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los Angeles, CA
Powerful, honest, genuine.
Media used for enlightenment. I gained much insight, it is a great piece
of work, a clear window.
Thank you for making this, and I hope it airs again, so more people can
As a child of a Mexican immigrant, I heard about the struggles my father
faced in order to persue his dreams of coming to the U.S. I saw the
struggles of the Mexican family and empathize with them. I was happy to
see that none of them was left behind. I must admit though that it upset
me to see that the mom totally disregarded her oldest daughter's
opportunity to go to school! Actually it angered me! Knowing that her
children were deprived of an education in Mexico because they were unable
to afford it! It did not make sense for her to throw away her daughter's
opportunity to further her education for FREE! Nora could do a lot more
for the family by getting an education than she could ever do by working
in the fields! My heart goes out to Nora...I felt like offering her the
chance to live in my home and go to school!
This is the best programming that has entered my home via the television
for a long, long time. Unfortunately, many of my family and friends that I
have told about the program were too late in getting to it and missed it.
PLEASE replay the program!
I am really move for such a wonderfull work. But at the same time I am
thinking in the thousands (maybe hundres of thousands) of "illegal"
immigrants that for the same reasons are coming to the US. Those that are
here without any help, not smoth (and now we know that it is not an smoth
process) transition from one place to the other... I am thinking that
today is really important to address this phenomenon. Today in which many
people died of famine, scarcity, and anihilation around the world the US.
once again has to raise the voice, not using its universal responsability
of being the powerful country with false issues (liberation and democracy
are wonderful ideas, but its implementation is painful, sometimes is worst
that that problem itself). But something is clear, we are living in a
society of abundance, and confort. One of the biggest probles
(paradoxically) is not malnutrition but obesity... And today that the gas
prices are raising we undestand that -those realities- beyond our
confortable cars, couches, beds, malls, etc, are close to us. "We are among you", because "we are like you" but differents, we can teach you how to reconect yourself with your family and your land, we can teach you how to be happy even in the worst living conditions, we can teach you to live with so
little, we can teach you the wonder of nature, human relationship, love,
desire, and peace. Let us learn how to have -the minimun to live
freearly- let us know the secrets of America, but together....
Jon Todd Markowitz
After following the progression of the lives showcased in this wonderful
series I must say that I am deeply ashamed as a 3rd generation American.
As a whole I feel we have lost touch with the fundamentals upon which
this once great nation was founded upon. I fully agree with Israel's
statement in the 2nd installment that "it's easier to raise a child in
Nigeria." Again, I express my deepest shame of ,ultimately, of the way
we treat our brothers and sisters of humanity. We have gone from a
society of freedoms, expressiveness, and compassion, to one where there
is only one singular mitigating factor of importance, one 'label' -
that of the 'almighty dollar'. I have just recently started to change
my views and have recently decided to take action. Seeing this
documentary has only reaffirmed my thoughts, feelings, and ideals,
towards pushing this country towards a true 'Global' mind set, and away
from a self-serving 'gotta get what's mine and get it now!' mentality.
I can honestly say that I have gotten the most satisfaction in my life
from helping others and even just saying 'Hello' to stranger on the
street and having that same sentiment reciprocated, than from getting a
bigger paycheck each year.. Please, please, please, continue with
'world view' programming. Who knows, maybe we will see the reflection
of ourselves through the lives of others and decide to make a change.
It worked for me. Keep up the great programming, and know that you have
This was an awesome documentary, and it moved me profoundly. The people
followed were role models in many ways, and made me reflect on how I can
change myself to be a better person.
I was especially touched by Israel and Ngozi - was totally inspired by
them and their quiet strength and optimism. I first saw this at a premier
showing back in February, and since then whenever I come in contact with
someone with an accent, I wonder what their own story is and hope that
their adjustment here has not been too difficult. I wish more people
could see this, and agree with other viewers' comments that this would be
wonderful for school children to watch. Congratulations to the producers,
directors, and all others involved on tremendous work!!!
It was amazing to see the sense of community and family that these people
had in their homelands, and yet they were willing to leave all that to
pursue financial wealth in the U.S. One of the drawbacks of American
society is that we have isolated ourselves so much from our extended
families. Additionally, our suburban sprawl and "car culture" have
contributed to the demise of neighborliness.
The people who belong to such strong families and communities already
possess far more wealth than most Americans ever will.
As an immigrant myself I was deeply touched by this series. So on behalf
of all immigrants to the US I want to thank PBS for telling "Our Story".
The first immigrants to the US, may have had stories similar to ours, but
they have been glorified and stereotyped over the years. They probably
had the same frustations, angers against their new country, but they were
probably never vocalized. Perhaps they never told them, perhaps they
didn't speak or write enough English to communicate their feelings. But,
having feelings like this is human and in the case of immigrants they have
left a whole life behind them which sometimes seems better, when life in
the new country seems tough.
I would like to suggest that PBS also have a similar series focusing on
the children of these immigrants. They have the balancing act of being
American and yet somehow immigrants as well. I met a young Indian boy,
born and bred in the US. He said "I am an American, I think of myself as
an American. Yet, when strangers meet me they want to know where I am from." Somehow there is the perception that coloured people like ourselves are not American, that we must be from "somewhere else". This perception needs to be dispelled if America is to be a truly multi-cultural society.
I think this documentary was a wonderful presentation of the struggles
that immigrants encounter when entering this country. I likes that the
documentary did not foucs on one family but many from different parts of
If Hatem or Naima happens to read this comment, I would like to say that
I did not enjoy seeing Hatem being a hypocrit. Hatem is a disappointment
to his faith and culture. Furthermore, I did not see him help the
Palestinian cause. It seems that he has an obsession with it but I really
did not see him HELP the palestinian cause. Hatem brings a Muslim,
Palestinian wife to America and does not even know how to respect her
religious beliefs or thoughts about Palestine.
Also, when someone asks if you are a Kafir...I don't think the cowardly
response is to say that you plead the fifth. What a disappointment!
Mike and Mireille
You must rebroadcast this series!
A masterpiece of documentary film. Thank you so much for airing such a
captivating, engaging, now heart-rending, now exhilirating chronicle. THIS
is reality TV! My wife and I are children of immigrants and we can't stop
talking about it -- so many memorable moments, like Anjan's late father's
monologue on America and Americans, or virtually anything Naima's mother
said! We continue to disagree on whether it has an overarching message of
hope (my thought) or of anguish (my wife's), about America and about
One thing -- why was it not publicized more? We stumbled upon it, but
would have recommended it to many other people had you had more
announcements. This is why you must re-broadcast, and please, this time,
publcize the event more!
This series was really fantastic. It's too bad PBS was not the recipient
of the recent multi-million-dollar gift to the poetry organization. You
have produced and broadcast the best shows in this country that are so
incredibly meaningful and helpful, not vacuous and unhelpful for human
understanding, challenge and growth. This series was really a slice of
reality that helps m
I watched all 7 hours of the program and enjoyed it thoroughly. What a
gammot of emotions it stirred in me. I found it very interesting the
different decisions each subject made. Particularly, the decision by the
Mexican family to move to California I thought unfortunate. The children
were enjoying and thriving in Kansas. My heart went out most to Israel
and his sweet family. He is a man with a great heart and attitude about
life. I really felt for them in their struggle to make ends meet here in
the United States. I would like to offer all of the New Americans
encouragement and applaud their bravery, determination, and strength.
I emigrated to the US at age 19 . I borrowed half of my fare and an uncle
gave me the other half. I had survived The Holocaust as a child. My first
aim was to repay the loan which I did with my first paychecks as a stock
clerck. A year later I was inducted in the US Army even though I was not a
citizen which I became then 6 months later as a member of the 82 Airborne
Division in Fort Brag, North Carolina. A few months later I was back in
Europe as a GI occupying Germany from whiuch I had managed to escape to
Belgium at the age of 6. Later upon discharge, I went to the University
of Maryland , working my way through as a helper in the student dining
ha;; 20 hours a week to pay for my room and board , in addition
toreceiving the Korean War G.I. Bill allowance for the tuition. I again
went back to Belgium as a State Department employee to work at the US
Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958 (my parents were then still
living in Belgium) escorting VIPs, senators, etc.. visiting the US
Pavilion. I graduated with honors and won a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship to studat the graduate level . I gained a Master of Arts with great distinction from Th School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University . I Taught at Howard University in Washington DC and then entered the Federal Government when the "Grerat Society"programs were launched. I was involved at the US Office of Economic Opportunity in
setting up Job Corps, a youth program to teach skills to minorities and
otyers, still in existence today. Later I served at the US Department of
Labor where I was principally a political and labor economist. During my
professional career, I was elected to the National Council of the American
Society for Public Administration and the Board of Directors of the
Society of Government Economists. I was awarded the Distinguished Career
Award for sustained high quality and efficiency during my career by
Secetary of Labor Dr. Robert Reich. I am retired now 11 years , owning my
home now 31 years in an afluent suburb of Washington,D.C. Only in America! I started owing money for my fare to America and now I am a millionaire!
In viewing, the program on New Americans I was looking to immigrants seizing every opportunity to advance themselves.
The outstanding feature that separates America fronmother countries is the opportunities that existed then and now of advancing oneselves.
Howver, the program disappointedd me since a
few of the people shown did not have the get up and go required of the
immigrants I knew. For example, the Mexican family gives up the good
joob of the father in Kansas, the schooling for the eldest daughter , and
retrogrades to the fields of California , just to satisfy the mother. In
my days, people looked to the future and sacrificed for their children.
Here , it seems the reverse, the children 's future are sacrificed for the
emotional comfort of the mother. The lady from Palestine is certainly a
bright young woman but she seems to be subversient to her husband.
Ironically though she has now worked for a Jewish Day Care center even though she is a muslim Palestinian and her husband is an Arab American activist, in
the bgusiness of bashing Israel. The Indian man goes back to India ,
unsuccesful in getting quickly rich in America. He had no intention to
ever stay here and I fail to see him as immigrant. His being on the
program was an oversight since he was not an immigrant and never wanted to be such. The people refugees from the Ogoni tribe shows a more realistic
view of the adaptation of immigrants to the US, and except for the age
of the Nigerian man, he is to be lauded for his determination. Finally,
the Dominican series was really out of place. These are not ty[pical
immigrants at all. So, oddly no immigrants from Eastern Europe ? I
enjoyed the program, but if this is representative of new immigrants, I
find them very soft. In my view, the actual immigrant is a person that is
the most dynamic member of his culture, ready to leave familiar
surroundings, to take riskes , adaptable to a new culture, and seize each opportunity to better himself and add his skills to his new adopted country. To me , immigrants, by nature, are not people who easily give up and bemoan like some did in the program. Far from it, any obstacle, for me, was
achallenge to surmount, and I did! Only in America..When I arrived in the
US, my cousin sponsor from which I had borrowed , told me : " Now you are
on your own, you start the way we did! "
I am an ESOL teacher at a local elementary school here in Athens. After
seeing your documentary, THE NEW AMERICANS, I wanted to show it to the
whole district. The part about the Mexican family is the story of most of
the students I teach. I'm hoping it will air again on PBS. I've spread the
word about it. I'm hoping it will bring a better understanding of what my
students and their families go through to get here. Thank you.
I loved every minute of this incredible program. I salute the families for
there honesty and wish them all the best in our uncertain future.
Like many others that have posted comments, I came across this program by
accident. I started watching during the middle of episode 2. The high and
low emotions expressed by the courageous people that were profiled was
touching to say the least. I immediately looked on the PBS website to see
when the other episodes would be on so I could record it for my mom...I
have told so many people about this since watching it because I cannot get
the families off of my mind. Thank you for shedding light on this issue. I
want to help in some way.
San Jose, CA
This was a very engrossing documentary, and we stumbled on it quite by
accident (fortunately early enough), while flipping channels, and stayed
put through the end.
The interest level is maintained high, with skilful mixing of the
Kudos to the participants who were on the program. This is a true
"reality show", and it must be quite an experience to be the face of the
ordeal that most immigrants go through.
Would definitely recommend this to friends, for subsequent airings. Well
Hats of to all the people who contributed to this masterpiece at any
Real life captured and presented. The major ingredient in making of the
show - years of hardwork, can be clearly be seen.
I like PBS very much and i also like the subject discussed. But the the
screen play and presentaion was the one that kept me watching show late in
the night without thinking about the deadlines.
Look forward to more shows like this and also repeats of this so that
more people might be benefited .
Thanks PBS for airing one of the most captivating documentaries ever. I
was moved by the struggles of each an every family and especially that of
the mexican and palestinian americans. I hope you continue to educate
more americans by sharing the stories of immigrants. Thanks again!
What an amazing series. Please give us a link to be able to donate some
money. Watching the eldest Flores daughter loose her dream, just about
broke my heart. I would love to help her get an education.
Saw your documentary, and enjoyed it's informative presentation. Yet I
have not once see nor heared one word about Mexico's poor human rights
record , its rampet corruption, or any attempts by the United States to
pressure Mexico to incorporate true democratic idealogy and civil order.
There is law by which all men and women can rightfully live by. Class
seperation is accountable for the worst poverty in the world just south of
our border. When are the people of Mexico going to take back their own
dignity, pride, and self worth. Why is it that the citizens of the U.S.A.
bear the weight of a people desperate to do nothing more than live free
of repression.The very things that the truly free world enjoy is liberty
and justice for all. Of course let's not forget that corporate America in
recent years has taken jobs from 10's of thousands of American citizens
to gain marked capital for the powerful and wealthy. Those sources of
income are then sent to Mexico atleast 90% less of what was paid to thier
American counter parts and that includes no benefits to the Mexican worker.
Kickbacks are then paid to government officials and Mexican heads of state
for the use of unregulated cheap labor. Mexico needs to clean up its
act, be responsible to its people and provide the liberty and justice that
concretes unity and prosperity for all!
As an African American world travler,I thought the documentary was
outstanding, because it showed how immigrants from all parts of the world
want to come to America for opportunties they couldn't get in their own
country of origin. I wish alot more American can have the chance to view
this powerful series, so they can see the motivation that some immigrants
have and so many Americans have lost. It's not easy living in America,but
it's the best experiment known to humans!In the mean time we have to keep
on working to improve our country! Good job Independent Lens and PBS.
Mimi Magee Wong
Elk Grove, CA
What an extraordinary series. I am grateful to all those who brought it
about--the editing and photography were superb. But more than that, I
found myself connecting in one way or the other with each family, smiling
and hoping and crying with them. And I wished I could help them each. In
my 20's I was a student in France for a year, and when I got the
opportunity, my dream had come true and I was ecstatic--and when I
actually WENT, life was a little different. And just a few years ago in
my 50's, I moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a job for a year. In each
experience--of France and of Switzerland, at a young age and an "old"
age--I felt like a child just starting over--so unaware of the simplest
cultural clues that each society knew by osmosis.
Years ago, I taught English As A Second Language for 6 years. I have had
the privilege of knowing the courage, the flexibility, the hope of new
Americans. I taught ESL again briefly a few years ago. But seeing this
program makes me want to teach ESL yet again.
This program is so important on so many levels--it should be shown not
only in all schools but, again, across America---with a great deal of
publicity. I believe it deserves the highest journalism award. Thank you
for bringing it to us.
I can relate with many of the individuals. I actually started writing
about my experiences here about seven years ago. I was able to relate with
the Africans more as a black woman, although my circumstance was
different. I experience a culture shock although I had travelled here
previously. One quickly realizes that when you are on a vacation , your
experience is totally different from when you actually return here to
live. Very good documentary and also informative.
Vancouver , Canada
I absolutely love this program
I just by luck saw it by flipping channels the first night, I don't think
I cried so much watching a television show . I'm married to a Salvadorean
who said that little " pedro " was just like him in leaving his own
country . This show made me realize that I'm very lucky to have been born
in Canada and have the life that I choose to have
I came across this program missing the first night. The families were
immeditely in my thoughts and prayers the moment I got through watching
it. I have learned so much about the immigrants needs and feelings. We
are all human and they just want happiness for their families too. Thank
you for bringing this to attention.
This is one of the best and most thought-provoking series I have seen in a
long long time. It was absolutely riveting, and I couldn't wait to watch
the next installment each night, to find out how each individual and
family were faring. My thoughts were that everyone should see this,
especially our politicians. The courage and faith these people all had
was just awe inspiring. The humanity they displayed as they struggled
through seemingly impossible odds gives me hope that deep down all people
can appreciate the struggles we all face. I am so grateful for those
responsible for this series.
Oklahoma City, OKlahoma
First of all I too was changing channels and noticed a mexican family
talking spanish and english subtitles and immediately remembered a
documentary i had watched on pbs last year (which really touched me)about
all the women murdered in Juarez, Mexico. I would like to know if pbs will
ever broadcast it again. The New Americans wassuch a heart touching
documentary. I compliment the directors on how true and realistic it felt
to hear actual immigrants live their lives before a camera in such a
sincere way that touched me deep in made me remember when I too immigrated
to this country. Not only did the Flores family touch me but the Nigerian
family. Even though every body goes through different circumstances each
story encountered great hardship and happiness at the same time. The
NIgerian family story made me reflect on how you I see everybody and how
everybody has a STORY that unless told is never known. I sincerely
appreciated this show and how unpolitical and without negative opinion
this documentary was taped just simply recording the truth of reality in real life. And how every member was not embarrassed to show true emotions and express their own opinions with out being couched.Because of these programs I have chosen to support PBS and hope future programs touch other persons as this has
touched me!! (I did not see episode 1, How can I find out if it will be
cannot tell you how riveting this series was for me and my husband. We
rarely watch anything together but we stayed still for three nights
watching these stories.
I am especially moved by the Palestinian bride and the Mexican daughter.
They had hopes in coming to America which in many ways are still
unfulfilled. My hope for them both is that their dreams are realized and
they find the strength they need in their journeys.
We were both touched by the Ogoni refugees and were happy to find that
their lives seemed to be going in the right direction.
Thanks again for another piece of sterling work.
I am an American born citizen.
My entire "world" comprised of making money, music, women,
and where the next good time was.
I'm ashed of myself after watching this documentary. The struggles that
these people go through just to have a good life make my problems look
The segments of the Palestinian bride struck me.
I am a Presbyterian and have always supported the Jewish side of any
After watching this program I am not necessarily supportive of the
Palestinian point of view of the conflict in "The Promised Land". But I do
have empathy for it.
Watching this woman teach in an education center that was completely pro
Jewish was HARD.
You could tell that she was holding back all of her true feelings just to
make a living.
Also, in particular, the scene where the Mexican boy cries to his father
about not wanting to be left behind broke my heart.
I never realized how good I have it until I saw this.
Best documentary I have ever seen.
I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart who poured your own hearts
and souls into the production of this outstanding series. It stirred my
emotions and moved me deeply. So much so that I am looking at people whose skin is different than my own in an entirely different way. What I see now is a person with a story..not only another human being, struggling to get
along in the world. Whether or not they are immigrants matters not. They
are people who are connected to me by virtue of the fact that we all have
the same thing in common...we all have a story to tell and our brokeness
connects us. My heart especially was warmed by the Mexican family and
their never-ending battle to survive. Thank you for all of it, PBS.
Just a wonderful program to counter all the fake junk on TV, finally
something real that can change people's level of appreciation for life,
family, and helping those who need our help. I sure hope these people got
paid something for being following around all those years.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't say enough to everyone I know
about this program! Each night I couldn't wait to get home and turn on the
tv to see the families again. I grew up in Chicago, 3rd generation
American, of Italian immigrants who came to the US through Ellis Island,
early 1900's. Like most immigrants, the struggled with language, culture
and making a living. With hard work and some luck, they opened a grocery
store and restaurant. They died when I was very young and the only real
memories I have of them are when they were working. My grandparents did
not go beyond the 2nd grade; my father graduated from college; I have a
graduate degree. For each generation, it got better. How I cried when I
learned that Nora's education would end at such a young age. The desire to
go to school should be enough; the love and joy of learning should be
enough. Nora deserves more. They all do.