New Americans Cultural Riches Take The Quiz
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4/2/04
Marie
PA
I am so happy that I came across this program by chance. I feel that it brings awareness to Americans who have forgotten where they have come from. It's very easy to forget that most of us living in America are here because of the struggles of our own families that came before us. Most of our families, just like the ones in the program, struggled with the same obstacles when they came to America (jobs, language barriers, money, culture shock, etc...)

I can relate to alot of what was going on in the program. My husband(an immigrant from India) and I have seen first hand the struggles of a "New American". I have learned alot from him about his culture and also about myself in the last few years. It is a constant battle in your heart everyday when you leave your family and your homeland and come to a different world.

What I find most amazing about immigrants is that they really help eachother to succeed in the USA. Most times their word or a handshake is as good as a signed contract in the U.S.

I loved this program. I was entranced. It will make you cry, happy and cheer for the underdog.

You have to work hard in America to succeed, but in the end...it is the only country that I would like to call home.
Bravo to PBS!

4/2/04
Michael
First of all, I would like to thank PBS for broadcasting such a great show as The New Americans was, and as many others you so often do..Thank you!!

I am so glad that I have found out about this show. From the first night I was glued to the television set, and I have continued to watch the show for the following nights as well. This was great, and this is the reality television, more Americans should be considering of watching perhaps.

As a child of European immigrants, I have been exposed alot to the similar struggles some of the people on the program were exposed to as well. I have also had a chance to travel thorughout the world a bit in my lifetime, and I have seen and heard alot of different opinions about America and Americans coming from different cultures and points of view. I have come to realize that other cultures tend to associate American movies to the American culture quite often. Just as they do when they watch other movies from various other cultures..Also a lot of things that happen in US, are not necessaraly broadcasted over there, such as catastrophic accidents torandoes, earthquakes etc..As if it is hidden, and this ideal picture of America is safely sealed and perceived world-wide. This so called super-power, the perfect nation of oppurtunity etc..

Anyway what I wish to say is, that I feel for those poor people, this is a rough and unstable society, particularly for the newcomers, and the economically less fortunate bunch of the people. This country is overrun by racism and discrimination and that is very unfortunate. Even though we have people coming from all over the world into this country, we still tend to discriminate and hate against one another. We need to embrace our differences, and teach our children to accept the present and look forward to our diverse future. Because like it or not, people are coming here regardless of what one wishes. And this isn't the case only in the US, but in other countries as well including United Kingdom, Germany, France and everywhere else pretty much!

Anyway once again big thanks to PBS, hope to see more of programs like this from you. And lots of luck and success to all the families featured, particularly the Mexican family! Thank you!!

4/2/04
Pat Carmichael Kinnebrew
East Point, GA
The New American captivated me from the first five minutes. I have already been looking to see if it was airing again so that I can make sure my friends and family watch. It was truly such an amazing look into the lives of immigrants which in turn made me look at my own life. We all know that as Americans we sometimes take so much for granted. Although Sept 11, 2001 certainly changed that for some forever...though some have returned to their old ways of thinking about their lives in this country. Lest we forget all can change in the blinking of an eye. Watching this documentary made me examine my prejudices toward immigrants. I have to admit that sometimes I resent their presence. I have to ask God for forgiveness, but it's true. I am black and often greet other blacks, though they be strangers...then I am taken back when they open their mouths and they don't sound like me. They are from Africa or the islands. I look around our neighborhoods and I don't know the nationality of the new store owners.

Are they Iraqi's or Palestinians or Indians or who? I know I am a Christian still in the making. I know what Christ would have me do and feel but we live in such strained times and circumstances now. I admire the hard work that immigrants are willing to engage in to realize their dreams. I regret that all Americans, especially black Americans are not able to work together to achieve a common good. Selfishness and greed are our enemies. As the Indian couple soon realized "money don't last always". Your documentary was exceptional. It, as some of the comments I read, will continue to inspire a lot of thought and discussion as well as inner searchings about our feeling about immigrants as well as ourselves. Thanks so much for your continued education of America and those willing to watch non traditional tv fare on a weeknight.

4/2/04
Pedro Sanches
San Diego, CA
Bravo. Bravo. Bravisimo.

4/2/04
Vivienne
Los Angeles, CA
It really does put things in perspective for us Americans who take excess for granted and complain costantly that we don't have enough.

When I see what these immigrants have to go through, I am grateful for what I have been given. I especially feel for the Mexican family. I wish them luck and hope that all the kids will grow up having a good future and remember what their parents have done for them.

I really hope I can do something to help this family out.

4/2/04
Washington Nguyen
San Jose, CA
Fantastic series. I was rooting for all of those families. I immigrated to the United States with my family in 1980 from Vietnam as political refugees. My parents struggled like many other families working two-three jobs. They finally saved enough money to open up their own Pho restaurant in 1992. They still work hard to this day and instill the hard work ethic in me and my sisters. Maybe we can see a new series that includes the Vietnamese immigration experience?

4/2/04
Andrew Morrison
McAllen, Texas
I took your very biased immigration quiz. Talk about left leaning propaganda. You didn't ask any anti-immigration groups to contribute for a balanced look at the issue. Here's a question for you "What percentage of federal prisoners are foreign born?"

As far as your study claiming that foreign workers do not take jobs from Americans, there are just as many studies claiming that foreign workers do take jobs from Americans. However, those studies don't fit into your view of the world, and so they were discounted.

I know people who are members of Green Peace (and a former Marxist) whose about as liberal as you get and even she admits that foreigners depress American wages. The example that comes to mind is Caesar Chavez and the United Farm workers an organization that is virtually powerless because all the big growers are just using illegal immigrants as scabs to break any strike.

Great, now my choices for news are between an organization that is too far to the left and one that is too far to the right. I thought you guys were smarter than Fox news.

4/2/04
Dallas, TX
Like many other viewers, I was glued to my t.v. for all 3 parts of this wonderful documentary.

I particularly enjoyed the story of the Flores family. It was a precious moment when their little boy cried because he was afraid he would be left behind.

I think Mrs. Flores' experience when they settled here was similar to our early pioneer women out on the prairies, who suffered isolation and loneliness.

Her husband is a good, caring man; altho he had a somewhat stable situation in Kansas, he pulled up stakes to move the family to California so his wife could be with her relatives.

My heart went out to their oldest daughter who had to leave school when they moved to California. I hope she finds a way to continue her schooling thru a GED or some other path.

Thanks, PBS!

4/2/04
Ann
New Hampshire
I came upon the series by accident, but I was drawn in by each story. This was one of the best documentaries I've seen on public television. Heart-felt and breath-taking!

4/2/04
Christina
oakland, ca
as one gentleman stated previously, this is reality tv and the best form of it.

i was taken by this series gratefully. finding myself mesmerized each night. i was moved, saddened and just consumed by endless emotions that left me crying silently and out loud for these courageous people. they seek the truest of what life has to offer. thank you to pbs and the creators of this program.

4/2/04
Adrienne Harvey
Albany NY
The New Americans was a wonderful program. I have not cried so much in a long time. The hardships they have all endured. Make me realize that my problems are not so bad and that I must continue. Please, continue the excellant programs. I will continue to support your efforts in my small way. My donation is going to be sent as soon as I can. Please bare with me as I deal with some financial problems of my own.

4/2/04
Saba
NC
Oh my Gosh! What a wicked show? Thumbs up! PBS.

As a foreign from Ethiopia who became a Citizen, I can relate to many of the experiences of those featured on the show.my Tears streaming down my face, each persons story brought me to tears. I was really touched by the little boy from Mexican family! He really touched my heart when he hugged his dad and begging him not to leave him and when he thank his Teacher! Hope we all learn one big thing from the show that what really matters in life is FAMILY LOVE ,FAITH and GOAL.

I felt such a connection to each and every one of the ppl in the show and can really Identify with the heartaches,suffer and joys. I hope those who think that Mexicans subhuman is can look at this and never look at Mexicans the same way again. PLS let's give respect for all human! I wish you all the best!

Thank you PBS!

4/2/04
Volatiana
Saint Paul, Minnesota
What a valuable program it is!

Thank you PBS for informing people about the reality that many people face.

4/2/04
Robin Kuppusamy
Akron, Ohio
I think this is reality television at its best. I am not one for watching TV, much less following one program on a regular basis. BUT, this was so captivating. I loved the story of each immigrant, and found myself wanting to help them, be a friend to them.

My husband is a tech immigrant from India. So, this really hits home. Luckily he is still here and thriving (hopefully with a green card soon).

I hope there will be more programs like this from PBS!!

4/2/04
Mary Beth Foster
West Lafayette, IN
The New Americans held me spellbound each night it was on. These families are now people I know and care for. I wish I knew how they are now -- is there any chance of a follow-up piece, or just some "where are they now" essays on this website?

Recently a couple from Sierra Leone joined our church. We were drawn to them for reasons we couldn't articulate. Getting to know them has blessed us immensely. They, too, are "new Americans": they survived the destruction of their house and close encounters with firing-squads, were separated and reunited as they fled from their country when rebels from Liberia swept through. They have come to America to pursue advanced studies in Agricultural Economics and Nursing; both desire deeply to return home and help their faltering country to right itself and achieve stability. They have struggled with unemployment and the insatiable demands of family back home in Sierra Leone who believe that the streets here are paved with gold. And, amazingly, through their faith they ha ve stayed hopeful even as they face the immense hurdles of post-9/11 tightened immigration policies and the incredible red-tape that prevents them from bringing their son here to join them.

Apart from the Native Americans, EVERY ONE of us has not one but many New American stories in our family trees, for we are all of immigrant stock. It stops me in my tracks to think that my fore-fathers and -mothers were people of courage just like the people I've grown to know in your program.

How I hope that your program is widely viewed: in schools, city halls and town forums, and in churches and other religious institutions. There is so much here to learn.

Thank you so much for your program. It was truly a work of art, resonant and beautiful.

4/2/04
Jessie
Boston, MA
his was a wonderful series. After watching the series, its interesting how all the parents on the show constantly express his/her desire to move back to their native country. And, over time it is their children who lose their native shell to become more "American".

The point of the show for me was the selfless acts of these parents who sacrifice so much for their children. Hopefully, the sacrifice of these parents continues the next generation of great Americans.

4/2/04
Jose Fernandez
I would like to congradulate pbs for this excellent series.I come from immigrant parents and can relate to some of these problems.Although i'm a proud U.S citizen and understand the immigrant issues and problems,i think this series should be used to teach students in high schools what this country is made of and for those who do not know a thing about these issues they may at least have an understanding.Many of us in this country take many things for granted and being American is one of them.

4/2/04
T.Edwards
Phoenix, AZ
I loved this program. T.V is at it's best on PBS :)

4/2/04
Kari Combs
Ohio
I thought this program was very interesting. The person PBS should do a documentery on is Naima's mother from Palestine. Her life was very compelling and I bet she has a million interesting life experiences. She was the best part of the whole series!

4/2/04
As a Black American, I have lived in America all my life, born and raised here, and seeing that program about the struggles of the New American's, really opened my eyes on the hardship our brothers and sisters from different countries face everyday. My heart really goes out to them, and what they have to deal with, compared to the thousands of Americans that take there freedom for granted. In my eye's they are all in the true sprit of what America should be all about. As a people we should be kind to our fellow man and women alike. So next time a stranger from another country comes up to you and seems scary or strange, look closely and extend them the warm welcome you would like to get yourself.

4/2/04
debby
Missoula MT
I too was profoundly affected by this series. My husband was born in Colombia and his family came to this country when he was about 9 years old. He related very much to the little boy in the Mexican family, Pedrito. It is heartbreaking to me how incredibly difficult it is for immigrants in this country. I know that culture shock is a factor, but the extreme poverty of most of these families was also an overwhelming barrier. If they were not so poor, the distance between their homelands and America would not seem as great, so that leaving thier extended families and friends would not seem as horribly sad. I think alot of Americans cant realte to or understand the kind of family bond that exists in many cultures. Nor do i think they can relate to the kind of poverty many of these immagrants experience.

Also , the one thing that has stayed with me after seeing that program is i wish i could help these families, especially the eldest daughter, i think her name was Nora, of the Mexican family. It makes me so sad that she isnt in school. I hope some good comes to these families after being on the program, and that awereness of immigrant issues continues to grow so that more families can recieve help, whether financilly, or even just through support , encouragement and information.

These families are usually so isolated , and they would do so much better if they were not.

4/2/04
San Francisco, CA
This is the best documentary film. Its so real and so touching. Even the hardship each family has endured, their life has more value than those greedy CEOs and hypocritical politicians. Millions of people in the world like those families are struggling for their life. We need more programs like this documentary to reflect the real peoples life and to inspire others to change. Please continue following their stories. Thanks for PBS and the documentary team, all awards should go for this documentary.

4/2/04
Fort Worth, Texas
On behalf of all people who have ever lived in an another country, I thank you for showing a very human side to immigration.

I currently work with a refugee resettlement agency. Every day we see people like Israel and Ngozi who are starting their lives over in this country. At times, the needs are overwhelming. But when we see our clients make progress toward self-sufficiency, we rejoice with them.

There are so many ways that anyone can get involved in the lives of refugees. Children can help other children at school. Mothers can train refugee mothers how to use disposable diapers. Refugees need transportation to medical appointments and grocery stores and school programs. Seniors can play chess at a community center. Anyone can teach English in everyday life.

Anyone can be a friend.

4/2/04
Muthinzi Mwinzi
Dallas, Texas
I was moved by this fantastic and well directed series. It clearly depicts that despite our differences and cultural influences, all of us are human and deserve respect.

It is disturbing to see that some American's still discriminate against honest and often very hard working immigrants. Those guilty of this should remember that America's super power (and pride) stems not only from her outstanding constitution, but more so from all the brilliant minds and manpower she imports. It is easy then to see that America thrives on the global community and it, in turn, thrives on her.

Thank you for pointing light at the otherwise blinded "Western eye."

4/2/04
Houston TX
This is by far one of the BEST documentaries I have EVER seen. BRAVO! While their stories were moving and heartwarming to watch - I would like to offer one observation that was eye-opening for the IMMAGRANTS. They all BELIEVED that some how that the "Money" and "financial opportunity" they could get in the U.S. would give them a "better life". But It REALLY didn't. It gave them only more "material" things. To me THEY were SO MUCH RICHER in Love and Family and closeness and individual "culture" in their Native Countries. It was interesting to watch how more money and nicer houses and better cars, while making you more comfortable on the outside can't give you the lasting satisfaction of a loving and loyal family and culture. You didn't here any of those people complaining of their children being rebellious or doing drugs. You didn't here any of the wives complaining that their husbands were cheating on them with other woman or were alcoholics or never home with them. The woman didn't seem to care that they didn't look like "Barbie" and the children didn't have to have the latest expensive clothing or video game to be accepted. Their love for their families and their simple faith in God gave them love, acceptance and purpose. HUMMM! Maybe we should learn something from their society. Having "money" and "things" sure doesn't make you better human beings, or love your family more, or make you better parents or make your children happier or .... really anything that means something.

Food for thought!!!

4/2/04
Rhonda M
This series was the best i have ever seen. I felt so connected to each person. I came to the US as a student and my experience is quite different from their experience. The one thing we have in common is homesickness. It seemed that no matter how we feel about third world countries and their downfalls the people living there will always choose it over america if the socioeconomic and political climate were better. Money isn't everything, what a country lacks monetarily and infrastructurally is made up in the warmth and love of its people.

The story that touched me the most was the mexican family. The oldest daughter made me cry because all she wants is an education. She is hungry for knowledge. I wished they had stayed in Kansas. It seemed better than toiling in a field. I really hope one day she realises her dream to be educated.

4/2/04
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Outstanding from beginning to end. Smiled, cried, and cheered while watching 'The New Americans.' Even though it's been 27 years since I first set foot on this great land I could identify with the immigrants (their heart-wrenching good-byes broke my heart and I found myself sobbing).

America has been good to me and I find myself calling both India and America home. I?ve tried to incorporate and inculcate the best of both cultures into the lives of my children.

The 21st century has given us opportunities to make generous contributions of our hearts, skills and resources globally. Thanks PBS for a documentary that was real and honest and magnificently portrays our basic human need for love, peace, security and friendship. Regardless of what country we call ?home,? may we continue to be challenged to have compassion, tolerance and respect for one another.

4/2/04
Judith Gonzalez-Cruz
Alexandria, Virginia
THANK YOU PBS!!!! I LOVED this program. I cried and laughed and really connected with the people. I am also an immigrant. My native country is El Salvador and I came here when I was seven. I have adapted to the American culture quite well, maybe too well. Your program made me feel that I was betraying myself. I was very compelled by the Mexican story. I cried really hard to think that people have to go through all of that. I loved all of the stories, but I guess I was specially touched by the Mexican story because I am Latin-American just like them.

It was really sad to see that they were the only family that didn't really better themselves. I know that their goal was to be together and come here legaly (I came here illigaly), but poor Nora didn't reach her dream of finishing high school. I cried last night before falling asleep because its not fair. I wish there was something we can do for all these new immigrants.

I was lucky that my parents had stable jobs here in Virginia when I migrated and that we never had to share a home. I always had my own room and there were never more then 5 people living in my home. To think that Nora's family had 15 people in one trailer is heart-breaking!!!!!

I love that this program will be seen by people that are racist or bigots or stereotypical. This program gave a face and feelings to an issue that faces and STARTED the U.S.A. People must remember...America was established by immigrants and will always be filled with them. Its takes guts to leave one's homeland and start over, but its worth it most of the time. Thats why the U.S. is the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE!!

Immigrants are the roots of the nation....

4/2/04
Chicago, IL
I was captivated by show. Indeed, it is the ultimate "reality series." I've been thinking about Israel and Naima and everyone else for the last three days--as if they were friends or people that I know. I'm so curious--how are they now? Are Hatem and Naima together? Will you post an update on their lives?

I certainly don't wish to invade anyone's privacy. If anything, I just feel tremendous compassion for their struggles and wish only the very best for all of the people and families featured in the series.

thank you!

4/2/04
Johnson Ahn
Buena Park, California

I was feeling pretty depressed lately about my current career in a fortune 500 company. The politics and drama which revolves around working in a corporate atmosphere was really bothering me until I saw this show. This show made me realize, all these people were just looking for dignity in this country. I too feel the same way. This show has changed my outlook on life dramatically. Especially how Israel's optimistic view of the world. Even though they have experienced so much hardship, one thing they will never lose is their dignity.

Realizing this, I quit my job to move to a smaller company. Life is not just about making money. It's about your dignity and your family.

4/2/04
Barbara Vizard Haas
Highland Village, TX
I feel so fortunate that I was able to see all three parts of this series as I was not aware that it was on this week. I have never seen anything on television that moved me this way. I cried, laughed, and learned so much from this series and just wanted to take the time to thank everyone involved in it's production. I have been haunted by the story of Nora Flores since last night. I have two daughters (one just starting HS, one just starting college)who have all of the opportunities Nora does not, and none of the drive that Nora has. Nora will be "richer" and much more strong than my daughters will ever be just due to her experiences. Maybe we all need a bit more adversity in our lives.

4/2/04
Thank you for this excellent program. I learned about the immigrants' plights, but I also learned about the culture of my own country, the USA. Will there be a follow up series? I am very interested to learn about the New American lives.

4/2/04
Heather Herriges
McHenry, IL
I started to care so much about the New Americans. Nora, the oldest Mexican daughter, is the hero of this story to me. She was uncomplaining, loving, and intelligent. When we first met her, she said she did not want her mother to have to work in America, that her mother works so hard for all of them. She pled with her father to only work one shift. She was brave to go to high school in Kansas when she was older than the others in her class, and her goal was to learn English. She saw that her mother was not happy in Kansas and pled with her father to let them stay there,where they would be able to stay in school and earn more money. Her modesty, goodness and love of family is what makes her an asset to our country. The end of her story, with her still toiling in the fields, brought tears to my eyes. I truly hope that she has been able to go back to school and leave the fields.

4/2/04
Sarah
I was so moved. Watching the struggles, trials, and tribulations each family faced really convicted me to focus my relativly simple life in a new direction. I feel so blessed to have what little I own. It really put into perspective how "easy" most of us have it. I am going to purchase the video and share it with my family and friends. It is a wonderful learning tool that needs to be utilized in order to better our society as a whole. I am so inspired to better my life with the same passion "The New Americans" have.

4/2/04
dinah
los angeles california
what a wonderful documentary. i am an immigrant from africa too and saw a bit of what i went through in all the stories.thank you pbs for speaking for me. what a wonderful series.keep it up. when are you going to repeat the programm?

4/2/04
Philadelphia, PA
Great Job PBS!! The ?New American? was one of the best documentaries I have seen on PBS. It shows us how we all have same basic needs no matter where we were born and which religion, race, gender, etc we belong to. All the stories were done in a superb way. The story of Palestinian couple was really moving. How Naima who was more religious than her husband and who lived under Israeli occupation, was more comfortable to deal with Jewish kids in the daycare. While her husband who was not a practicing Muslim and raised in the United States was more dedicated for the Palestinian cause.

I told all my friends and co-workers to watch this show. Once again, well done PBS

4/2/04
Guadalupe Ramirez
san jose, ca
First of all I cannot explain how grateful I am to the producers of this documentary. As an immigrant, my self I deeply related to all the stories. I was so compelled by the stories of that I want to know if there will be a new series? This series provoked so many emotions that I cannot wait to see more stories like these. I also, wanted to volunteer my family and myself for any future projects relating to Mexican-american families. I feel that tv series like these have a great impact on the people.

thank you Guadalupe Ramirez

4/2/04
Rich Sayre
Portland, Oregon
Every American teen should see this program. The seven hours spent just might change their lives forever. My sixteen year old son was captivated as were my wife and I. When the Flores' youngest son broke down about his worries of being left behind in Mexico my heart broke. We have been fortunate to live outside of the US in the past and so in a very small way understand a little about culture shock. Nothing like these true immigrants, but still we got to see our home country in a different light and it changed us all. I believe that all Americans, especially now, should see their country through a different lens and this program does such a wonderful job of that. Only through these kinds of experiences will we as a nation undertand the statement 'One planet, indivisible'.

4/2/04
L Smith, proud naturalized American citizen
Houston, Texas
I stumbled into the beginning of part I of this show and was quickly captivated! My parents immigrated to this country from Mexico in 1961 with my sister and I when we were both very young with the idea that they could make a better life. We had very little money but accepted the many challenges and hardships, some similar to those featured in this series, but never quit or were allowed to quit. We were taught to work hard and set goals.

We often made trips back to Mexico to visit family and as a youngster I can clearly recall the distinct difference between our family's perspective in life and that of my Mexican relatives. Having the knowledge of how blessed I truly was made me work harder in school and beyond. I think that maybe some Americans do not understand why so many people risk so much to come to this country but this series certainly illustrates why we must never take our country and it's resources for granted. Sucess can be achieved for both immigrants and natives with hard work and drive.

4/2/04
M. MARTINEZ
Albuqerque NM
Thank you for airing such a wonderful program, I was captivated from the start. It instigated great discussions around the water cooler.

4/2/04
Dallas, Texas
I think all Americans should be forced to watch this series--I don't think the majority of those born and raised in the US have much of an idea to what lengths people go to get here. Not only that, but watching the series serves as a reminder just how important diversity is in the US. These people highlighted in the series come from fascinating cultures very different from our own and can contribute in very different ways to our society. I'd be willing to bet that most Texans, for example, would be hard pressed to find Nigeria, or Palestine, or India, or the Dominican Republic or even Mexico on the map. The melting pot has become 'fit in or else' in the last decade or so, and that's sad. Their stories were compelling and I wish them all every success here.

4/2/04
Jon Todd
Washington, District of Co
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 helped one.

4/2/04
Crystal Fraser
Edmonton, Alberta
I think that the New Americans Series was amazing. As a teacher, I think that students should be taught about other cultures and the inequalities that exist in the western society. I was flicking the channels one night and found myself completely drawn into each of the stories that were being shared. I'd like to thank the people who allowed us to look into their lives over that 4 year period, and those who contributed to making the film. I am a Canadian and I don't know if it is as difficult for people to become Canadian citizens as it is American, but this series really opened my eyes to how difficult it is to start a new life in a foreign country, especially here in the West. It also was rather disturbing to see how difficult it is to acquire immigration status into the US, and how families had to leave loved ones behind in hopes of starting a better life. For many of these people family bonds were much tighter than that of many westerners, so I can't even imagine how hard that must be to not be with your loved ones. Although I was already aware of the inequalities that exist, it upset me to see how many of the immigrant people are highly skilled and educated, then they have to start over at the bottom in the west, and what a struggle it is for them. I mean many of them come to the west in hopes of persuing their dreams, and they end up struggling just to survive because they are lucky if they are hired on to do the most basic low paying jobs that other middle and upper class (predominantly white) westerners aren't subjected to take. These immigrants don't even seem to have a fair chance at their dreams that they have come to the West in hopes of realizing. Some of their children don't even have the opportunity to complete their education due to their poverty and having to work to help support their families in America. For some, maybe things will get better, with extremely hard work, perseverance and time, but for some, things may not improve. They may be stuck in the lower rungs of society due to such things as systemic racism and what not. Some of immigrants' children will have a chance at having a better life than their parents had, due to the sacrifices and courageous risks their parents took on their behalf.

On the whole this series is a real eye opener for those of us who were born in the West and who have been afforded opportunties that others will never be afforded in their lifetime. Especially for those of us who are white who don't even realize the privelages that we have based solely on the colour of our skin. I think something needs to be done to put an end to this disparity, to close the ever widening gap between the upper and lower classes of western society, and to abolish all forms of racism on the various levels that it occurs in the western world.

I think this series also has reminded me to count my blessings and from now on, when I find myself in less than ideal circumstances and complaining about things, I'll try to remember those who are less fortunate then myself, like the stuggling New Americans that shared their stories with us in this series.

4/2/04
Adaure
Ann Arbor, MI
This is an amazingly well-done, captivating, colorful series. I didn't even realize that each episode would be 2 hours long, and yet I hung in for the whole thing. I am a first-generation Nigerian-American, the child of Igbo parents who moved to the US in the late 70s. I've heard them relate the stories of the first years here many times, yet it was refreshingly different to see the Nwizor's story and understand it as an adult. How frustrated my parents must have been when they moved here, and at a time when prejudice was more blatant than it is now! I greatly respect them for it, and don't know if I'd be strong enough to do the same thing. I also gained from seeing the stories of the other families, and the struggles we don't always hear about. It's true that the US is a land of opportunity, but it's not as simple as that.

4/2/04
B. K. Hobbs
Fort Myers, FL
This country, for all of its imperfections, provides the greatest canvas of opportunity that has ever existed in world history.

My definition of a privileged child is any child whose parents risk so much for what might be: not for themselves, but for subsequent generations.

At some point in each individual lineage nearly all Americans can count some distant parent or set of parents as one such risk taker. In my mind, this is, and should remain, the basis of American community. These freedoms are based at the level of the individual and can never be assigned to a group. The glue, for me, is the history of accepting uncertain risk in the quest for opportunity.

I know of a number of first-generation entrpreneurs who have been extremely successful, if success is defined as the opportunities that they created for their children. I would like to see this wonderful series expanded to show these effects. They exist and are truly critical to any story of American immigration.

The kinds of peoples who give up the security of nearly all that they know, to reach for the possibilitites of what might be is the definition of both first-generation American immigrants and capitalist entrepreneurs. I suspect that the "failure rate" of entrepreneurs is much highter.

Great Series!

4/2/04
Los altos Hills, California
Thank you for this interesting documentary I discovered unexpectedly last night. The tragic circumstances of Nora(?)Florez in Mecca, California left me wondering if there was anything that could be done to give a leg-up to this young, bright, ambitious person.

4/2/04
Nipam Sheth
Philadelphia, PA
This is why i like pbs.org. I belive the director and producter of the show has done a nice job. It touches you from within about the truth of the new americans or may be not americans as one couple who came with a dream to America and had to go back to India not sure if they would want to come back. I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this project. You all have done a wonderful job. Thank you, and keep the good work up. - Nipam

4/2/04
Tison JDK Browne
NYS
This is by far the best program I have ever seen. PBS kudos to your entire staff on a job well done. This is reality tv at its best. No scripts, no acting, just raw emotion of people seeking better lives for them selves. I found myself crying quite a few times during the four part program. The New Americans is a great illustration of the struggles that some if not most immigrants go through in such of a better life. I am very touched though by the mexican family and especially when the little boy said "Papa, don't leave without me".

I am getting teary eyed just remembering the series. Every family had a story. Although I found most of it to be sad, I was elated when the nigerian girls graduated high school, their mother bought a house and learnt that the girls were now undergrads majoring in nursing and engineering. It just goes to show that it is all about opportunity. If given the same opportunities many poor people in the world can excel. The ambition and drive is all that is required in addition to the opportunity.

PBS you guys have outdone yourselves this time. I watch you guys religiously cause you have the best programming on the tube. No other station comes close. I am thankful to the entire staff who made it possible to air the New Americans. Hope you guys show it one more time. Also, maybe a follow up show can be done, showing the families in this post 911 world. Once again Thank you PBS. You guys are the best.

4/2/04
Harrisburg, Pa.
Hearbreaking and beautiful. I congratulate everyone that was involved with this project and sincerely hope that all of the featured immigrants dreams come true.

It is never to late to be the person that you always thought that you would be.

4/2/04
San Francisco, CA
Thank you PBS for such a compassionate and brilliant series. It's quite possibly the best TV show I've ever seen.

Presenting the reality of Palestinian lives was especially enlightening--and courageous of you. Many thanks.

The segment on the Indian immigrants was a bit short-changed--perhaps because the circumstances of their lives were not so tragic?

I would love to see a follow up to the series, this time addressing how the violence, poverty and oppression from which many immigrants flee to the US can actually be traced back to US foreign and economic policies.

4/2/04
Anne B.
Peoria, IL
This is a great series. I have been captivated by the stories of these immigrants who are trying to better themselves by coming to America and working hard! It shows us that we sometimes take our way of life and freedoms for granted.

4/2/04
Toledo, Ohio
I want to congratulate you for airing such a wonderful, touching, and thoughtful program. I laughed and cried as I sat in front of the TV, unable to move away from it. I came to this country as a young bride, and was very fortunate to have had loving friends who were a source of support. Still, adjusting to the change in culture was not easy, and I can sympathize with the trials of the different families, especially with the difficulties the women experienced.

As customary, you have outdone yourselves.

4/2/04
Fresno, CA
I was going to go to sleep at 9pm and instead was up til midnight. I managed to see the last episode and would hope for others sake and mine that the series will be aired again. The program is a challenge to everyone's defenition of "quality of life" not just immigrants.

4/2/04
peggy
ithaca new york
Thank you PBS for such a thought-provoking series. I was moved repeatedly for three nights and stunned by how much I did not know. I do have a few questions: Why is it that only Indian immigrants qualify for an H-1B working VISA? Why did Israel, a chemical engineer, or Naima, also a college graduate, not qualify? Are we so "tech-crazy" that only computer engineers qualify for good jobs in this country? Also, are Americans aware that Nigeria is the third biggest provider of oil to the U.S.? That what happened to the Ogono is partially our fault although Shell Oil is primarily a Dutch company, American interests in Nigeria abound. What happened to Israel's people is genocide and white people are at fault. Another concern that arose in my mind is how can we overlook the plight of Palestine and the impact of the American loans on the success of Israel? How can we allow the wall that is currently being built to continue? The wall divides Palestinian people from their villages and farmlands rendering them refugees in their own homeland just so Israeli settlements can be built and protected by this wall. Finally, how can Ventura think it is right to take her family from Garden City, Kansas where they all were flourishing (Nora was able to attend school) and the job opportunities were good, to be migrant laborers in California? I hope this show helped her to see that she had made the wrong decision for her family. Again, thank you for such a fine series. Let's hope that the points made in the series will prompt action as I have stated above. In this way, your series is not only informative but, hopefully, action-inducing as well.

4/2/04
Karen E. Fogg
The New Americans was an amazing documentary that had me laughing, crying, celebrating and grieving along with the featured individuals and their families. This is what reality television should be about. As an educator, traveler , American and world citizen I feel it is important to understand the immigrant experience and all it implies. I loved the fact that these people allowed the film makers such access to their lives. We learned so much about them and ourselves through this wonderful piece of film. I couldnt wait to see each episode! Thank you PBS, thank you to the families involved and thank you to the film makers. I do wish that more people would get the opportunity to see this documentary. I had to stay up quite late and on a school night to view this. Maybe beginning at 7:00, or 8:00 would allow younger viewers to see this as well.

4/2/04
Haidy Rivas
hello I had the oportinity to watch the series and @ times I was so touch and @ times I was try in to understant the other cultures but the one the touch me the most was the Flores because I m and imigrant from guatemala and my storie is not sad like the flores I feel for them specialy for nora because she try every thing in her power to get a high school diploma and learn the english and this people need to be admired for what they do and on the other side we have this Palestinian bride that is very ungrateful to this contry because she said she didnt want a green card and no id only the palistine id but she did not have a hard time coming to this contry like the mexican imigrants and to me if she doesnt like america she should not used america and go back and be happy were she can complained and be happy over all it was a great series the pooberty of all this contries is the reason we come to america and I happy the I can share freedom and become a us citicen.

4/2/04
Uche Ofoma
Los Angeles, California
Like those depicted in the series, I also consider myself to be a "New American". I am an international student from Nigeria studying engineering and I've lived here in the U.S. for over 10 years. I can fully relate to the hardships faced by some of the individuals in the documentary, especially the couples from Nigeria and India. I want to thank you for the incredible way you show life and how well it provokes thought that can lead to change. My wish is that perhaps in the near future you can air another documentary soley about the lives of international (foreign) students like myself. We too, have many incredible stories that we would like to tell.

4/2/04
All the stories in this series were very touching, but I was especially touched by the daughter in the Mexican family who was not able to finish her education. She wanted to finish high school, something that a lot of kids in the US take for granted...an education. She came from very humble means, and when her family got to Kansas, there was hope, until the mom decided that it would be better for them to be migrant farm workers in California. As a very strong advocate for education, it made my heart sink. I thought of how much their lives would have benefitted from staying in Kansas. I wish that I could have called the mother and told her she was making a very big mistake. Once they had moved to California and they had the handkerchiefs over their faces, I had tears in my eyes. There are some children that make it out of the migrant farms, including a Harvard educated friend of mine, but it is very very hard. It's a cycle of poverty, like the one the family was trying to get out of in Mexico. I wish that there was a way of reaching out to the family and helping them so that the children could study, and not just be forced to labor in the fields.

4/2/04
Paul H
Vernon, NJ
Great show!I wanted to wake to the whole family to watch as this show as I feel it captured the immigrants "real life" expectations of America. Some of the decisions that had to be made were truly heartbreaking. This show brought home the fact that people from around the globe want what most Americans want...a good life for their families, opportunities,and freedom. A few times I shouted at the families to not give up...dreams are still realized here. I found myself this morning tired but with renewed respect for those among us that are willing to take such personal risks to better their lives in our country. Thanks to the people behind this show for a real eye opener.

4/2/04
patrick
Los Angeles, CA
great show, i really enjoyed it. i would like to response to the question about immigrants having community to ease the transition of immigrating. i think it is very important to have a cnnection here in the states to ease the transition on coming here from another country, but here in LA, I have also seen the downside. there are some immigrants that come here and are so determined to keep their own culture, they never really reap the benefits of being here. they ant everything the exactly the same as where they came from. i am not advocating they give up all they are and assimilate, but there are some good things about being an american. for example, i work in education, and i have to struggle with some people to allow there daughters to come to school. they keep them out to help with chores around the house. i am told that is how it is where they are from. i tell them here education is the best option for the future of the family. they then tell me that is how americans do it, and they are not americans. i do not understand. why come here if you do not want to advance. the family that left a good life in kansas to go do backbreaking low wage work in california is another example. if you have the opportunity to do better, why don't you. isn't that the reason they came here. you can keep your culturte, and still benefit from the fruits of america.

4/2/04
Keitha Hudson
Birmingham AL
Such riveting and touching stories are everyday lives. Most were such wonderful people. I was so upset with the Mexican mother who deprived her child of school. If only there was some way to help her find more independence in her life, so she didn't have disrupt and to lower the living standard of the whole family.

Is there some way we can revisit these folks. I am so concerned about the Mexican girl who was unable to continue school in CA. Surely there is some way to help her.

4/2/04
M. Assefa
Philadelphia, PA
Mesmerizing!!! One of the best documentaries ever that needs to be aired again. I'll regularly check PBS's programs listing hoping that it will be showed once more.

4/2/04
cate
cleveland, Ohio
I thought it was an excellent series that really opened my eyes. I was suprised by how anti-Israeli/semetic (and anti-American) some Palestinians can be. Esp. the couple featured in this documentary. Was I the only one who noticed the look of absolute disgust on the husband's face when the wife was talking about singing the Hanukka song? I sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, but until they realize hate and violence will not help them, they will not have peace.

One other point. American only offers the possibility of a better life, the economy cannot bear the weight of supplying every immigrant with benefits, housing, money, etc. Poeple need to be educated about what is possible in america before the come here. Just because someone comes here doesn't mean that all their hopes and dreams will come true.

As someone who is responsible for recruiting and training new employees, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of speaking the language. If I moved to Spain, I would eat, drink and breathe Spanish in order to gain some degree of proficiency. I truly believe that without a basic proficiency in the native language of a country (America or otherwise), one is destined for failure. I wish all the people in this documentary the best of luck.

4/2/04
Richardson, TX
I was deeply moved by the documentary on the different families. I am thankful for the program because I realized my perception of the immigrants was bias. I have never put myself in their position or empathized with them. Watching their struggles and the impact we as Americans have on their perception of America the "melting pot" made me question my own behavior in the past. I never looked at their ambition and purpose, just the accent. I am glad to see there are people who care enough in our school system to be supportive of the children. I commend them for their work. It has encouraged me to learn about my own roots and why my great great ancestors came to this country. It was beautifully produced and edited.

4/2/04
Bill Romans
West Chester, PA
I viewed Parts 2 & 3 of the New Americans. It was a vivid protrayal of a people very much in touch with their lives in their respective countries, but a fight-to-survive in their new country. The odds against their success was very much against them. The physical and emotional energy they had to continuously possess made for a life of continuous struggle. The pressures they suffered were immense -- the pressure to succeed in this "land of plenty". It put me in a frame of mind of reversing what they experienced. That is, as a citizen of USA,having to leave what I have acquired here in this country and attempt to start over in another country. I've been to 10 foreign countries and have "vacation-experienced" life in these countries. If I would have have to set up a permanent residence in any country,I realized the environment I had grown fond of was gone and the need to develop anew would be crucial. My experience would be different from the New Americans since I have adequate savings that would allow for a plush life in any of the ten countries. I realized that i could not make a change since my roots are deeply entrenched in life as I have experienced for many years. So, to all New Americans, if you have the stamina and fortitude and willingness to persevere, many times in a defeating situation, you will be able to make it. It will be a tough battle since you are "the underdog",you will have to fight and struggle in odds that might very well be against you. But, take it from me, it is worth it, every last bit of your struggling. This is a fantastic country and I love it and appreciate what it provides. -- Lastly, for the younger set; some of you may have emigrated from one school "in this country" to another strange school in another part of our country. Was your experience a scary one but heartwarming - OR - was it scary with much pain and suffering - OR some of both? You might very well have captured the feelings of the character make-up of "The New Americans".

4/2/04
Debbie Lanter
Ellis Grove, IL
This programming was a thought provoking, emotional, roller coaster ride for me. Putting faces and names to the issues makes it impossible to merely be "politically correct" in addressing today's challenges. I'd be blessed to have friends and family with the strength and core values of these folks. I certainly don't posess and live them myself. Hard to imagine TV forcing you to become a better person, but shows like this can do just that. Thank you.

...and I thought you couldn't top Frontier House!

4/2/04
Nina S. Jacob
The series was a pleasure to watch because it was authentic from start to finish. You felt like you knew these people at the end!

My parents emigrated from India 30 years ago and this video helped me understand their struggles better. But somehow I feel a loss in life because I was born here and have little connection to my heritage. So I wonder why can't the U.S. government support policies that support the lives of the poor so that they don't have to leave their homes in the first place [i.e. to put pressure on Shell Oil in Nigeria to stop environmental damage]? The central theme about why immigrants come here is economic opportunity. I wish more people had those choices where they lived so that they can maintain their family ties/cultural roots. While immigrants like my parents look to the future, those of us born here search for our past.

4/2/04
joe smith
Thank God for educational television. I sometimes enjoy your educational, informative specials.

What a welcome relief from our 7th grade level, degenerative, perverted and sometimes obscene network television.

I thought "The new Americans" was an extraordinary good documentary, very interesting to follow the stories of 4-5 immigrants experience in contemporary America.

America still is a dream for millions of people around the world. The truth as your documentary showed the reality is it can be extremely difficult and sometimes does not work for immigrants.
Good show, Keep up the good work.

4/2/04
Erin Donaldson
Minneapolis, MN
This is the best and most enriching documentary ever. I am so touched by the feelings and thoughts these individuals are sharing about their relocating to the US and their connection to family here and in their homelands. It is an honor to have them in the US because they are revitalizing the soul of this nation. They are providing us with invaluable lessons for how our lives should change here and our priorities re-evaluated. They are helping us to all be more conscious and loving. I wish I lived near them so I could help them to feel more at home; I would love to have any or all of them as my neighbors. May they feel that those who are fortunate enough to be their neighbors are reaching out to them. They deserve it from us.

4/2/04
M.S.
As a mexican raised in u.s., the history of The FLORES family made me cry a few times, I had to stay up late because the series were well worth it watching. Unfortunately, some inmigrants gave up and don't have the strenght or economy possibilities for a better future, even as a new americans, is hard for them to achieved their GOALS in the land of the AMERICAN DREAM. I will surely follow their future stories. Thanks PBS for this kind of programation, and hoping we see more of it.

4/2/04
Quinn and Jean Jacobson
Riverdale, Utah
Thank you for an amazing and educational documentary. Yes, it did change our perspective on immigrants. It's a wake up call to see America through their eyes. We often wondered if they were better off here or not. We (Americans) tend to speak a different language than we live. It told us it was time for a reality check.

Thank you,

 


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