would have been more appropriate to the purpose of demonstrating the present day influx of people to these shores.
For me as an Arizonan, the most touching segment was of course the depiction of the Mexican family. The cruel dilemma faced by this good man and father is one repeated many times over in our state, one that underlines the need for a further revision of our immigration laws.
Good job, PBS!