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Hendersonville, North Carolina
I am a U.S. American whose great grandparents were "New Americans" from
Scotland. I lived in Mexico for 8 years and currently coordinate an Even
Start Family Literacy Program in my hometown in the mountains of Western
North Carolina. Many of our students are immigrants and in the program
they study English and learn about how to navigate U.S. culture. A more
difficult task has been to try to educate local residents about the
complex reasons that force immigrants to leave home and family to try to
create a new life in the U.S. I have led five immersion trips to Mexico
in the past five years because I believe in the power of experiential
education, but not everyone has the time or money to go away for two
weeks. Your series took the whole country on a journey without leaving
our living rooms. You showed us the laughter and tears of real people who
dreamed of new opportunities in this country which were only available at
the high emotional cost of leaving their own. One of my Mexican friends
describes the U.S. as "palacio de oro, carcel de soledad" (palace of gold, prison of loneliness). You have helped us understand the bright side and the dark side of the "New American" story. You have helped us make the connection as human beings. That is an important step away from prejudice and toward "community."
"The New Americans" was a great tv series. Sadly, I was unfortunate to
catch only one episode. I came across this program by surprise, and
although I school work to do I could not leave my television. I did not
know this was a series, and assumed that this program would be on the
following week. So... I missed the other two episodes! :( hopefully this
series will be aired again, or purchased by my local library. PBS is
Thank you so much for broadcasting this wonderful series. I hope that it
will be rebroadcast soon since many of my friends, who missed it, can also
see the documentary.
This program has been the source of many late-nights and great joy. The
ability to see my country reflected through the eyes of those who must
face such uncertainty and fear to arrive at a place that I take for
granted allows a perspective that does me greater good than anything I
have seen in recent memory. May God bless those who are responsible for
bringing this to light and to all of those featured who are the truest of
Great Job. Every story was compelling in its own way. Perhaps the
strongest person featured was the Palestinian bride Naima. Seeing the
conditions Palestinians live in under Israeli occupation, it was moving
and uplifting to see how she had not lost herself to hate or resentment
towards the Jewish people. It was an interesting contrast; Naima, a
practicing Muslim woman, who has lived in Palestine all her life, had
spent her life standing at Israeli checkpoints, still exemplified love and
tolerance, and and worked at a Jewish day care. As opposed to her
husband, who pathetically plead the fifth when questioned about his faith,
and has lived in the US all his life, and yet chose to neglect his
wife-preoccupied by his political obsessions. It seems these days, that
there are more Hatems than Naimas in this world. This show only deepened
by feelings for the Palestinian cause, however not because of Hatems
slogans and chants, but rather Naimas affection and a clear conscience
unaffected by inhuman conditions.
Often in the US these days, the slightest pity for the Palestinian
situation is considering anti-semitism, but it is clear that cannot be the
case. Naima was clearly not supportive of Israels actions, but she
harbored no hate towards the Jewish people. She had learned to
differentiate between politics and people. I thank PBS for being bold
enough to candidly show the Palestinian presepective and also showing how
there is hope with people like Naima.
I love watching just about any PBS program. This one especially. I was
outraged that Ventura Flores could be so selfish. She acted like there
would never be a time for her to visit her family. It was very obvoius
that the family was striving in Kansas. If I was able to talk to Nora I
would tell her to NEVER give up on her dreams of finishing school and
learning English. Maybe she'll be able to look into a program like Job
Corps or something. I wish all of the New American families the best of
luck in everything they do.
I am very pleased to see what a proffesional job people did with The New
Americans program. This program showed what real immigrants phased these
days. none of the participants mention that they wanted to come to the
USA to get benefits all of them wanted a better life by working. I would
like if it is possible the address of Nora's family because I relate with
them. I would like to send her a letter telling my story and for her not
to lose hope in searching for a better education. It seems like she is
very interested in persuing a higher education.
This program is, without a doubt, the greatest television program I have
ever seen. It brings us up-to-date on the long and ongoing saga of
mankind's greatest experiment in freedom so far, which is the story of
I watched this series primarily because I work with international
students, some of whom were interns with Kartemquin films on this project,
and also because I am a first-generation immigrant myself (from India). I
never expected to get so completely hooked or be so touched by this
series. It was a simply outstanding piece of work, obviously years in the
making, but so carefully woven together and with such unique style.
Rarely have I ever seen anything on TV that I felt was so relevant. (PBS
is the only station that comes anywhere near reading a good book)!
Speaking of which, if anyone is interested in reading about the history of
immigration in the US, I'd recommend 2 books by Roger Daniels. The first
is "Coming to America" which is a history of immigration and ethnicity in
American life (and by that he means US life), and the second, "Guarding
the Golden Door" which is a history of US immigration policy since 1882
(highly readable despite the fact that it is about policies).
It should be required viewing, especially for American children, who seem
to alienate anyone who is not the "accepted" norm, (foreign or of a
different ethnic background). This series opens one's eyes that
ultimately, we all embody the same emotions, trials, love and joys, no
matter where we come from. Excellent!!
Your documentary series is the first that has ever motivated me to do an
on - line search for more information. Now, after reading the comments
of other viewers in the talkback section, I would like to add my voice to
the requests for a rebroadcast of the series and a hope for more publicity
prior to airing. I too began watching the series on a whim, having seen a
review in the NY Times arts section, but had not expected to be as
captivated and as moved by the series as I was - both for its stories and
for its production quality. Again and again, thank you to all the staff
who made the documentary possible. PLEASE, SHOW IT AGAIN.
Captivating! I am immensely impressed by the quality of your program, The
New Americans. These immigrants demonstrate qualities that all Americans
should strive for: faithfulness, tenacity, courage, hope, and an
impressive work ethic. Though I was disappointed that the mother of the
Mexican family chose to move to California rather than stay in Kansas
where all of her children could go to school and where they could live on
one salary, I realize that choice is also a componet of the American dream
as success is. I will be praying for their continued good fortune and
The most important thing I learned from this series is that the song
remains the same. You can look at immigration 100 years ago and see many
0. People want to come here because even with our problems, the U.S. is
still the land of opportunity and how far you go is only limited by your
own brainpower, effort and luck.
1. Sometimes the first generation do not benefit at all from the move to
the U.S. they stay so their children can have a better life.
2. Sometimes the first born must work instead of go to school and also
does not benefit from the move to the U.S.
3. Sometimes immigrants hurt themselves and others here because they are
unable or unwilling to set aside the cultural norms and prejudices of the
old country and adopt American ones. I'm not saying you have to
completely reject your culture, just those parts that cause problems here
in the U.S.
4. Sometimes U.S. law prevents immigrants from realizing their dreams.
In the case of my grandmother that came to the U.
S. at age 5, U.S. law prevented her from becoming a citizen until the laws
were changed in 1952. By that time, she was 51 years old. I still wonder
how she felt and what compelled her to become a citizen after all those
5. When an immigrant encounters someone with prejudices that causes them
to treat you poorly, turn the other cheek and look elsewhere. You will
find many others that will treat you the same as anybody else. You'll
also find others that identify with the challenges faced by immigrants and
go beyond what is required to help you.
6. Sometimes, your luck is lousy and life here is harder than you
imagined was possible. Those that stay and work harder within our system
have earned the right to say "I am an American."
I, like many of you viewers was riveted by this program all three nights.
Thank you for doing this work!
I also have been haunted by the Mexical family. At first I was so angry
at the mother for causing the family to uproot for her own issues of
lonliness and boredom. I have come to the conclusion that she (the
mother) really did not know who she was outside of being a field worker.
What she needed was some sort of work and community there. I noticed her
sadness as soon as she was offered flowers from her husbands old landlord.
Please let us know if Nora will be able to continue her education. Many
of us want to know!!!!
The New Americans is one of the most profound presentations I've ever
watched on PBS. Although I have not yet read the previous posts , my eye
caught the beginning of one that was critical of Ventura as I was in the
process of creating this post.
I will go back and read the posts, but for now I'd like to challenge
persons critical of Ventura to "walk a mile in her shoes." Separating
from roots, family, and all that has been familiar for one's entire life
can be difficult and painful, prompting a sense of loss of identity and
personal usefulness. Thankfully, I was able to empathize with Ventura.
At the age of nearly 10, my father chose to pack us up like so many boxes
that were hauled along with us and move west 3,000 miles across the United
States. I remember the sense of disconnectedness after leaving a life
within a day's driving distance of extended family comprising four
I remember my mother's deep depression and inability to adjust to a
completely different landscape, separation from friends of many years as well as family, and the deep-moaning nightmares that would shake the walls of our home, wake me, and chill me to the bone when she had them.
She'd been compelled to go somewhere because it was her "wifely duty" -
to a place where she had NO emotional support group of trusted friends and
family - away from many years of teaching Sunday School in our home church
to a succession of toddlers (2- and 3-year-olds)- to a place where we came
in contact with a populace largely compromised of people of a faith we'd
never even heard of back in 1957-58. The dominance of that faith system in
the area where we had moved also presented a great cultural gulf that
seemed impossible to span or comprehend, though it existed within the
country of her birth.
In addition, the disconnect between Ventura and her hard-working, loving
husband stemmed from all those years of separation, during which time
Ventura had learned to fend for herself and her children. She'd become
greatly emtionally independent of his influence over those years.
Then suddenly, after being compelled to do her "wifely duty" in following
her husband, she became, it seems, merely an accessory to him - something
he could crow about - much like the "boxes" that my siblings, my mother,
and I became, packed up and uprooted because we "belonged" to Dad. Our
pain and disillusion were NOT assuaged by all those Sunday drives to see
historical monuments or wildlife or Western landscapes.
Ventura's unhappiness and depression resulted from feelings of abject
uselesness; from the shock of suddenly being wedged into the new role as a
"belonging" or "accessory" to her husband; from being denied a life-long,
familiar support sytstem of friends, family; and from being ripped from
the very roots of her existence.
Ventura is NOT a thankless wife! She is a PERSON!
NYC, New York
I loved this series. I hold it dear to my heart- My favorite stories were
that of Indian tech, the Flores family and the African family.
When I saw Anjan wandering the streets looking for a place to eat, and
carefully sampling the food, a feeling of loneliness hit me so hard that
tears came to my eyes. It was probably the first time he'd ever eaten so
alone. So new.
When he had to watch as his wife and new daughter leave the country they
all had so much hope for- it broke my heart again. What must have been
going through his mind?
Was it worth it? Did he waste his time? Did he want to just forget
everything and return home with his wife and child?
When the usually happy Israel relayed the story of the police officer, it
seemed to be the end of his smile (at least until his son came). The
realization that America isnt like what it is on TV is a harsh and
sometimes brutal wake up.
When I saw the whole Flores family have to pick up and leave Kansas, a
place that was clearly better for the children, I wept.
I wept many times during this series.
I wept at all that I take for granted.
I pray I never take what I have for granted again.
What a great series. I grew up in a very immigrant heavy neighborhood; my
sister joked that my school lunch table was like the UN. So it wasn't like
I wasn't familiar with some of the issues brought up in this series. Yet
what shown through on this series was the immigrants' humanity. It
reminded me that while their backgrounds and situation may be different
than my own, they still share the same emotions and ties that we Americans
Still, while I was occasionally distressed by some of the immigrants'
attitudes about sharing our country with them, I was most distressed by
Hatem's opinions, who grew up in the US. I don't think he knows how good
he has it; his wife and mother-in-law were adorable. I certainly feel for
Hatem and his challenges, but perhaps he should try living somewhere else
if he doesn't like it here.
This is one of the best films I have ever seen, I am myself an immgrant
and I have been here for about 14 years, that is since I was 18 years old.
America is truly a GREAT country. I did not realize that until I saw tha
documentary. I am from Pakistan and I just hated it here away from my
family and culture and had always wanted to go back, but, after watching
the show , I am moved. People who are not here think money grows on tree
in America but this film shows how hard an immigrant has to work to
achieve goals in life.
Right now, there is lot of anger in the world about America but even then
they wish they could be here. We have freedom here, but, then again we
have forgotten to be happy and satisfied with what we have and usually we
are ungrateful. Being the richest nation on earth we should try our best
to help those who are not fortunate enough to come here. for example, I
have been wanting to buy a HD plasma flat panel TV for a long time.
Although it cost $6000 , i was willing to do that, but, I
have now realized that after this it will be something else, I will never
be completely satisfied with material things. Now I am goign to buy just a
regular or a much much cheaper TV and find ways to help the unfortunate
and that is where I will get the satisfaction that I desire so much. I was
in tears when the mexican man on the show had to borrow $3000 even when he
knew that he was goign to pay $300 per month in interest. PBS you are
doing a GREAT work, Thankyou. You have cured my depression. I just cannot
thank PBS enough.America is a GREAT country, lets help the world :)
i have never seen anything so inspirational. it was beautifully done. the
best documentary i have ever seen. i felt as if i should help people in
any way i could after viewing this program. i especially like it because
it can teach people about coming to america and the challenges people
face. a lot of people in the area where i live have very closed minds and
will say horrible things when ever they see a person who is of mexican
decent or hmong. i find it horribly offensive and very cruel. i hope that
programs like this will one day air on every station and help these people
to learn, grow, and most importantly change their hearts and minds about
immigrants. thank you PBS.
san jose, ca
though our family watches pbs quite a bit, i just happened to stumble
across this doc. i can't remember the last time i was so moved by a film.
i immigrated with my mother from india to pa at the age of 9 months in
1967. the immigrant experience has always been of interest to me, but i
often have felt that there is no new ground covered in the film, art or
books about immigrants - the subject matter is stale. but 'the new
americans' , in my opinion, covered so much new ground, with such humanity
and respect for the subjects - i send my heartfelt thanks to the film
makers for bringing this work to the public. when pedro's son was crying
and asking his father not to leave him behind in mexico, i was sobbing so
hard, my husband came into the room to see if i was ok! also, not every
immigrant was a sympathetic character and that was an important part of
what made the film so real to me.
from viewing this film, i have learned so much-but mostly i have been
reminded that we must help others. we must reach out to
new comers. if our lives are easy, we must share the burden of our
neighbor. all these families struggled and sacrificed to better their
lives and the lives of their children. we need to constantly remind
ourselves that outside of our myopic existence, there is a world teeming
with people who hope and dream for even 1/10 of what we have.
there were so many brilliant aspects of this film-but in brief i will say
the editing was superb. and i often forgot i was watching a film -in that
it seemed as if the camera were not there at all. as though i were sitting
with all these families. it is rare for me to feel so saturated by the
feelings which this film evoked and i doubt they'll be gone soon.
thank you, gita baliga-savel
Ramiro and Julia Ortega
My husbands family are immigrants from mexico. He had to star working in
the feilds tohelp support their family when he was just 13.He worked in
the same feilds in mecca as the mexican family.He lived in the farm labor
camp in coachella,ca.I am a white person and watching this show really
helped me understand how it must have been for him and how hard his
parents workred to bring thier 8 children over here.thnak you so much for
making this program.I think it will help alot of people have more
understanding for immigrants.
I understand the critism the veiwer from Florida lobbed at Ventura Flores,
but i think it's a little harsh. I beleive she thought, in her own way,
she was doing right by her children. she seemed very unconfortable with
the way of life in Kansas and i think she wanted to be with her family and
wanted her children to grow up with this family community, just like home.
it wasn't a brillant move, as we can see from here, but i don't think
Senora Flores deserves to be trashed like that; she did not chose wisely,
but i believe she believed she chose best.
theresa a robinson
Thank you PBS.
This is televison at it's best. This program should be REQUIRED
VIEWING. I don't know where to start....
I was riveted to the screen from the beginning and could not wait to see
the next episode .
First, you reveal beautiffully, the trials and tribulations of the many
who come to this country with all their hopes and dreams and
nightmares,... not really knowing whether life is going to better or
worse. I am amazed at the ease in which thier lives are exposed to the
cameras, and delighted with the results. I cried when they cried,
laughed when they laughed and felt the tension of new and different
experiences with them.
Secondly, and more importantly, programs of this caliber do more to close
the ethnic/racial/social divide between people in America, while,
mainstream commerical televsion seem to exacerbate the division. I could
go on, but I just want to say..
keep up the good work....broadcast this program again and again. In these
trouble times, America needs this kind of programming. I am buying the tape and the book however, for my library.
What an astonishing, moving and deeply touching series. Watching each
family come to the United States and understanding the circumstances of
their journey gave me a new perspective on my own understanding my
parents and their journey here to the United States.
PBS is the only TV station I enjoy, but I haven't made any support to the
station. After watched The New Americans, I feel I have to join the PBS
membership and make donation to support PBS. Thanks PBS and all members of
The New Americans team for producing such an excellent documentary.
I not begin to tell you how moved I was by the series.I'm alwayspleased
with the program on PBS,but this program changed the way I think about
immigrants, the series was very heart wrenching.I'm the person that
basically over looked the immigrants,I just never considered their
plight,I mean my attitude towards the new Americans was indifferent that
is not possible now.I wish I could tellyou more about my change of heart.
Upper darby, PA
Exelent work. Media well used.
I loved it n have always loved public. I should cut it short because if i
start writing about this show i ll never stop...here r some points for
people, especially Americans, to think about 1)when n why did people from
other countries start to feel unsatisfied with their lives? 2)what did i
learn from those genuine smiles coming from those inocent faces? 3)Will i
ever treat forigners the same ever again?
Mississauga, Ontario Canada
I watched the whole thing and found it to be one of the most moving
documentaries I've seen on PBS. I'm a Chicagoan born and bred and was
envious of those who ended up living there. I miss my city! I know their
road is not an easy one and admire them all for their decision to move
from all that is familiar and comfortable. I only hope that they all
succeed and decide, in the end, that it was all worth the effort.
I think the most disturbing thing was the Mexican angle and the wife's
decision to make her children uproot themselves again. My heart breaks for
her eldest daughter who will probably work in the fields until the day she
dies. Shame on mama for doing that to her child.
Thank you for airing this incredible film. I wonder if a sequel is in the
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I was so touched by this documentary. Thank you PBS for creating a forum
for this type of programming
Silver Spring, Maryland
It took me a couple of days to compose myself after watching this
compelling documentary. Firstly, I'm grateful that there is such a place
as America, without which we may not be fortunate enough to be exposed to
this type of human experience. I immigrated to the U.S.A some years ago,
and do share some of the feelings displayed by the individuals in the
story, with the exception of the Palestinian couple. I've always wondered
about the lives of ordinary Palestinians, but found it nowhere until PBS
brought it into my home. I found their story told with respect and human
touch, and completely unbiased. It didn't make me anti semitic or anti
anyone, rather it put a face on a people as I've not seen on the
mainstream media. Thank you PBS and the producers of this poignant story
for a job so brilliantly done. Kindly let me know what award show to
nominate this documentary for. I've been exremely happy with the response
of the majority of the viewers. Hopefully the individuals that were
disappointed with some of the comments from the immigrants (especially that from Israel Nwidor)wouldn't hold it against them too much because when I was in my country, America was presented to us in the television and magazines, as heaven on earth. I don't recall ever seeing anything that didn't portray America as the most perfect place on earth; so when one comes here
initially, and encounters something so different from that image, the
shock is too deep, and takes a long time to recover from. Thanks again
PBS, you have my eternal support.
EXCELLENT series! Thank you PBS, please give us more like this. You set
the standard for reality shows......not network TV with the contrived crap
they call "reality" shows!
Long Beach, CA
This documentary GREATLY moved and changed me. Growing up an American,
laying claim to the priveledge I did nothing to deserve, taking for
granted how easy it is for ME to live every day, I rarely considered the
challenge so many people in this country have to face. Watching these
families struggle courageously through, trying to make a better life for
themselves, made me realize that THEY, the immigrants, have more right to
live here than I do! I stereotype people so much (especially living in
such a diverse city), failing to consider the inner struggles people I
pass on the street have to face. It saddened me that so many of these
"new americans" were disappointed in this country and many of its people.
How many times have I neglected to help someone I encountered in my city
who didn't know her way around or got impatient with someone who did not
speak fluent English? Have I attempted to move away from the only home
I've known to a place where no one acknowledges my intelligence, my
education, my gifts? Have I tried to learn a new and very complicated language? To shelve my customs, my religion, my way of life ENTIRELY in order to be able to simply PROVIDE for my children? I have a Masters Degree but there were never any obstacles to me getting my education..not like the ones Nora has to face. There are so many in this country who do not achieve their full potential because the opportunity is not there for them. This program brought so many issues into focus for me..life changing, really. I will do what I can from this day forward to make those immigrating to this
country feel as welcome as they truly are. Thank you so much for bringing
their stories to us.
i came to the usa 2 and a half years ago from the UK. of course the UK is
not so very different from the US in many ways and I have no suffered the
hardships that others have. but i have been thinking about the
documentary and the stories of naima and her husband, ngozi and her
family, ken sarowiras sister, the mexican family, the baseball boys ever
since... and the global inequaity to which we are all complicit. but above
all, though, it reaffirmed my faith in humanity and human potential to
overcome the most seemingly insurmountable obstacles. i will try to show
as much as possible of this documentary to the kids i teach. how could
anyone see these stories and not be filled with respect, admiration and
love for all of humanity?
What a wonderful, moving series! I am the (proud!) wife of a Mexican
immigrant, and we identified strongly with many of the struggles facing
these families as they adjust to life in America. One family in
particular touched us - Señor Flores and his wife and children. We were
so happy to see them reunited here - and horrified to see the selfishness
of the mother whose 'egoismo' has cost her children so dearly. I have
seen so many, many Mexican parents sacrifice their own dreams and hopes in
order to provide a better life for their children; to watch this selfish
woman drag her children back into poverty and backbreaking work without
reason was heartbreaking. My heart aches for the eldest daughter and
little boy, especially. I hope that viewers of your program will realize
that this woman is the exception, not the rule.
Los angeles, California
The first page says something like, a dominican baseball player, a mexican
laborer, they learn first hand what to be an american is all about. i read
this, and I don't get it, I mean last time I checked mexico and the
dominican republic were part of this great continent called america. I did
not go to yale or harvard, but one thing I do know, and that is, that the
only americans are the "native americans" I mean people can't just come
from europe and say they're americans, they can't come from africa and
call themselves african americans, or asian americans, or irish americans,
what is this ?
I am a latino, and that is the title that people give me and my people,
but in reality I am a true american, a "real american" My ancestors came
from asia hundreds of years ago and they made this continent their home
until the barbarians came and killed everything in their path. so from the
eskimos in alaska, to the incas in south america, this land belongs to the
the way i see it, planet earth is divided in continents, we have the european continent where all white people
live, we also have the african continent, and that's where all blacks
should be, the asian continent belongs to the asians no doubt, and the
american continent belongs to the native americans. so how dare white
people call us immigrants!! we are not immigrants, we just move from place
to place just like our ancestors did thousands of years before us.
we were here before the white man, and the african, and guess what, we
ain't going anywhere, we're staying in "our" land.
just imagine if all of a sudden the germans were not europeans anymore,
or the french were treated bad because the english didn't consider them
europeans...think about it.
welcome to america, welcome to:
canada,the united states,mexico,guatemala,elsalvador,honduras,nicaragua,costa rica,panama, colombia, venezuela, bolivia,ecuador,uruguay, peru,argentina, paraguay, argentina,brazil, and cuba.
the native american is not black, asian, or white, the native american is brown, and speaks spanish.
I felt for Pedro Flores; he is just one voice but at his meat packing
plant there are thousands of men and women just like him. They earn so
little and are made to work so hard that they are basically slaves. They
earn a pittance so that some corporate fat cat can get fatter.
Shame too on Shell Oil for subsidizing the brutality perpetuated by the
formger Nigerian regime against the Ogoni people.
The corporations who exploit laborers around the world do not have the
capacity to reign in their greed. It is up to consumers who have spending
power to at the very least boycott Shell Oil. We need a commision to look
into how companies like Shell abuse and kill citizens in developing
countries just to make a buck.
I, just like many others stumbled upon the show. I loved it! I have read
many but not all of the comments posted. First the families from Africa,
they came here w/ some misconceptions. I believe the instructor told them
that the US does not have roads paved with gold. Isreal says later that he
doesn't want to tell his family what he makes an hour and how hard it is
here. Well their family will continue to have the same misconception
unfortunately. I still loved their story.
The Palestinian Bride. I liked their story very much,I cried when she had
to leave her family, and then her mother. I was not surpised by some of
the comments her fiancee' made. The Mother made many comments as well, but
if she were not a Palestinian she would make comments about them also.
Both sides are suffering.
The comments made by ANY of the families do not reflect the opinion of
PBS. "P" stands for "Public" not Palestinian therefore anti-semetic. It's
a documentary. This program is meant to be educational. I do not donate bec
ause i want to know others political views. I am for a Theocracy not
Democracy. No offense intented.
Th Flores family, they really made me cry, I wanted so much for them to
have my phone number so I could sponsor them. This story really makes you
appreciate what you have.
This show has given me insight on other cultures and what they suffer to
have the same freedom I have and at times take for granted. Wether it be
running water, washer-dryer, a car, A JOB, FOOD RIGHT DOWN THE STREET @
THE GROCERY STORE.
I know though that these conditions are only temporary there will one day
be a government that will make sure everyone is provided for equally.
There won't be anyone richer than anyone else. I have hope in a brighter
future and I hope these families will meet someone who can share with them
Thank You PBS
San Francisco, CA
I was captivated by this documentary and I think this should be seen by
every single American living in the 21st century.
I would like to say something about what has been said about the
Nigerian,Israel. He was criticized for saying that his time in America has
been the "worst period". I don't think that it is right for people to
judge him for this valid feeling toward his personal experience. There
are things that he has experienced that were not shown on film. To read a
comment that he shouldn't reap the rewards of the US government and just
immigrate to another country is just appaling. As Americans, we should
put ourselves in these people's shoes. This is the reason why this film
was made, to show us the struggle of adjusting to a place so overwhelming
like the US. There are a lot of Americans who do not agree with what the
US Government does and the things that are happening in this country. A
lot actually express their feelings through the media and other means.
Should we ask these people to move and leave the US too? Is it right to say that they do not deserve help from the government? Israel has been working really hard to make things more comfortable for himself and his family. For him to feel discriminated against and for him to struggle about being here is a normal human reaction. I am glad that I have a government that help out people like him and no matter what he feels, I am glad that he is making it and hopefully will be able to fully adjust to the American way of life
someday. He did "get with the program" by working hard and trying to get
a better education, and I am proud of him!
Orland Park IL
This documentary was an elightening and enriching experience for this old
New American. My family immigrated from the UK over 50 years ago when I
was a child. Talk about culture shock! And we spoke the language - sort
of. I recall vividly the actual physical sensation of being homesick. It
is unforgettable and difficult to describe unless you've experienced it.
We weren't fleeing persecution or severe deprivation but perhaps a
'better' life after the emotional ravages of war torn London. Attainment
of creature comforts does not compensate for feeling out of place and
'wrong'. We children were mocked and mimicked by local yokels in our blue
collar south side Chicago neighborhood of the 1950's. Most, if not all of
our tormenters were one foot off the boat themselves. So writers to this
forum do not construe the comments of some of the New Americans as
ungrateful or racist. They are merely reflecting some of the ignorance
they are encountering. At the end of their long lives both of my parents
still regretted immigrating. They resisted Americanization and had much scorn for the waste and moral decay they observed. It has taken me a lifetime to shake off this yoke and to appreciate the good and understand the bad, and am finally - better late than never - feeling at home.
Thank you PBS for an outstanding unforgettable piece of work.
San Francisco, CA
This film just proved that no matter where we are from and how we were raised, we have the same desires in life...to feel that we belong, to be with the people we love and to give our family a better life and future. I admire all of the families that were featured in this film. We may not have the same ideas and values, but to see them work so hard for their families made me respect them so much.
I would like to participate in any activity in your organization that help new immigrants. Pls contact me by e-mail if you need help with anything. Also, if there is anyway for me to be able to help out the Flores kids, I would appreciate information. Thanks!
San Francisco, CA
I stumbled upon Part 1 of this wonderful documentary by mistake while
"channel surfing" and was immediately captivated. I could relate to the
experience and struggle of these "New Americans" having witnessed the
immigration struggle of one of my best friends, who came here in '86 from
France with no money or green card. Seventeen years of ups and downs
later, she now owns her own home, has a great job, and is proud to be an
American citizen. I hope and pray that at least some of the people that
you profiled will be able to do as well. I cheered their triumphs, and
cried over their troubles. I was so excited when Barine bought her house,
and when Ricardo joined the Cleveland Indians. I wept tears of joy when
Karm was born to the Nwidors. I was filled with sadness when I found out
that Nora Flores had left night school, when Harshini had to return to
India with her baby, and when Hatem's Arab-American Center was burned. I
was moved by Naima's loving treatment of the children at the Jewish
My best wishes to all of these extraordinary people, and to the
filmmakers whose vision brought these great stories to those of us
fortunate enough to watch them.
What a powerful series. Please air this again soon as I missed some of it.
I was hoping that the Pedro Flores family would move back to Kansas where
they had a nice house, good jobs, a supportive community, and where all of
their children could attend school. Mrs. Flores' sisters could move with
them! It just seemed to be a better life for everyone there and held a
more promising future for their children. *sigh*
I have not had the pleasure nor the opportunity to travel to other
countries yet, but I plan to one day. Among the many things that I
noticed and learned during this series, there was a common thread among
the immigrants that I picked up on with regards to our lack of community
here in the States. It's more true in the suburbs and the cities than in
the rural country areas, but we do seem to isolate ourselves and our aging
Instead of the family helping each other with children, cooking, et
cetera, we do it all ourselves. Our elders are left indoors watching TV
when they could be more of a part of the childrens' lives. It makes me think.
Holyoke , MA
i loved this documentary! i am a pbs junkie and a lover of good
documentaries ... and this one is brilliant! i can't wait to purchase the
video and watch it again. the families featured without question represent
some aspect of the immigrant experience. the trials and tribulations
immigrants experience are real and have real consequencies. i will carry
all the families in my heart ... and as i struggle to complete my
dissertation, i will think of nora and her desire to complete a high
school education. thanks for brining this important issue to the public
television audience. i have been touched very deeply by this programming
... and will forever be inspired by many of the people featured.
Dundas, Ontario Canada
I love this series. How touching it is to watch these families as they
struggle with the move to a totally different culture. I can relate
having come to Canada from England "kicking and screaming" at the age of
14. I confess, I have never really taken to my new home (after 36 years),
but no longer fit in my old country.
I think it is also so valuable to see the emotion these people experience
in their move. We can so easily see people's differences, but clearly at
heart we are all the same....
I will continue to watch - this is reality TV at its very best!! My
heart goes out to all the families, and I hope they all eventually
achieve their dreams.
Ann Arbor, MI
Thank you so much for the wonderful program, The New Americans!! Each
night I was touched by the honesty shown by the families, and was riveted
to the television to find out what would happen next. I work with migrant
and seasonal farmworkers, so many of the issues presented were familiar to
me. Nonetheless, the show captured the issues in an engaging and truthful
manner. I hope that people who watched the program will gain a new or
renewed appreciation for the challenges immigrant families face and for
their tremendous contributions to our own lives.
The family from Mexico is just so courageous to leave their home in
Kansas, while now they can't even get the privacy that they wished for
because they don't have a home. I can't belive that their mom wanted to
go work all day long in the fields. They even have a visa to at least get
a descent job. I mean I can probably realte to the oldest dauther,
because I also had to struggle coming to the United States without knowing
the language, no peers, and no money. Its hard to leave your home, your
country. I can only say that I wish them the best...