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I am the American citizen spouse of a Nigerian man who has been trying to
get into this country for nearly 15 years in order to fulfill his dreams.
Just recently, we have been traversing the spouse visa maze for some 4
years. I thought the agony, the sadness and the emotional drain were mine
alone. And yet, I can't begin to imagine what my husband is going through
back at home. All I can say of this program is "WOW!" When I wasn't
laughing I was crying. This is why I have decided to support PBS.
San Gabriel, California
Wow! I usually can't sit long enough to watch anything this long, but
after stumbling upon this program the first night, I looked for it the
next two nights.
I am an immigrant, but can hardly remember the struggles my parents
experienced with limited English, culture shock, financial problems. I'm
proud of my parents that they had fixed goals of making it a success in
the U. S. and they did!
This documentary was wonderful. I wish I could show it to many, many
people that are unsympathetic to the struggles of immigrants, especially
people of color.
I teach in a neighborhood of Los Angeles where I have many immigrant
children, and the teacher's hearts are often opened up to help their
students, if only with a pair of new shoes.
All of us humans are just trying to improve our life somewhat. Some
people take the drastic measure of leaving their homeland, and it's a
tough, tough choice. I wish the New Americans much luck, please just try
to better yourselves and your new country, beginning with EDUCATION.
Joan M. Benedetti
Santa Monica, CA
My husband and I watched the entire series and I think we will buy the
video, the book, and the score, which was haunting. We found all of the
segments absolutely riviting. It was amazing how comfortable all of the
families seemed to be with the cameras. That is a compliment to the
directors and the photographers. It allowed us as viewers to feel some of
the pain as well as the warmth that the family members felt for each
other. We were very involved with all of their stories, but we especially
felt for the Mexican family. We cried several times for the little boy
and for the oldest daughter. We hope they will be OK. All of the
families experienced so many good-byes; it was heartbreaking. We felt
ashamed of how many of the immigrants were treated by our government and by some of the Americans they came in contact with. But there were also
some really wonderful teachers shown who made a big difference. This is
an amazing documentary series and I hope it will be shown widely in
schools and to many different church groups and other organization here in the U.S. The strength and resilience shown in the face of the incredible hardships just to get into this country was amazing. It was inspiring and made us feel humble. Thank you to the producers for having the courage to envision such an enormous project, and to the directors and crews for sticking with it for so many years through what must have been very difficult
Naima is doing more for peace between the Jewish people and the
Palestinian people than her husband is: She is caring for and loving the
children (who are Jewish) who are going to grow up and remember the love
of a Palestinian woman for them. Can they treat Palestinians as their
enemy having known her? I doubt it. By showing her neutrality without
hate, she is furthering the Palestinian cause in a powerful way that is
Marina Del Rey CA
Outstanding educational program!! Bravo!! So emotional and a big eye
opener to an American. I wish this could be a requirement for all school
children throught the nation to learn to appreciate their lives, their
surroundings, their blessings, and how the majority of the rest of the
world, right next door even live and go through here in our country. I
can't say enough!! I hope there' more to come still!!
this show was very informative and it should be repeated again in the
future. every american citizen should watch this and realize how lucky we
are living in this country.
I want to thank pbs for airing such moltivating program as an immigrant
from nigeria i can relate to what these people are going through because i
have gone through it myself i cant blame them for saying things this
country at times can be fraustrating for we immigrants because of the
situation of things but it takes understanding to get through these
things.I just hope that through this airing people will begin to see
immigrant in awhole diffrent light.
The new Amerians are one of the best tv documentaries I have seen! I just
couldn't stop crying during the program!
As one of the "new Americans"
my self,I can realy feel and understand what are each of those people
going trough.I think an immigrant experiance is one of most exeptional
moments that anyone can posibly face in life.It takes tremendous amount of
courage and feith to leave your country and beloved ones to persuade your
dream.Each of the people in the program are exceptional human beings and I
will kep them in my prayers.
As we face many dificulties most people don't even dream of , we are
becoming stronger and uncovering the parts of our selves we never knew
exist.And as we get to know better our own personality, we are becoming to
change the world we live in. We are buildind pices of our own self in the
country we came helping it become more beautiful.America is the country of
great oportunities that are not apperent to us when we just come in and we
strugle for life.But as we adapt more and
become more familiar with the system, America reaveles more of its
choices.It is very important that we don't lose our streinght and courage
and to countinoue to educate ourselves.
Special thanks to all who are responsable for making this project. Great
job!You are helping us realize that even thou we came from such a
different places of this world, we are so much more similar.Please do
countinoue with the series like this.
Thanks PBS! God bless all the people involved in this program!
I am an amercian citizen who has never understood the immigration process
and has never been interested in history or events around the world. I
happened to be flipping through the channels one night and came across
this documentary and somehow became so interested in how it was for others
coming over to this country. It was something I would normally never watch
and it was heartwrenching to watch the struggles of all the families. I
wish I could tell them that a great deal of Americans are also going
through the struggles of "making it" and trying to raise our families and
make money. It's everyone's dream, Americans also. I just feel so bad for
the Mexican girl who is not in school and working in the field. That is
just so selfish of the mother to have moved the family when the kids were
all so happy. That is not American to be forced to work in the fields.
Just because the mother is not educated does not mean her kids have to
follow. Thank you for something so real and interesting.
Reedley , Ca
Thank you for such an awesome documentry. My family and i immigrated to
the U.S. I understand some of the struggles that immigrants have to face. I was especially touched by the flores family.
santa clara, ca
puts things in perspective...
An absolutely fascinating program! Thanks to PBS for broadcasting it. A
program like this would never make commercial television.
What an AMAZING program. I was glued to the television for each episode,
often in tears. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were exposed to people when
they are actually going through these experiences rather than long after
so we might be able to offer assistance? I hope seeing this makes all
viewers think twice about their attitudes towards people on an every day
basis -- you NEVER know what other people are going through. It made me
thing how much a random act of kindness really means.
I started watching..and could not move away. Immigration is such a
political thing these days, all about assimilation. these stories brought
it home. I must say that the imigrants of the potato(e) famine so many
years ago felt the isolation, loss of family and culture identification
the same. The promise is bewildering, but I do believe it takes so much
work. And, you might not get it all. Being a granddaughter of Swedes,
German, Scots, then you get to throw in American Indians. My parents, and
Grandparents were never promised anything u would not work for.
Thank you PBS. This is a wonderful program about new immigrants.
Although, personally I had only good experiences in this country, I
understand the hardship many immigrants face. We all must understand what
people say when they are under difficult situations.
I also want to suggest to PBS to do a similar program on Tibetan
immigrants. In 1992, America helped relocate thousand Tibetan refugees
and their families to the US and many of them are born in this country.
Since then, other Tibetans like myself have immigrated under different
I have really enjoyed watching this show for so many reasons.
I have been feeling very homesick and have been dealing with my own
little culture shock after moving from the west coast of America to the
Midwest. I realize that I have been such a wimp. These families have
gone through so much!
One family in particular made me stop and think about what I want and
why. I've been wanting to move closer to my family in California(I think
it's my Japanese ancestry influence. Well, that and members of my family
making it clear they want us to move back too). But after watching the
episode where the mother has the whole family move to be near her sister
at the expense of her husband and children. It made me feel like I was
looking at myself. It has made me feel better about tolerating life in
the Midwest. Thanks
College Station, Texas
This is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. It truly captivated
me. It was heartening to see the resolve in each of the immigrants,
against all the hardships they faced. Most of us take things for granted.
We never know what it is to struggle for basic amenities like shelter,
education etc. Anybody who watches this program would realize how lucky
and fortunate most of us. Watching the show was a humbling experience.
This makes me realize that there are a lot of people who are not able to
get basic education not because they are unwilling but due to
circumstances much beyond their control. Hopefully all of us make the best
use of the opportunities we have and also help too.
PEDRO LOPEZ JR
i really think that more programming like the new americans should be
played. i feel sad that one of the girls has to work the fields instead of
being in schoool, where she could maybe secure a better life for her
family. i feel that if the united states opened its borders and had less
of a racial capitalist view we can have a more productive and profitable
u.s. if we open the border we can avoid families from being seperated and
forgotten. thanks for letting me post my opinion.
I happened by this broadcast by accident. I think everyone in the United
States should see this documetary. It should be incorporated into learning
plans in our schools to better understand some of the other cultures and
to see them as human beings just like we are. We take for granted lots of
things in our country. For me, there are so many things we may ignore as
Americans when it comes to viewing people who have different ideologies
and cultures than ours, and to realize in our society, with it's media and
political rhetoric, how easy it is to stereotype others just because they
are different. They followed these people for years focusing on the
transition from leaving their homeland for what they thought would be
better opportunities in the U.S. and following what they did once they got
here and how there vision of the U.S. is so diffenent from the reality.
In my opinion, most still seemed better off. This video is very
enlightning and I recommend it highly.
New York, NY
Well, what can I say, I have left my TV set permanently on PBS, and it was
the best TV decision I have made. I appreciate the effort of PBS to air
programs that represent varying, enriching and intriguing points of view.
A step closer to pluralism, not just mere tolerance. Kudos to PBS.
I can definitely relate to many of the views and stories told in this
documentary; I, myself is a recent immigrant to this nation; though I have
been here many years, the experience, exhilaration, frustration, of new
discoveries are still fresh in my mind.
It is very, very difficult to adjust to a new place, new culture, new
religious and political environment. I had a difficult time understanding
some issues in this country, and I have grown to admire and adore
countless aspects of America and I absolutely understand some of the
so-called "criticisms on America." But I do not think that criticism is a
sign of hatred, or anti-anything. It is a mode of thought, and can
definitely be valid, and one can definitely take it, think and reflect a moment, and see where it is coming from. Every
country--believe it or not, this includes America--has good and bad
points, you take the good points and relish them, and as for the bad
points, you try to make them better. For example, I am always disturbed
by the statistics of a recent study (don't remember the source, sorry)
that people in America (myself included) spent the greatest amount of time
at work! When the computer engineer from Bangalore said that he had
turned into an American because he worked all the time, I completely
indentified with him because about 5 years ago, I've turned into a
One of the "side-effects" of my move to America is that I am able to
appreciate the cultures of the world even more, because as I learn more
about American history, I can see the contributions in the past by many
ethnicities and nationalities. And also, from where I am standing, I try
to build mini-bridges between America and other countries by relating good
and positive experiences here and the country that I came from. We are all
mini-ambassadors, in a way.
I, too, was captivated by the New Americans series, as it managed to open
some amazing windows into a series of experiences that I have never
I do have an issue that perhaps other respondents could comment on. I
have long believed that a key reason for people from other countries and
cultures would come to America would be for economic opportunity. In my
opinion, one of the keys to such opportunity (and, I believe, one of the
factors that has made America the economic success that it is) is the
entrepreneurial spirit. Yet I didn't see any immigrants or even would-be
immigrants voicing the opinion that they wanted to come to America in
order to start their own companies here.
One entrepreneur joined Mary Kay, but that wasn't the driving reason why
she came here. Anjan had a passing comment on starting a company back in
India. Has America marketed itself, perhaps through Hollywood, as a place
where you seem to be able to enjoy the fruits of risk-taking (streets
paved with proverbial gold) without mentioning that arguably the greatest potential for
economic success lies in companies that you start and own yourself? I
don't mean to open a discussion about the pros and cons of capitalism, but
rather a discussion of how expectations about America were formed in other
lands (and perhaps whether this country should try to do anything to
influence such expectations).
West Salem Wisconsin
Immigrants don't understand how hard you have to work here in the USA, no
matter what or who you were back home. It has been the same for all who
moved here; the Irish, the Germans, the Greeks, Slavs, English, Swedes,
Chinese or Finns. Life is tough for immigrants for awhile. I'm also struck
by how the immigrants are so little interested in America as an idea other
than a place to get rich, or meeting people born here. To them, it's just
Times Square, Disneyland, etc. We should all be aware of civics
government and history more, natives and immigrants alike.
And everyone gets a taste of humility when working for a living--even
the Indian man who was going to get rich in Silicon Valley. I found the
wisdom of his father mixed with snobbery. He knew nothing of Americans,
had probably never met any, and had a "low opinion" of them, and an
elevated opinion of Indians and especially his son. The wife had low
status in the family, it is sad to see that the husband/son was all
-important. We all have approximately the same abilities -- no one people are superior to any others -- the great experiment of this country is to do the best you can and be tolerant of everyone else, be curious about other cultures, and bloom wherever you are planted. It is easy to look back over your shoulder and miss home, but home never is the same when you go back anyway.
Hibbing Minnesota, USA
I would like to compliment everyone who had a hand in producing this
monumental television series. You have produced some of the highest
quality programming I have ever seen. We saw every minute of the series
and would not have missed a minute, except when nature called. Just a
slight criticism, couldn't you have structured a minute break every hour
so that we would not have to break away? Congrats, and I hope the awards
follow your magnificent work!
I enjoyed the program each night and would love for you to follow other
families. However, I have to say that the program made me sad to think
that people from other countries have this Hollywood view of America.
People here have to work hard and overcome tribulations. I didn't really
like the way the Nigerian immigrants seemed so disgusted with our American
ways. He kept saying that being in America was his worst period, yet he
was willing to stay and partake in our Medicaid system, healthcare system,
employment system, education system, etc. He could just as easily
immigrate to another country as he did America. I don't mean to feel sort
of used, it just seems like he did a lot of complaining. I kept wanting
to say "get with the program fella, if your not part of the solution, then
you are part of the problem"
Maybe I shouldn't feel that way, but many American born people struggle
and just get over it.
In 1975 I was making a motorcycling tour of Mexico. I got into a bad
accident near Tampico; the driver of a rich man was traveling at 70 miles
an hour when he hit my nearly stopped bike. The rich man got out of the
car and cursed me for makiing him late. I was lying on the highway next to
my smashed bike. My knee was damaged and I couldn't walk without
assitance. I only had a few dollars and knew only a few words of Spanish.
My bike was impounded and I was supposed to pay a big fine to get the
wreckage back. I was frightened and in pain most of the time, nevermind
the sight of my destroyed bike.
Somehow, a local family learned of my plight. They took me in and cared
for me. They helped me get some cash from the rich man and helped me bribe
the right person to get my bike back. Days would go by when I had no idea
of what people around me were talking about. I was like a child. Family
members treated me with compassion and respect. It was no big deal to
them; it was normal for these people to share whatever they had. Several months later, I rode my patched together bike back
I learned what it was like to be a stranger in a bewildering country
and dependent on the kindness of others. I thought of that experience as I
watched the Flores family stuggle to make their way in my country. I
prayed that they were being treated with the same kindness that a Mexican
family extended to me.
I am so very grateful to the producers of this wonderful series, truly a
gift to America. I work with a group of health care workers from Ghana.
This series has helped me appreciate their struggle and to recognize that
we all want what is best for our families, we all want respect and
appreciation of our efforts,and we all want fairness and a reward for our
hard work. I found it heartbreaking to hear Israel come to the sad
recognition that his goal had changed from getting ahead, to just hanging
on. I have faith that he and his family will prevail and find happiness
in America. I also shared the heartbreak and disappointment of the oldest
Mexican daughter, who lost sight of her dreams in a California lettuce
field, and of the Indian man who lost his job with the dot com bust. The
series afforded us a view of the rich cultural gifts each immigrant brings
to our great melting pot. This should be required viewing in all American
high schools. Bravo!
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 it.
one of the most profond and touching documentarry I have seen in a long
time.I was feeling their pains and joys,after the first series I was
waiting all day for the next one!!!!!!!!!
Being a new americain myself the last 4 years have been very tough
emotionnely on me it's very hard to adapt, leave your country familly and
fiends and come to a new country when you don't speack the language. But
after a while with God's willing I finnally adapted myself and seeing all
the struggle and strenght of those people give me the courage to go
forward and one day like all of the kids in the film feel like home, feel
like an american!
thanks again for that great program
This is one of the Best documental I have ever seen, in my life. It really
Impact me in many ways and change completely my perspectives of Life as an
immigrant in this country, It gave me hope, faith, and the courage to keep
ahead working hard for my goals. Nothing comes easy; you have to work for
After seen this program I can appreciated more the opportunity of been
here, with out forgetting where I come from, Mexico. And the beautiful
people I left behind and specially my family. I learn how bless I am for
this Job I have and all those things I dint see before I watch this
Wonder how can we keep contact with our favorite families in the program?
As you can assume mine were the Mexican family and the Palestinians. God
bless each of them.
I really want to thank PBS and all the personal that put this together,
for your service and for such a great program.
Thank you very much.
I have been glued to my television for the past 2 nights. The producers
and editors have done an absolutely phenomenal job in presenting this
piece of work. I myself am second generation American and very proud of
both my Latino heritage and my African-American ancestry. America is an
awesome place, and having travelled to other parts of the world it is
representative of a place like no other. Even with that said, it is a
place of great struggle, compromise and even great disappointment. My
grandfather never allowed my uncle and father to speak Spanish outside of
the home because he feared that they would be treated differently. Being
Latino and black in the early 40's was not the wonderful combination that
is embraced more acceptably now in this country. So much my ancestors had
to give up to assimilate in this country. So much that can never be
gotten back. However, I am blessed beyond imagination and I owe
everything to those who toiled before me.
San Francisco, CA
"The New Americans" was totally captivating. The stories were narrated
beautifully, and it was touching to see how the different "New Americans"
adapted to their new homeland over time. I am a first generation
immigrant from India who came to the US for graduate school, and now live
in the SF Bay area with my family. I could relate to many of the new
immigrants' stories, even though they spanned the entire socioeconomic
spectrum. Hats off to all of these folks for their hope and optimism and
their desire to build a better life against huge adversities. Thanks to
PBS for this wonderful documentary; it easily ranks among the best
programs I have watched on TV.
What a wonderful, thought-provoking documentary. We need this kind of
programming now, more than ever. Thanks for proving once again why public
broadcasting is so invaluable.
I am a fifteen year old Nigerian immigrant. The only reason that I am in
this country, is because of faith and destiny. The document that brought
my mother and I to to this country, was about to roll into an open sewer,
but because of curiosity, I decided to pick up that big white envelope. If
i had not picked up that envelope, I doubt that I would be in this
country. This country has exposed me to things, people and places that I
might otherwise have have recieved.
This show chronicles everything that my mother and I went through in our
early years in the states. Similar to the Mexican family, my mother
decided to move from New Yor to Maryland, because she wanted a better job
and home. Despite the problems that America has, living here has exposed
me to the idea of what people can do when they work together, and the
importance of giving back to a community that one has taken away so much
from.God Bless you for putting out such a great program, and I hope that
you will do more shows like this.
I have been lucky in the last 24 years to have met and worked with many
immigrants to the United States. Many of these people are from Africa. I
worked many years as a CNA in nursing homes, and recently this is a field
that many new to the country work in. Quite a number of these people were
professionals in their country. I am always amazed at how hard they work,
and how little they complain about the petty stuff of life. I have
learned so much from them. I feel glad that I live in a city with people
from other cultures, and have had the opportunity to become friends with
people from other countries. They are what the USA needs to inject more
spirituality in our increasingly materialistic society.
When Karm was born, I cried while my own son slept nearby in our bed. This
baby Karm represents the strength of his family and the hope of all
immigrants. I got online immediately, wanting to find a way that I could
help or participate in the lives of new immigrants. I'm an American, born
in the Phillipines to American parents. My son's father is a chronic
wanderer who chooses to not live in America with me and my son. I am a
university student and am studying Spanish. In July I will go to Spain
with my son. There are so many threads in each individual's life that
connects us to other people in the world. This program reinforces my hope
to touch and experience the lives of others.
Rocky Hill, CT
I really enjoyed the program. I was stuck to the TV throughout the
program, as the real stories of the brave immigrants tried to make their
lives in the US. I am also an immigrant from Africa and could associate
with everyone on the program.
The common theme that most immigrants face is that if you do not have
money when you arrive in this country, it is incredibly difficult to have
a decent standard of life. And only hard work and true sacrifice will get
you the real American dream.
Watching this program reminds all immigrants that have made a better life
for themselves, that they are many others still struggling and should not
I sit at my computer and try to come up with words of praise that do not
sound trite. The gift of this program was the mountain of emotion, raw and
real and complex and necessary. I've had more good cries the past three
nights than in at least as many months. Thank you for placing those
families and their stories in my life.
Roslyn Heights, New York
You have created a masterpiece. You gave me such a clear glimpse of
oneness of the souls, and so beautifully, I could not control my emotions
at times. I admire you for your skills; you have brought out the truth
about how so many immigrants deal with difficult challenges. It was
absolutely gorgeous and entertaining to watch. Amazing work! My Oscar
goes to you!
New Americans is not an appropriate title. At least in the case of the
Indian man because he was here as a guest worker, a non immigrant. The
documentary was inaccurate and very average. I am surprised that PBS would
carry something so average. This was not quality programming.
This was by far the best reality show I have ever seen before. I was
really touched to see other people with similar experiences as we had when
we moved to live in America. As a Nigeria, I was moved by the story of the
Nwidors, to a great extent. The guy was a Chemical engineer who came to
America hoping for great opportunities only to find that life here is
harder than he initially thought. There there was the indian couple, who
came only to move back because of the recent economic troubles.
All the families and people shown were great and I could take a
whole day to talk about what I learnt. I wish PBS would continue with such
programs and we hope to see more of The New American Stories in the new
future. I greatly commend the work and I hope to see more stories from
Africa and Asia. I loved it.
It is one of the most realistic documentary that portrayed the struggling
of immigrant?s family. As a teen immigrant 13 years ago, I could surely
co-relate myself to the program. I would like to thank all the people
that brought this quality program to PBS. Thank you.
In The United States today I believe we are seeing a melting pot of so
many cultures that it is creating a set up for disaster. I cant see how
civil differances will not erupt, it seems to be a current trend already
here in California. Having said that, I watched the show last night and
was deeply touched by all the stories of the families. I got the
impression that all of them would much rather live in there own countries
if only they could make a living there. It appears that they don't want to
be here at all but are forced here out of a desperate situation. I applaud
them for making a decision to take such a dramatic step to improve there
situations but on the same note I am shall we say, angered! It seems
harsh, but I love my country just as they love theres. I feel like I'm
being used and abused by immigrants. What I feel is this. If people want
to come here to better there lives, that's great. but I want them to
respect America for who and what this country is. Become an American and
honor the flag,
the culture and the people. Serve the country and embrace it. Do not long
to return to where they fled from and say things like this is not my home
or my country. Make it your home and your country. The country was founded by Immagrants. (Unless we were to discuss the American Indians..a whole other issue). If there not happy here, go home and see what they can do to make a differance in the country they do want to live in. Help rebuild and re-educate those countries so that they can stay and live where they want
to be. If they want to be In America and truly love the country...Welcome,
with all my heart.
KURE BEACH NORTH CAROLINA
i have watched your program for the last 2 nites about "the new
americans". i can not understand for the life of me why our government
continues to let immigrants into the united states. i understand that they
live in grave conditions but i feel that we have enough people that live
here already. i know one of the families featured was complaining because
he could no longer get medicad. well my husband and both can not get
medicad period. the excuse was we made to much money.it really burns me up
that people from other countries can come live in the us and get all the
help they need but we americans if we go out there and bust our butts can
not get any help if something happens to one of our family members such as
one becomes unemployed or our spouse dies. the government needs to take
all that money they are wasting and donate it to the countries that need
it but also supply them wtih help on how to improve their living
conditions such as teach them to plant crops or dig wells for them so they
will have water. thank you for reading this! susan hunter
I was deeply moved by the stories presented in this amazing series. Not
only has it changed my views of what it means to immigrate to America, but
it has made me reflect on what it means to be an American. While watching
the program I felt torn..sometimes very proud to live in this country..and
also ashamed at our treatment of other people around the world. This is
television at its best. Thank you to the producers, filmakers, and
especially the families who shared their stories with me.