New Americans Cultural Riches Take The Quiz
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my family originated from Ireland and England in the late 1800's. †they came to America to look for a better life and more opportunities for their families.


My family is from Slovenia. My great grandparents came here bringing my grandmother and grandfather with them. My great grandmother was very afraid that she would be turned away if she acted as if she was from the old country, so she never spoke of it until she was much older. My family sailed from Italy after walking from Slovenia and picking up what little rides they could. I am proud to be 100% Slovak.


I came to America after being adopted from an orphanage in Guatemala City at the age of 10.My earlier years before coming to America,& my last orphanage,included me moving around a lot,running,& hiding,physically,& mentally,from the scariest situations of what should of been my childhood.I was constantly in & out of foster homes,orphanages,& even lived on the streets at random times.Since my parents were unable to care for me,i was constantly taken out of my "home",& was considered a ward of the city.Many things happened in between that time that made me a grown up at a young age,& left scars both physically & mentally.By chance I ended up in my last orphanage where I met the nuns that raised & cared for me for over 4 years.They were my first family,my first permanent home,the first people that loved me.I was later adopted,& 3 years later so was my little sister.In spite of everything that happened to me,I still hold very tight bonds to my country,the culture,my family at the orphanage,& biological family as well.They are my heart,my inspiration,& everything I am.


My parents and grandparents cam from Greece.

Gary and Logan Curteman
Middleburg Florida

I am a U.S.citizen(born and raised)stuck in the Philippines with my 6 year old orphaned legally adopted daughter who has been with me since birth.I have run into problems with USCIS and the bureaucracy in trying to get her home.Her adoptive "mother" and my "wife" abandoned her over 2 years ago after illegally selling our home and absconding to the U.S,on what had to be forged visa documents.I applied and was denied a visa twice for her.My income is limited as i am on Social Security and am unable to work here however do work when home.This and of course with the X stealing everything we owned makes it difficult plus the fact of maintaining a residence in Florida and here.Can you offer my assistance in any way.I love my Daughter and am Her Daddy and only parent and would never consider of leaving Her,

Beckley, WV

I came to the U.S. with my family years ago for education and freedom. After 24 years of waiting to legally do the process of immigration, I finally arrived in the U.S. I came from one of the southeast Asia countries which is now controlled by a criminal regime.


I came here because I knew a good man and I married with him. I'm happy to be here, but I need to learn a new language, new culture, new job. Sometimes it is hard to start again, but we have better opportunities and a better life.

Farah Nakhaei

I came here because my family was here. I am happy here because I have found more friends and I go to English class and I have good insurance for my health.

Beckley, WV

I was married and came with my daughters. For the first time, I wanted to meet my parents in law and my husband's family. We were really happy to come to the United States. After a few months, I started work and my daughter started school.

West Virginia

I came to America because my husband wanted to move to the USA. Then, I had a daughter so I stayed. Now I am an American citizen and have entered the American life.


hi. uhm so i was born in africa but im white i came her when i was 10 so im pretty fluent in african language yeah thats it


We moved from south carolina to virginia it was tough the weather conditions and land spacing is very different the custums and everything was new but i survived it all i felt as if i was a immagrant moving to a new country but actually a different state i never realized that even 2 cities can be very different

Manchester Vermont

I was born and raised in Italy. After earning a bookeeping and int'l business diploma, I worked for an int'l company for more than 15 yrs, traveling to France, Germany, Italy, and finally I moved to USA. I survived the first 6 months, and moved from Washington D.C to Boston. Loved it! I moved with the company north to VT. Today I earned 2 BAs and 1 AA. I met numerous people from many countries, especially in college. I do realize that fom stories these friends have kindly shared, living in US is sometimes very difficult. I understand what they mean.

Christine McCormick

My great-great grandparents came from Ireland during the potatoe famine. They came to my town to farm, and began a new life. I am proud to be Irish.

margarita cazares

Hi my name is margarita, im writing cause my husband was the immagrant.He is from mexico,he was taking away from me and my three children in,October of 2003.They came in my house and took him in front of my children,who at the time were,11,7,&4 years old.Even though they are older they still think about that morning,their daddy was taken away,never being able to him every day they wake up,or when they go to sleep.I think its so not take a childs dad,without no and my children are u.s citizens,and ifeel that if my freedom and my rights was taking away also.

Elaine R
Chicago, IL

Um my husband of 1 year came from Mexico. His step-dad, mother, little brother and little sister came from Mexico to. So basically his whole family came here. They are just like everyone else. His father is hardworking but I think he works a hard labor job. Being illegal or not I still love my husband and he goes to college and gets A's and B's. So him and his family are just like average Joe's.

Love You Jesus!

Nancy Hinojosa
Charlotte, NC

I came from Mexico when I was three for a better life and also to be with my mom's family. All my siblings are all from Chicago and have legal papers it's scary for to think about not bieng able to attend high school or college

Efren Herrera

My family came from durango,mexico and some of my family wants me to share this with you. My dad is from honolulu,Hawaii he came to the united states when he was 16 in a boat with no food and nothing to drink.Just last month on march my dad died. So dont be mean to your parents listen to them thats all i got to say so be good to your parents.

san diego california

i was 6 years i had 4 brothers and 4 sisters they all died they tochered me for 2 years i never met my parents i saw my sister die they raped her and there was nothing i could do about it and now a am ashamed of my self for not doing nothing about it i try not to think about it but at nite when im sliping i have dreams about it


i was 6 years i had 4 brothers and 4 sisters they all died they tochered me for 2 years i never met my parents i saw my sister die they raped her and there was nothing i could do about it and now a am ashamed of my self for not doing nothing about it i try not to think about it but at nite when im sliping i have dreams about it

garland tx

i WAS BORN IN THE US TILLI WAS 1 YEAR OLD. I was raised in Mexico till i was 5 my mom &i moved to california till i was 12 then we molved here in tx also we had alot of trouble when we were inthe airport so they took my mom & left me there. i try to follow them they did not let me go so i got saperated from her and i haven't seen her sinceSO IM TRYING TO GO VISIT HER IN JAIL AND TALK TO HER BUT I CANT SO ILL JUST HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE WHAT WILL HAPEN NEXT. IVE BEEN WITH MY UNCLE FOR NOW HE HAS GIVEN ME EVERYTHING I BEARLY TALK TO MY MOM.SHE HAD A BAD TIME

Jeremiah Mac Kenzie
fontana California

I was born in South Africa. My ancestors came from Europe. I came over when I was seven. I flew into Paris Airport carying eight bags of luggage. We stayed in San Fransico. We then came and landed in America and met my old pastor at Ontario.


I don't really have a story of my own because I moved to live here in the U.S when I was a year and a half. But my mom and I migrated from Quito, Ecuador because she wanted me to have a better life here in the U.S from the one that she had in Ecuador. She wanted me to have a better education and take the opportunities that the American's gave here. But at first it was hard for my mom because she didn't know English but as the years went by and I started school, she started progressing in everything that she was doing.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I was born in Scotland and have lived in England for half my life and have moved to Louisiana with my dad's job. I miss my family and friends terribly and am not so fond of it here, but i am trying to make the best of it. I have also lived in Houston for 6 years so am use to the U.S I was born in Scotland, moved to England, moved to Houston, moved back to England, then moved here all because of my dad's company.


I was born an rased in india then when i was 14 years old i had to move to pittsburgh it was very hard out here. we had no place to live. my mom are dad coudn't get a job. now i have a job at Mcdounalds,and there food is very delious. thank for letting me share my store.

Roberto Brockman
Houston Texas

I came to the US when I was 20 I've been here a little over ten years. I am bolivian native who left his country for ever because I was sick and tired of all the gossip... typical from a small society. My parents have a good living down there because they are rich. Unlike most immigrants I'm not here for the money. I'm here in the US because nobody else lives my life but me. I am well educated and got a master degree at school.

Amy Frederick
N Versailles

Hi my name is Amy Frederick I am in seventh grade. I am 13 years old I am on your website for a project for school and decided to come in. I do not have much to say. I am in East Allehgany Middle/junior/highschool. Thanks PBS!!!!!


hello i am mary and i like sweden. this because i from there. i born there in 1966 and lived very nicely until i decided to leave because i wanted to be american. cept then i changed my mind so i have green card.

Nidia Lopez
Pittsburg, KS

My family moved to the US when I was 12 years old from Mexico. My parents wanted a better life for us, they wanted us to be educated. When I arrived I didn't know the language nor the culture. Moving to the US was the best thing that ever happend in my life. I am thankful everyday to my parents for making a difficult decision. I love this country and can't imagine how my life would have been had we stayed in Mexico. While everyone continues to argue as to what the best way to handle illegal immigration remember that "they" are people too. I know because I was and am "they."

Dominick Johnson
Altoona Fl

Hi my name is Dominick and I am going to tell you guy's about my life my life started off tragic and this is what happend I was born on August 28 1992 and I was now two months old and the most tragic thing had happened to me. My parents have died and My little sister My dad's name was Dominick My mom's name was EJ And my sister name was Ki-Ki and I loved them all I bet you guys are wondering why I not scared to tell the whole world because your suppose to let your feeling's go not hold them in. I was born,In Dayton Ohio and raised in Richmond Virginia. My dad died in the army my mom had cancer and my sister died because she had breathing problems. Sometimes this stuff get's to me and sometime's I dont mention it but today is your guy's lucky day. Well I was adopted by a lady named Vicky Catron and I lived in her house for nine years. And I had my adopted brothers and sister their names are:Steven,Curtis,tony,Mary, Katie,Hedi. I love them and I talk to them they supported me all the way this makes me feel good. We all moved from Virginia down to Floridia and then we lived in Moon Lake and then a couple of months later she lost custody of us and that hurt's my feeling's but everthing happen's for a reason. Then I went back into foster care and went to a ladies house named Debbie Faison and she treated me good and then one day a kid named Ronald there said that I melested her daughter and I went to DJJ and then after three weeks went to court found out that i was'nt guilty and he Ronald told me that he was just playing. Now I have a clear record and the time that I was in Djj I acted like it was'nt abad place because I knew that i did'nt do nothing. And geuss who was there in jail my sister katie. She said she was in there because she ran away from her placement and did'nt want to go back and that she wanted to go home with the family and that we belong together. Me and her went to all the church serveices that they had in the Djj we were Christian. And the day that I got out all the officer said don't come back your to good of a kid and I said yes sir and after that I never went back to that place ever again. Now I can forfill my dream to become a NFL superstar but first go to college I want to go Ohio State University.Now I'm Going to my grandma's for thankgiving for the week and go back to my placement Rivendell Acadmey that's where I staying right now. So thank's for listening to my story. 11 When I was in DJJ that's sad.

Karina Colon
Raleigh, North Carolina

My family is from the island of Puerto Rico. My grandparents were the first to come to mainland United States in the 1960's looking for better job opportunities. They returned to Puerto Rico in the 1970's, only to return in the 1980's when my grandfather had a stroke. My grandmother wanted him to be cared for by the VA hospital in Hampton, VA. I came to the mainland in 1986 to live with my grandmother in Virginia because my mother was no longer able to care for me. I now live and work in North Carolina and cannot imagine living anywhere else in the world.

Janice States
Pittsburgh, PA

I am a second generation Italian American. My grandfather,Nono, came to America with his brother Anthony, leaving 12 other brother & sisters behind. They left because there was no future for them intheir rural farm town. They came to America through Canada. He often went back to Italy to visit but never brought any other family members to America. My grandmother, Nona, was only 3 when she arrived in America with her parents and 2 sisters.

Orange Cove, California

my mom left mexico because of her father she told me that if they stayed there they would have been killed by him also she left for i could be born in america so i can have a good life. So they ran away when crossing the border her father had notice they have been gone so he went looking for them.When i was 8 my grandpa, my mom's dad came over saying that he was sorry. I still dont trust him even after 6 years


i moved from cambodia to massachussets 6 years ago and it was hard to speak english at first i hated it then i got used to it cause i had someone translat it for me.

Portland, OR

I'm a mix of Korean, Italian, and Filipino. When I tell people this they always say - wow, that sounds so American. Its funny because its taken me a long time, about 30 years, to be comfortable with who I am. I had a difficult time growing up in a neighborhood where I was not accepted by the Korean kids because I was not full-blooded.

I wonder how difficult it must have been for my Italian/Filipino family to live here.

Despite the difficulty, I am a strong and happy person. I cannot imagine life having been any other way!

Nicole Murray
Alexandria, Virginia

My parents are from Jamaica, West Indies. My mother was sent here by my grandmother at the age of 16 to New York to stay with my mom's father. I believe my grandmother wanted my mother to have a better future. I also believe it was a very hard decision to make. Even though Mom completed high school in Jamaica she had to go back to high school in the states for 2 years. My father came here after working as a nurse in Jamaica. Then he went to school and got a degree in engineering. Then he decided to go to Medical School. As a single mother my mom worked as a nurse in the nights and went to college in the day time. Then my mom decided to go to Medical School. The migration of my family to U.S. was a great deal of hard work. You have many obsticles including racism and prejudices. I think the opportunities in the U.S. tend to outweigh the obstacles no matter how difficult. A major factor is it isn't only about personal enrichment to migrate here but family as well. To be able to provide your family with more opportunities in life. I believe we don't want the next generations to have it as difficult as our ancestors.

Sandra Reay
New York, NY

I moved to New York 4 years ago to marry my US born husband.
I had never been hungry in my life until I came to USA. Excessive government administrative fees depleted all my savings.
My husband and I both work, we can barely afford to eat.
In UK I owned my own house, had a good career and great lifestyle.
I can't afford to get sick. I work when I am sick.
I wish I had never set foot on US soil.


››My mother came here when she was 28. To go to medical school. She went to one of the best colleges in all of China. She thought it would be a better life here. She got her license and now practices medicine.
››››››My father came here for college. He went to Minnesota. He became a computer technician.
››››››As for me and my brother, we are the ABC's, the second generation of the overseas chinese.

I have been looking for my family history for years, my great grandmother was a full blood cherokee Indian,drove out by the so called whites in never land,land of poverty,they had to change names so they could live,no one would know they were indian. sons married white people from other countries,names change and here we are,no one wants to let you know if you are indian,the real American people.The white men married indian women to get checks,the real american people were slautered like animals,driven from their land for the sole purpose of pure greed .Some were put on sorry land to later discover that the land had oil on it and then drove them like cattle off that on to other sorry land . No wonder the indians were mad as hell, try that on America soil today,any country,what would the america people who came from somewhere else do ?Kill you.Part of my family came fron England and Ireland,married the indian women. My grandmother couldn't speak English as she was driven through the country as a animal. the reason no names are found they were afraid they would die,they cahnged their names.

I dont want a green card,i want a card of proof that i am of Indian blood the real americans.Funny how difficult that is.

Johanny Pimentel
I am 25 years old and I come from the Dominican Republic as well as almost my entire family, but I've lived in other countries more than in mine, I've lived in the United States for over 17 years already and before that I lived in Puerto Rico for almost 3 years, and for that reason I've come to know other countries more than I know mine, I love my country but I also feel that I'm part of the new americans because I've gotten very used to this country, and because of the many years me and my family has been living in the U.S, we have become blended, many of the kids in the family have been born in the U.S and that makes then now Dominican-Americans. I am greatful for this country, for giving me many oportunities that perhaps I wouldn't have found in my own, like being able to go to college and things like that. What I love the most about it is that I'm able to enjoy from both cultures, and I'm able to share my culture with others.

North Hollywood, CA
My family came from El Salvador fleeing the Civil War of the 1980's. I was fourteen when I left and although I am grateful that I live in the United States, I still miss El Salvador and all of its beauty, flavor, and its hard working people.

These are wonderfull and lovely stories.
›My family came from ›Colombia many years ago. I ›my self leave live in the ›United kingdon for a while and them decide ›to came to meet my family ›in the United Sates of America. We have long story ›to tell.

Angel Avalos
My dad came from a town in Mexico called ATOTONILCO also known as "ATOTO". My mom also came from Mexico. My mom crossed the border when she was 7 years old(illegally). My dad crossed it when he was 8 years old. I know my parents don't regret coming to the U.S. My parents are now in the U.S. legally.

Hayward, California
My dad crossed the border illegally with his brother and a guy in the water when he was about eight. My mom also crossed the border illegally when she was about nine or ten with her two older brothers, cousin, and oldest sister. Her mother came legally like three months before them and her three younger sisters came a year later when my grandmother got settled. My mom and her siblings hada hrad time trying to talk like americans because they spoke with a carribean dialect, but soon got used to it.The schoolwork and food different also. My dad came here to have a better life and my mom came here because of a very big war that was happening in Nicaragua.

Princess K.
East Palo Alto, Cali
My friends parents crossed the border illegally coming from Nicaragua. They are now legal imigrants raising a family in the Bay Area

Daniel Rodriguez
E. Menlo Park, CA
My dad came to the US in the 1980's and stayed with my uncle who had already settled here. He came here for a better life because the Mexican government did not give him benefits that are given here. My dad started from scratch. He built himself up and has been able to support his familly. I thimk the US should make the naturilization process easier so that at least immigrants can have legal residency and perhaps US citizenship.

Daniel Diaz
Newark, California
I was born here but my parents were born in Mexico. I have never visited what i consider my home, Mexico because of the racism that is going on today i mean if it wasn't for the immigrants who do the hardest of jobs and only get less than minimum wage, But if it wasent for them how would you get your vegetables and fruts on you tables and i have a dream of being able to visit my family in Mexico with my Mom and Dad.

Jason Espinoza
East Palo Alto CA
My dad came to da US wit my uncles and aunts. He was the second younges and he was only a child when he got here. He was 12 years old when he came to da US. My dad worked really hard as a child. He use to work wit his uncle to get some $$$$$. He came as a immagrant and know he is a great father, husband, and a great human being.

My dad was born here. My mom and her family were the ones who went through trouble to get here. They crossed over (i think) legally (not sure) and the border potrol only allowed i guess one boy and girl, so my grandparents had to dress my auntie as a boy,(they were only around 3yrs.) and they cut her hair. My mom said she remembers staying with her dad on a bus, then swithching and going with my grandma. I think my grandparents came here for a better life. They got help getting here with a friend. My grandparents got my mom and auntie here, whilr their friend took care of my other aunties and uncles. We are all here today, but still have some family in mexico.

Redwood City California
I was born here but my parents were born in Mexico. I was never able to go see my family in Mexico because my mom never had her citizenship. the reason my parents came here was because they wanted to have a better life. Also they came to start a family because if they had me in Mexico then my life would be miserable. Also i think that this new law is bad because in mexico you win like 20 dollars a week and immigrants come here to win more money so they can support there family.

My dad was born here. My mom and her family were the ones who went through trouble to get here. They crossed over (i think) legally (not sure) and the border potrol only allowed i guess one boy and girl, so my grandparents had to dress my auntie as a boy,(they were only around 3yrs.) and they cut her hair. My mom said she remembers staying with her dad on a bus, then swithching and going with my grandma. I think my grandparents came here for a better life. They got help getting here with a friend. My grandparents got my mom and auntie here, while their friend took care of my other aunties and uncles. We are all here today, but still have some family in mexico.

Jonathan Melgar
East Palo ALto, CA
Hi my name is Jonathan. I was born here in the US, but my parents weren't. They crossed the border as young adults and it took them about two weeks from El Salvador. They came to the US to escape a war that was going on in the late 1980's and they wanted to have an opportunity to have good lives here. I am glad theyy had me here because I get rights now that they didn't have. I now have a chance to have a better future and I hope they don't pass that stupid law.

East Menlo Park, CA
Hi, My nameis Gabby and my parents were born in El Salvador, in Central America. My mother and father came to this country illegally when they were about 21.People who come to this country illegally go through hot deserts and sometimes die or women get raped. It is a very difficult experience and it takes about a month to get here if not longer.People come here for a better life. For more work, and money.When my family came here my aunt worked in a sewing factory and got 40 cents for every dress she fixed, that is hard labor and is not allowed anymore. Although it is tough people are willing tosacrifice many things for a better life.

Hello Everyone
I am 19 years old, and I was born in Mexico. I was brought here when I was 1 year old. I have three brothers and two sisters, my three brothers were born in Mexico, and my two sisters were born here in the U.S., I am thankful to my parents because they brought my siblings and me to the U.S., this is a great Country. I dont recall this but my parents have told me stories about their experiences coming across from Mexico to the U.S., I guess they used to walk through the dessert for days, and the way I came here was using my (boy cousin) birth certificate. I am thankful to the many opportunities this Country has brought to my Family and Me. I am now a citizen and my whole family as well, all my brothers are or have completed College, and I am as well attending a University and will be majoring in Psychology. My mother has earned her GED. I go visit Mexico almost every year, and I will continue going back until God permits. I wish all undocumented people would get legalized.

valrico FL
My dads side of the family immgrated to america when it was first coming together. My great great grandfather had married an idian so my father was mix, and my father married my mother who is german and polish so i really mixed with different cultures.

white plains NY
First my dad came to America from MExico and soon he wanted his family to be with him, whcih lead to me and my mom comming to Ameria.They desided to settle here for the reasons every persons comes to this country "a better life than the one in their homeland even if it means giving up what u have been used to for so long and whatyou love." When i moved here i was about four years old. I have been raised in America as an American child ,even though i was born im Mexico City. I only rember a couple of things from my native land, however most of the memories are fuzzy and not clear to me.I have lost many of my customs and traditoins since we are not really able to celebrate them here as we would in Mexico. Yet i am quite curios to vistit mexico and learn about them. I have lived here ever since i can remember and have not been a ble to visit my Mexico Becasue our family applied for to Be reconized as American Citizens.So until that permisiion comes trough i will finnaly be able to go and visit Mexico and much of my family whom i only met as a baby and no longer remember or even know. i still anxiously await for that day to come so i am able to know where i come from ans be a ble to learn more about myself.

Amy Kasman
White Plains. New York
My great-grandfather Max came to America from Poland when he was a kid. His mother had gotten sick and died, and his father had remarried quickly in order to take care of his five children. Max didnŐt like his stepmother, so he stole a coat from his fatherŐs clothing store and followed his neighbors to Antwerp. Once he was there he boarded a ship to America- without a ticket. He got onto the ship by saying, "My father has my ticket" and pointing to a random person on the line. Once on the boat he hid and his neighbors smuggled him food. Once they landed at Castle Clinton he once again got by saying, ŌMy father has my ticket” and disappearing. He made a living by peddling buttons at athletic events in almost every college in the country. Then he got a job building railroads in California. While in California, a friend told him about an ad he saw in the Jewish Forward- a newspaper that almost all Jews in the country read. The ad asked about a man who sounded like Max- and it was signed by Barney, his brother and my great-great-uncle. Max sent him a telegram that said if Barney sent him $100 he could come to New York, where Barney was. His brother complied and they were reunited. Once there, he met his future wife, and my great-grandmother, whose father was working for his brother. Ida herself worked in the garment industry until the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. When they got married they had a son, my great-uncle Irving, and a daughter, my grandmother Beverly. Grandma Bev was the one who told me this story and many others of my family heritage, and she is the only one of all my aunts and uncles and grandparents and first and second and third cousins who knows every story of our history and still calls every relative at least once weekly. She is the one who holds everyone together, essentially. And while she forgets everything else she never forgets her family.

Amy Kasman
White Plains. New York
My grandfatherŐs father Oishe had come to Canada, where he met Yetta, who I am named after in my second Jewish name: Ahira Yetta. Anyway, she did not have a passport to come to America, and they didnŐt have the money to bring her to America permanently, so my great-grandpa got her a temporary permit. When she got to the border, the border policeman person didnŐt believe her, so she had to leave her coat with him to prove she was only visiting. Then she married Oishe and never came back to Canada- apparently it was worth losing the coat. They had a son named Martin, my great-uncle, and a son named David, my grandfather. He married Beverly, and the rest is history.

Maria Biffel
I was born in Panama and I was a High School English teacher when I met my husband Stan.After 3 years of long dating and hard separation,I came to America to marry my husband.
At first,I thought,It was too late for me, to start a new lifein America because I' m almost 40 and literally had left job history , pension accounts back home.However,my life while in Panama lacked the familiar sense and Love that now I share with my American husband.
In my case,I learned that personal happiness mattered to me more than material possessions.

Rachel A
White Plains, NY
My great-grandmother, Leah, came to America from Austria when she was a baby. Her family came through Ellis Island. When her family was going through the immigration station, they ran into a problem. Like many other immigrants, there was a language barrier. When they asked my great-grandma Leah's mother for her baby's age, she could not tell them in English, so they just assigned her a birthday. Her birthday became January 1st. She never knew her real age, or birthday, but just lived with the information they had given her.

Mark Robles
White Plains, New York
Well i was born and raised in the U.S.My dads parents when they were young came to the U.S. and i never really asked them about it and they never told me stories.My whole family is Puerto Rican and something else not queit sure.Anyway, i can imagine that life for my grabdparents was very tough on them and maybe things happened that they just dont wana talk about but i can never be sure.All of this has made me feel that i should make an attemp to talk with my grandparents and see how life was back then in their time and how they felt coming to the U.S.

Juliana M
White Plains, New York
My mom's grandmother immigrated from Italy. Her name was Annunziata Camaniti and she came from Calabria, Italy. She only spoke Italian but learned a little english. When she got to America she started a family with her husband. In America she worked as a seamstress.

Joanna Ga;eano
White Plains, NY
My mom and grandparents came to America when she was 6 years old. They came to live a better life. She lived in Brooklyn and didn't know that good english, along with my grandparents. She had a hard time in school since she didnt know that language that good and my grandparents couldn't read or talk that good english.

Rachel A
White Plains, NY
My great-grandfather was living in Russia with his family. He left Russia alone after he was being drafted into the military. My great-grandfather came to North America through Canada, and eventually lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where my grandfather and his family grew up. Unfortunately, because my great-grandfather's family was Jewish, those who stayed in Russia ended up being killed.

White Plains, NY
My father had come to America for the first time around 26 years ago. He had come alone from India leaving my two oldest sisters and my mother in India. He wanted to establish a life in the US before he brought his family.
When my father had come to the US for the very first time, he had traveled on a ship for a few months before he reached America. At first he did not live in White Plains, but then he moved.
Five years later, he had gone back to India and brought my mother and my two oldest sisters to the US. They had moved into a little home and they stayed there. That is the home where my sisters and I all grew up and I still live there today.

Carolina Melo
White Plains, NY
I was born in Italy, although neither of my parents are Italian. Both came from Colombia. When I was born, since I was in Italy I learned Italian but my parents speaked Spanish so I learned both at the same time. When I was 3 my parents decided it would be better to move back to Colombia since my whole family was there and they wanted me to grow up surrounded by my family. So I lived in Colombia for almost 7 years. When I was about to turn 10 we moved to the US. Now I've been here for 3 years, I speak English like any of my friends, and I'm completely adapted. I think the US is a great country and I feel as if this is part of my home too. Last December we went back to Colombia for a visit and so we've decided that we want to go to Colombia every December to share Christmas with the family!!!

White Plains, N.Y.
The stories are very interesting because i get to learn how people got treated in there old countires and why they came to America. I read one story of how a guy from Africa had very poor living conditions and he coulnd't even get a job because he was descriminated against because of his race.

White Plains, N.Y.
My great grandfather came from Italy and my great grandmother came from Norway. They didnt know any english when they came to America. Then they met eachother and managed to raise 2 children.

Angelica River
White Plains, NY
These stories are very interesting because you get to learn how poeple come to a new country speaking a different language, and how they adapt to a much different culture. My Grandma also came from another country not knowing any english. She managed to raise three children and she now knows some english. When she was little she would walk to school. Then during lunch time she would walk back to her house to feed her younger siblings. Then she would walk back to school.

Stephanie G.
White Plains, NY
I don't remember what my country was like, but I remember the ocean and gigantic palm trees. I immigrated from the Philippeans.I came to America when I was two. I did not know what America was like. I was not used to the cold climate, compared to the warmclimate in the Philippeans. But as I grew up in New York, I personally have realized that there is racisim. But besides from that America is a cool place to grow up and live in.

Mr. Popadapapolapalis
Astoria, NY
I reccently just read a truly touching story about a person who came to the United States when they were seven years old. This person had previously come from a half-Indian and half-Pakistani descent and her father practiced polygamy. This meant that he was allowed to have more than one wife. This person's mother happened to be the second wife in the man's life, and she went through more than she could imagine. She was forced to endure both physical and mental abuse from the first wife, and her inlaws. Seeking refuge from this person came to America and has appreciated everyday that she lives here. This story taught me that even in the worst conditions, there is always a way to escape.

Panos Kerwick
White Plains, NY
My father's side of the family is very European. My grandmother immigrated from Blackpool, England. My great-great-grandfather fought and died in WWI, for the British. My ancestor, Andrew Kerwick, immigrated from Ireland in the mid 1800's. One of my aunt's researched and says that she found that my father's side was also part Norse, in times long gone. My father married my Greek mother and here I am.

Panos Kerwick
White Plains, NY
I myself immigrated from Greece, when I was just 10 months old. My parents wanted me to learn both languages. I had to learn English and Greek at the same time, though I consider Greek to be my native tounge. My family and I have come a long way since that day. My family is successful and travels to Greece almost every year.

houston Texas
I m from algeria it is situated in africa, I came to U S when I was 13 years old we lived there for 2 and half years it was wonderful people are so nice besides the mexicans who were generaly mean and unolite it was great I learned a lot about the costumes the traditions and all those stuff I m muslim and I love americans they are so generous and kind I will never foget those two years in my life but I made a promess to my self that I will go back there and spend the rest of my life there just when Ill have enough money to do so Im so sad here I have dreams most of the nights that Im back to houston when I see the pictures and the videotypes I start to cry every time even after 7 years ...Iam now 22 years old but I will be back I promess...

Rebecca Sewitch
ARound my bat-matsfah time, my JEwish family and I traveled through Spain on a adventure to seek out the Jewish communities and old, dilapidated synagogue. Finally me and my family came across a beatiful synagogue. Onthe outside were ruins as the cries of the Jews echoed through the whole synagogue. The trip to Spain made it so meaningful because it made me proud being a Jew, and let me exspirence a old ruined synagogue.

White Plains, New York
My dad came to the united states when he was about 20 and has lived here since then. He is now in his forties and is married with 3 children. He came here to give his children better opportunites for education and work. By him moving away from all his family he changed my life for the better. I have much better opportunities here than in Ireland. I like to see my family because I rarly see them but im glad that he moved for me.

White Plains, NY
In July of 2005 my family and I traveled to Spain on an adventure for my batmitzvah with my twin brother Doug. There my family and I traveled across Spain searching for dilapidated Jewish synagouges and Jewish towns that were used during the Holocaust. At the end of my adventure my brother and I got batmitzvahed in the oldest Jewish synagogue in Spain. When I left Spain I fufilled my knowledge on Judaism and had the time of my life.

Mr. Popadapapolapalis
Astoria, New York
My great grandmother, who is currently 100 years old, emigrated to the United States through a port in Rhode Island. (She says) Coming to America was a large step for her, and America wasn't everything that she thought it would be. In her small village in Greece, she was told that in America, "the streets were paved with gold!" She soon found that this was not the case. While in America, my great grandmother faced many barriers including that of language. Through pure determination she taught herself English and was able to thrive in Washington D.C. Today she resides in a nursing home located in Danbury, Connecticut, the same old determined woman, but only 80 years older.

White Plains, NY
My family is half Peruvain, though I don't look like it. My grandpa came from a village high in the mountains. He is now the oldest man in the village (which you are highlly respected for) and he has opened a resturant. Then he wanted to work in Lima, so he went down to Lima and learned a new language ( apparently the spoke a different lanuage in Tuara- the village he came from). He met my grandma and had many kids. Then one of my aunts came to America, then my mom. She started out small and then now she is a real estate broker and part of the Humane Society, Spiecal Ed Board and partners up with me in the ASPCA (Ameican Society for Prevention of Creulty to Animals), our dog, Speedy is even a thearpy dog that goes to hospitals and retirement homes. She may have came from Peru, where she spent a big part of her liufe, but she is so rock'n this world.

White Plians, Ny
The story I am commenting about: I am Peruvian, I arrived to New York in 1990. Because I'm married my husband lived here. I am older of seven brothers, five girls and two boys. I live in queens with my husband Willy, my daughter Kathleen, my son William, and my sister Cecilia. I'm feel so happy and every day I said thanks God for this opportunities.
The story sounds a bit like the story of my family. My mom got married, divorced and is now dating. She seems happy. When I listen to the stories of her and her MANY brothers and sisters etc., I realize how easy things are in AMerica. I got frightened a few years ago when I read the headlines in a newspaper " PERU'S POOR JUST GOT POORER." I swear, that scared me so much I ended up not sleeping that night. I've been to Peru and it made me want to run , hide and cry myself to sleep. I DID cry myself to sleep. All the beggers and horrible conditions scared me. I'm not kidding. This was in the city. There was even a mom and her baby on a dusty road on a cold night, cuddling under NEWSPAPERS! It is hurting me to right this.....

Gigi Brady
Most of my family came from Europe in the early and mid 1900's. The Jewish part of my family was mainly brought to the United States during the Holocaust. One of my great grandparents was able to go to the United States at the end of World War 1 and was able to escape the horrors that would have been brought to her. I also have Catholic Irish blood in me. My Irish family was brought to the United States in the late 1800's. When I read the stories on this website, I felt so touched by these people's experiences. Personally, I have never had to move to a new place, but I'm sure that moving to a new place with a whole different lifestyle could be extremely difficult. These stories are very touching and I hope that all of us Americans can help welcome new citizens with open arms.

Mark Robles
White Plains, New York
I read some of these stories of some of the kids who have parents and friends that have immagrated to the U.S. I thought it was really touching and im really impressed on how these kids just like others are expressing the way they feel on wat is going on in life, and how they feel.

pleasantville NJ
well when i was 3 me and my family went to new york because my parents wanted a better life for me. but there was a problem me family had troubles there so we had to move because new york wasen't the write place for us. so wemoved to new jearsy. know thats what im talking about us moving to NJ. Over here is batter schools better jobs and a better life for my family. thats why i love my mom so much. i have 3 sisers and brother. one is erica and shes 7 trunig 8 and my brother richard he's 14 turning 15 and im 13 turning 14.

my grandmothers family came from Holand in tne 1800s.I'm not quite sure exactly when but it was some time in there.

I came to the U.S. when I was 8 years old. My parents decided to move here because they wanted a better life for the family. They wanted my brother and I to go to good schools and get good jobs. When I came here, one of the biggest problems I had to overcome was learning the English language. I did not know the language very well, so I had a hard time understanding what people were saying. I remember when my classmates would ask me questions, I would always say "yes" to everything because I did not know what they were talking about. Fortunately, I had wonderful teachers who helped me learn the language and the culture. I am now studying to become a teacher and I think one of the main reasons why I want to go into this field is because of the wonderful teachers I had in the past. My parents were also very helpful in teaching me the language and the American culture. They would always take my brother and I to educational places like museums, zoos, and historical sites. Now that I am 25 years old, I look back and realize that, I am very lucky to have the opportunity to move and live in this country. I am also grateful to have great parents and teachers who have helped and inspired me to everything I have done and be the person I am today.

Jewel Lene Franklin
Cleveland, ohio
I was born in 1933. My mother and father were marry in Pulaski county in the state of Arkansaw in 1929. My father( Booker T. Franklin was born there and my mother Shirley Dozier was born in the county of Scotts Arkansaw. But they lived on Alexander Plantion.My grandfather and my grandmother live close by.He was a minister.
My mother told us stories about how her father was killed(age 42) over land rights. He was hit in the back of head with a two by four by a white man. We have the article, but does not mention this as being the reason he was killed. In addition she told us stories about our relatives on my father side of the family in particular my cousin Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul) and my half brother.I belives lives with Aretha in Detriot I drean of us meeting each other. My mother said that she named me(JEWEL)after an aunt on my father's side of the family.
My children love to act and sang. one son plays the quitar three daughter all sang and one writes, dances and produces plays. I love music of all kinds, and interlectually endowed. I had earned an Assciate egree and a Master in the Art Teaching.
Brfore I earned my degrees,I won schorlorship from the University Hospital Cleveland Ohio to study Nursing.

Rochester, NY
I was very impressed with all the stories I read on this site. Very interesting.
Here is my story: I came to the United States at the age of 11, I am 26 years old now. My family was seeking a better future and a better economic status. I was inspired from the wonderful ESOL teachers I had in Middle to become a teacher. I recently graduated with a M.S in Education. I am now an ESOL teacher. This is a very special feeling, because I was once an ESOL student. I know the challenges of learning a new language and being new in a strange land. I will have students from all over the world. This is a wonderful feeling; for this reason especially, I'm glad I'm in this country!

Houston, TX
I came to the states when I was seven years old. I come from a half-Indian and half-Pakistani descent. My father practiced polygamy and therefore this caused family problems among the two wives. My mother was the second wife, and unlucky in every aspect. Her abuse by her in-laws, and my dad's first wife, caused her physical and mental pain. Looking for better education and seeking refuge from poverty we came to this great country and appreciate everyday in it. Thank You God!

I am not a totally but partial new american, I got my green card few months ago which is great I want to write these lines to remind myself the purpose of me being here.
First I have to say what make me think it's got to be something called destiny I am not supposed to be here but I was not the relative preferred to receive the visa specially because of my age I was 21 back then, by the way with not too much future in my country law student. but i got the visa when there is thowsands of people that get denied even better economic situation than mine they just gave me the visa I was leaving the embassy took a taxi happy for the facts when I got to my mother place to tell her the good new I realized I forgot my visa and my purse I wanted to be eaten by the earth, nest day i go and report the lost in the police station and guess what the taxi driver bring it back he could've sold it or throut it away but see second fact.
For legal purpose I had to go back to my country and after two months my relatives ask me to go back again to usa i went taking my granny and I was admitted they could say no cause it was to soon and this after 11/9 and they gave me no problem when there is even business people that get rejected right after I met my husband who is a great person we recently got a house and now I am 25 kind of old so I only have two more test left to get my GED done and start my carreer its still hard for many reasons but I still believe that everything happen for a reason and it looks like somebody wants me here I could dye between my twin and i survive I could dye in a bad car accident but i didnt so what all this means?share your opinion ifyuwant at

Louisville, KY

Ni Hao viewers! My family is from Beijing ,China. We immagranted to America in 2001. It was hard at that time because it was right after the 9/11 attack in NY. My father came here first for about 2 monthes or so. Then my mother and I immagranted here. My father actually told us to come to America because he says that it is really nice and calm here. Not like in Beijing, there are busy streets night and day. We have been here for 4 I guess we're not new Americas? Anyways thanx for viewing my story.

Ikram Ali
Portland, Maine

My life was threatened as my innocent was taken away from me before I could even speak. I was left with no memories but the image of my grandmother death on my mind. I cried at nights not for me but for the pain of that my family want through. Night I spent prying for hope in a land that was self-districting, my land. When I looked in to the eyes of my nightmares and my peopleŐs killer I saw my brothers. Fear was put in to the eyes as faith was drowned out. This is a poem I wrote for my mom and dad it called for I die
ŌFor I die with the sound of your cry
For I die with every pain you have want through
For I died for the fact that I couldnŐt help you
Your pain has brought one light and deemed another
For your tear has saved a life and killed another
War was claming you death
As violence, hate, destruction, was diminishing your hope
In god you believed as many lost hope
Hunger, power, rape, Aids, was put in to fear
Your faith and strong will has saved many generation of hope to this life
You life brought dust to gold
And fear to more hope
For I die for a principle and faith I believe in
I as a SomaliaŐs and Muslims still believe in hope when no one else believes in me.

Glendale, Arizona

I am so interested in the people who resided in Tubac, Arizona. My grandma, Lucita Espinoza was born there. My mom, Margarita O.Figueroa, was born there too. I would be very interested in anybody who lived there to e-mail me. My mom use to tell us many stories about when she was living there. The old school she attended and the river close by. She and her bothers and sisters use to go there and play. I recently went there and saw all the new houses and stores that are being built. I also saw the old school that my mom attended and now it's been remodeled. I sure wish I could have taken this trip with mom, she passed away at the age of 95 years old. 6 days after birthday she died. We gave her last birthday party with all the close relatives attending. It will be a year in October the 16th that she died. "I miss you mom". If anyone is familiar with the name please e-mail me at MissEleanor, I would appreciate it very much. My grandma's name was Lucita Osuna Espinoza married to Juan Espinoza. I also have a cousin living there name Patricio.


Hello everyone!
I scanned through all the stories and didn't find any from Ecuadoreans. So here it short story....

In 1978 my mother left Ecuador with her three eldest children in search of a better life for her poverty striken family. Upon her arrival to New York, my aunts assisted her in getting several jobs as a domestic worker. While working long hours and sending her eldest to school, she petitioned for the rest of us to come to the US.

However, when we were finally given visas to come, my father died from lung cancer. She had to start the whole process again, and thanks to a kind person working in the American embassy my mother was finally able to bring the rest of us to the US in 1981.

I am the last of her 8 children and am very proud to say that she, who dressed corn cobs as dolls and only got a 4th grade education, SHE raised all of us with her two hands as tears fell down her cheeks. Thanks to her determination and her love, each one of us has been able to achieve our highest goals.

Thank you pbs for giving me the opportunity to share this with all of you.

Leticia Velasquez
Brooklyn, NY

I came to this country 20 years ago. To be exact on November 28, 1985. I left Honduras with my head full of dreams while I was running away from my husband who was an abuser. For three times he had almost killed me. I was just 21 years old then. I was living my four children who where the center of my life.

When I left my country, I thought that my children were going to join me soon. My four children 3 boys and 1 girl were very young. They were between the age of 7 years and 6 months. I never thought that was so difficult to solve the immigration status and that here was very hard to survive. I was to young to even understand that I had to work hard to help my family and support my children. My idea was to learn the language and to study a career.

I tried to solve my immigration status by getting married to somebody just 6 months later after arriving to New Orleans. By my surprise, my lawyer informed me that if I wanted to solve my problem I had to go back to my country. Obviously I couln't go back, my husband would had killed me. I gave up and found phony papers trying to get a better job.

I manage to get a job in a hotel as a housekeeper, but somebody who hated me send immigration to arrest me and deported me to my country. I came back to month later because my life was in danger. I walked for 20 hours and crossed the border trough Mexico. As soon as got to New Orleans again I had a visit from immigration again. I scaped and that's how I ended up in New York. I worked with a family for 13 years until I got my green card. They didn't even payed me the minimun and I was working 72 hours a week. Finally, I got the green card and I thought that my kids were going to be with me soon. I have 2 of them but the other 2 I am still waiting for them. Know I am a law student because I would not like somebody else to go through for what I had been. I want to create a group for mothers, like a support group so, we can find the way to reunite families. I wish I can do that soon, but I don't know how to start.

M. Mares
Littleton Colorado

My story is a little different then most here. I am a native American. I can trace my family back 400 years to this country even though I am not American Indian. I come from the first Spaniards The Conquistadors, Most people do not know this but the people of Southern Colorado and New Mexico are pure Spaniards, we still speak the old language spoken centuries ago in Spain. When we first came here we were Spaniards, now we are called Mexicans. We are now finding our heritage, something we were not taught in school. I am proud of who I am a true American.

vicki hayes
Fairfax, Virginia

When I was two my parents brought me to the US from Australia. My dad wanted to study for a few years at a university in New York. They stayed for 20 years. When I was in college, homesickness took them back to Australia. I decided to stay here. It's been 30 years since then, and despite the similarities between the countries I feel very divided and often lonely in either country. I am Australian by birth but that country feels very foreign to me. I am American by choice, but I have no history or familial heritage here.

Anaheim, California

My family doesn't have much information about our ancestry. We seem to be European American and have at least one tie to Native Americans. Being identified as "white" always made me feel left out. I felt I had no true race or culture. Finding this site with such wonderful information has given me a wonderful perspective of who I am as an American.

I came upon this information while trying to find how different ethnic groups have helped mold our country and our American personality. As a first grade teacher, I wanted to share with children a richness of American culture that I never felt I had.

Many thanks to those who let us in on their lives and those who shared their stories. I finally feel some sense of American heritage!

Thank you so much also to those who worked to put this information and this site together. I hope you will keep it available for many years. I plan to use it extensively with my students and recommend it to others.

Jenny Bertagna
Chico, California

we came from a land in the shape of a boot. My parents met in a frek accident in the ocean. My Italian father was fishing, when their boat was shot at. The boat proceeded to sink, and they were thrown into the water. My mother was a submarine pilot. They were surfacing near the wrekage, and saw the bodies. My father was the inly survivor out of 30 men on board. My mother tended him, and fixed him all up nice and good. They got together, and then moved to New York. They lived there for 11 years, and then moved to California. They lived in Grass Valley for years, and then i was born in Chico. We have lived here for ever. Thats my life stoory, thanks for listening.

San Diego

My Mom and Dad were born in Mexico and crosed the border at an early age. The reason they came to the U.S. was to live a better life and have a better job. I think that living in the U.S. is great because there is alot of freedom.

Nana Lucie Ly

My whole family is oringally from Laos or Thailand. During the Vietnam War they were forced out. By doing so, my Grandfaher took my Dad and his brothers and sisters to France. So, my three older sisters, my younger brother and myself were born in France. My father then took his family to U.S., for the lack of jobs, education and freedom to a lot more choices than in France. So, bacisally childrens from ten years or older are or were immigrants to the United States. Thanks to my Dad's decision we now have better education and more freedom to do somehing I couldn't do in France, if I was still there! It has been some very long years, but now it's getting better! Of course, it was totally worth it!


my family is from LAOS and i was born here and the reason why my family came here was because well this is what my mom told me they came here for freedom and at that time there was a war there and tehy all needed a safe place to come to and wanted to start a better place and thats why my family came here to the US...but my family now is all CITIZENS of the US...thats my storie and i jux wanted to let you all know.

Pretoria - South Africa

Hi there!! My name is Barine and I was amazed to see someone else with my name. I would like to know how you came to this name? My name, Barine, originated from our family names which is Barbara Josephine. It's the first three letters of Barbara and the last of Josephine. I was really shocked to see someone else with my name!!

Window Rock, AZ

My maternal ancestors have lived within the 4 sacred mountains of the Dine', or Navajo for what we term "time immemorial". We have a creation story of emerging from 4 other worlds, but whether it is symbolic rather than geographic I do not know. My paternal grandfather was Jewish, born in South Africa and raised in Buenos Aires, before immigrating to Ohio to meet extended family and go to school. He met my paternal grandmother, of English heritage in the Pacific Northwest. She was of English heritage many generations before, and descended from the early Mormon pioneers who settled in the Salt Lake Valley and formed temporary colonies in northern Mexico. My heritage makes for an interesting response to friends I have made throughout my travels and study in South America who inquire, "Surely you have latin roots?" Of course I admit to my grandfather being from Buenos Aires, but the features they see as latin certainly are not attributable to my curly, red-headed Jewish grandfather.

Jessica Quezada

Hey my name as u have read is Jessica my dad's part of the family came from Guatemala,Central America and my mom's side of the family came frome Belize. Fourtunally we're not illegal. I was born in Chicago,IL and my dad had been a resident for over 25 years, he recently became a U.S citizen. It's been hard because life in the US isn't as easy as many people think. I think that many immigrants do great jobs for these Americans. We do the hardest jobs that no educated American would do, what would America be without us immigrants? We really should think about that.

Asaia Palacios
San Antonio, TX

My family and I came to the United States in August of 1989 from Mexico City for a "visit". We left everyone and everything behind: our extended family, school, and our way of life. At the time, I was 5 years old. It was scary learning a new language, but I learned English within a year and a half thanks to my bilingual teacher Mrs. Coronado and the ESL instructor.

Once our visitor visa expired, my dad luckily acquired a job working as a foreign government official representing the Mexican Government at the Instituto Cultural Mexicano in San Antonio, Texas. Now, we are considered "temporary residents". I am actually in the process of applying for permanent residency, which I hope won't take long considering how I worry about my future (I am not permitted to work as I am an immediate family member of an A-2 diplomatic visa holder).

One day I asked my father what his reasons were for bringing us to the U.S. His response was more or less something like this: "I wanted a better life for my children than the one I knew would be exposed to them". It is with this selfless loving response that I strive to better myself. Currently, I am a 1st generation college student at UT working for my B.A. in Government.

I want to extend my thanks to everyone who helped me and my family when we came to the U.S. To those recently arrived immigrants I say this: Never conform or give up to what you strive to do because opportunities do exist.

God Bless

Nina Tyshchuk

My family is from Russia.We came to America as refugee.My whole family is Christian.That is why my dad got killed.My mom was a school teacher,but she couldŪtwork that time,because she was Christian.That is why we moved to America.

People,that I saw on video have different manners.Also they have different culture,clothes and food. Also different level of life.I think the similar is that we couldn't be happy in our countries.One more thing is that right now there is a lot of things,that I have to change in my life.

Rosa Gomez
San Antonio, Tex.

When I arrived at San Antonio, was very difficult but I thought "This is a country of oportunities" and started to work. I needed to work to help my parents with my little brothers. I didn't have the oportunity to study English, but at this time I am studying in the college the same that my children. We enjoy because my children say that they are competing with their mom.

San Antonio Tx

I came to United States in 1980.I came for a better life and for more opportunites,we went to Califoria,we work picking up fruit,then we came back to San Antonio.I got married in 1974.I staring working in Miller Curtain Co.I work there for 9 years, and than start working in Levi's Strauss Co.for 23 years.The plant closed in January,of 2004 in april I start E.S.L.

The Tapia's family
San Antonio, Tx.

We came to Unites States in 1979.We came from Nuevo Laredo Mex.we move to Austin Tx. we lived there for four years,in 1984 we moved to San Antonia Tx.

we think this is a great place for work and live.This is a Nacion of Imigrants,if you are a good worker you can have great oportunities.

San Antonio, Tex.

I from Mexico, City, my mother is from Acambaro, Gto. Mex. and my father is from Mexico,City. I have six brother and three sisters, I'm the last one. I studied high school in Mexico, City, but only finish the eleven grade and I could'nt graduate, then I started to work in l980.

In l983, I decided to get the Passaport and Visa to U.S.A. in Agust 20, l983. I arrived to San Antonio, Tex., decided to live and work, my job was Levis Strauss Co. and l985 I got married and now I have three daughters the older is seventeen years, the second one is thirteen years and the last one is seven years, my husband works in San Antonio airport and I don't work, I'm studying E.S.L.. I'm happy because I have a wonderful family.

Sometimes I wish to come back to Mexico City, because I remember a lots beautifuls memories, but I hope to live in Mexico City in the future, if God help me.

noemi de leon
san antonio tx

In 1981 my family and I came to the USA. I am from Mexico .I grow up half of my life in Mexico and the rest of my life in the USA.Icame from Mexico when I was 11 years old.My family came to the USA to have a better life.My mother put me in the school. I went to school for 5 years.It was hard to be in school ,because noboby didn't speak spanish So in 1990 I drop-out the high school and I start to working at Levis.In 1994 I got married with a wonderful man.We have 3 children.In 2003 the plant closed and I start to studying Engish for have better life because it's important to speak English in this cdoutry.



Elsa M. Lopez
San Antonio TX

In 1982, I came to the U.S.A. whih a lot or dreams. I was 11 years old and I never thought that going to other country will be difficult.I went to the school for two years, but I could not resist living with out of my family so I deside return to my country.Years later I came back, this time I was better than first.I started working and everything was different.The time passed on, I got married and I have a girl.My husband end I have been working hard to obtein our goals. To day I live happy, because this country gave me the oportunity to work and have a better life than my country.I know that life out of your country is complicate,but we need to continuin and never stop.

San Antonio,Tx.

I'm 30 years old. I came to the United States of America when I was 19 years old, because I married and my husband lives in this country. The first six months living here were very difficul for me, because I separated from my family and I didn't understand this America language, but now I can understand english and I can visited my family when I can.Also I'm happy because I live in here and take advantage about the beneficies than United States give to me.

San Antonio ,TX.

My kids and I came to U.S for better life.First I try to look for a job but It was hard for me. The hardest things were the lenguage and the legal situation I had. When the time passes everything went to your own way of course for better way. My oldest son is in San Diego,CA. he is study ovethere, my older daughter she is in 12 grade in high scool she has a very good grades Ihope she is going to get a schoolar ship my youngest daughter she is in second grade she is as just as good as her sister .What I always thought "EVERYTHING IN THIS LIFE HAS A REWARD AND I HAVE A GOOD REWARD." This place is the nation of Immigrate THANK YOU GOD AND GOD BLESS AMERICA.

San Antonio Texas

I am from Mexico I born in Guerrero, Mexico.I am the oldest of my sisters when I was 17 years I came to the United States of America I when to school for one year to learn English but I didn't learn. I get married in 1975 now I have 3 children my older daugther is 27, my second children is 25 and youngest son is 22 they are very close children they love each other I am happy for them I love my family.

San Antonio Tx

I was the first in my family who came to The United States. It was on December 1985. I came to this country only to help my family. A that time I didn't have the intention to live here, but when I saw the opportunities this country has, I changed my mind, and I decided to stay here. Since that time I've been working and fighting to achieve my goals. Living in The United States has been a success for me, and also for my family. My husband and I have worked harder than others because we're inmigrants, but it hasn't been an obstacle in our life. We think in this country, if you want a job you can find it. Now, we're homeowners, we have a family, and the tools to build our daughters' future. This country offers to everybody different ways to be successful. Coming to The United States is one of the most importat decisions I've taken in my life.

Jason Burke
Fayetteville, NC

My maternal grandparents along with my Mother and Uncle came to the U.S. from Hungary in 1956 with literally only the clothes on their back. They settled in Syracuse, NY and were featured in the Herald Journal newspaper upon arriving. My grandparents worked very hard during the day and learned English at night. Hard work and determination sent both my Mother and Uncle to college. I'll never forget my Grandfather's value of education. My Grandparent's sacrafices' and hope of the American Dream have given my family amazing opportunities that could not have been realized anywhere else. 8/17/04

My family is generations old. In a way I'm like a WASP, in a way, I'm like any first- generation America. I am descended from Irish, English, and Scottish, from my mom. See the WASP. I am also descended from Sephardic, and North African Jews, who came to Cuba, and other Spanish ports in the 16th century, from my father. Having an assimilated background, I am now proud of my heritage. With so much diversity, I can be proud of my Jewish heritage. I love the language, the food, the music, and the sense of community I have with other people.

San Diego, CA

My mother immigrated to the U.S. with her parents and younger brother when she was three years old, just following the end of WWII. They came from the Netherlands, and my grandma thought she might never see her family again. They went to Michegan, where my grandpa's brother and father were already living. It was very hard and my grandma wrote many letters to her closest sister in Holland, telling her how difficult it was for her and for them. But they had wanted a better life for their children and also so that my grandpa would have better opportunities, not having to leave the family for months at a time, as he had in Holland because he had been a sailor.

We're all very grateful for what my grandparents went through for us.

Oscar Arredondo
Fayetteville, North Carolina

The new American. Uhm! I was born in South America and I always knew that I was an American. I mean American from the Americas, not Latin American or Hispanic, but a citizen from the American continent, an (Occidental) Westerner. Now, I live in the U.S. and I feel so much pride for being American, the meaning is different when I identify myself with the US culture; flag, history, traditions and goals. America the beautiful, gave me the opportunity to excel;from the jungles of the Amazon where there was nothing to an education BS, ocupation Military, family happy and secure; three boys and one girl, beatiful spouse. the American dream: Home, life satisfaction and dreams. All these, thanks to America. American first then Bolivian or any other nationality. America: Pluralist, patriotic, diversed, democratic,religious, free enterprise and moralistic. that is the America that I want, that I love and I will defend. Thank you

Emilio Lopez
Silver Spring, MD

I came to the United States in 1988 from Mexico City, never planning to live here permanently. My primary goal was to go to concerts I could not see in Mexico! I grew to love the Washington, DC suburbs and married an american girl of Italian descent. This country has given me the opportunity to study, begin a career, become a home owner and a new father.

Houston, TX

My father came to Houston from India to attend graduate school in 1969. He was the son of a large rice farming family. He was the first to go to college instead of working on the farm.

My mother gave birth to my older brother in India while my father was away. After 3 years of communicating through letters, my mother, tired of waiting, joined him in Houston.

This was the first time my father was united with my brother, his first born.

Taipei, Taiwan

This is a nice website.

I came here one years ago, and I think this is a beautiful place I love it. The "Nation of immigrate" is a really perfect name. At last, May God bless you all..

Livingston NJ

My Nana came from Russia and she came because she was Jewish. They had given her religious persecution. She said that she liked it much better in USA than in Russia. They were fair treating.


My Grandpa Willy came from Russia. Because he was Jewish, they were beat up in Russia. So he came to the U.S. to get religious freedom.


My family came here for womans power. back in iran we were not alowed to go to school.

Szti Arriaza
Orlando, FL

I am a first generation American. My father smuggled himself out of Guatemala, when he was seventeen. He kept himself hidden in a boat exporting bananas until it reached Tampa Bay. from their he went to Indianapolis, where he worked with agriculture for about five cents an hour. He was found sick one day and other workers risked taking him to the hospital. At nineteen he had cancer. His story was on the news and many people answered. He ended up having many people visit and sponser him while he was undergoing cancer treatment. He had his right leg amputated and many people welcomed him into their homes. That was in 1979. He learned english, married my mother and had a family. Ten long years later, he finally became a US citizen. Ever since he came to the United States. He has been supporting all of his family. Because of him, his family is still alive. Now six of my Uncles are here legally in the US. Now... if only immigration was quicker.

Anakina Bala
West Hollywood, CA

My family is from the Philipine Islands. We came into the US and settled in the Hawaiian Islands when I was seven. Having a father who was born in the Hawaiian Islands, made him an automatic American citizen, so coming here was no problem. Similar to everyone's story, he was the first to come here and petitioned us later. When we've settled in our home in Kohala, Big Island, my siblings and I were all disappointed. We wondered where the tall buildings were, the busy streets and bright lights. Instead, we were surrounded by endless green pastures, our nearest neighbors were cows and horses. Furhtermore, we were shocked that we weren't exactly "rolling in it", although we did own our own house and car. Our father, who we thought was an important man, worked in the housekeeping department of a high end resort, changing bedsheets. While our mother, a school teacher in P.I. couldn't handle the fact that her life was now a complete mess. She couldn't get a job as a teacher because she was a foreign graduate and she was reduced to bagging groceries.

In time we were annoyed at our parents for not trying any harder. Compared to the mentality of the Nigerean parents from this program, they've put our own parents to shame. I believe Israel said it best in this documentary that he wanted to better himself, in order to provide better for his family, so he didn't exactly settle on the fact that he was going to be a security guard at Marshall Fields for the rest of his life and his wife took the nursing assistant test three times in order to pass it.

I envied them tremendously. Couldn't my parents have done the same? They just settled as servants, they never exactly became more ambitious or even worked their way up to management level. This made my siblings and I work three times harder to get a college education. Fortunately, we were smart and got a few scholarships, but even though at times, that wasn't enough, so some of us took out student loans that is enough to make a downpayment for a house.

They never paid for anything and when we'd ask or beg, they would sigh heavily or shake their heads, like it wasn't important for us to buy books or food. Pretty soon we stopped asking all together.

I can honestly admit that I am ashamed of my parents for giving up too easily, for their lack of ambition and for not putting us at their priority list. I admire and applaud other imigrants who come to the US, who speak bad English and still work three jobs, even if it's demeaning, just to help out with their children's education. As one of them, I never had such luxuries.

I hope someday I will come to understand why my parents are the way they are. I look forward to the day when I'll stop blaming them every single time I write checks to my student loans. After all, my siblings and I did educate ourselves on our own merits, we were never a burden to America's society, we never commited any crimes, taken welfare and made our own people look bad. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose that should count for something.


I came here from South Asia as a graduate student on a student visa. I had no intention of staying on in the US but in my final year, I married a Canadian who was working here. It was NOT an easy choice for me to stay here -- I did not like US foreign policy (even then!) and did not want to be a part of this society. But it was easier for me to stay here than for my husband to come to my country. He had a job here but I didn't have a job waiting for me there and that kind of settled it. I had an extremely difficult time finding work in the small midwestern town that we lived in despite my graduate degree. I couldn't even get my foot in the door for an interview for a $5/hr job. I did volunteer work at local community centers which I found immensely rewarding bui it was hardly what I wanted to spend my life doing. After several years of banging my head against a brick wall and wondering why I was here unemployed in this foreign country, and after experiencing one horrible racial incident, we decided to move to the nearest large city. At least here no one stared at me on the street or in the mall because I'm a "visible minority" as they had in the place we lived before. I was fortunate after a couple of years to find a job. Not just any job, but a real dream job that engages all of my education and all of my talents, with colleagues that actually embrace my foreignness without exotifying me. It's a workplace that rewards hard work and is certainly more inclusive than I had ever dreamed of. In the small town we lived in before, I had been so tired of constantly being treated as a cultural ambassador of my country by people. I just wanted to be a productive member of society (like anyone in their 20's / 30's) and to pursue my professional goals. Well, I got the opportunity and am grateful. I insisted for years that I would not become a US citizen but lately I've been thinking that there is after all a place for me here. Furthermore, I think it is irresponsible for me to live here and not try and get the chance to vote, when the rest of the world is affected by US foreign policy and obviously cannot have a say in the matter. So I'm in the process of applying for citizenship. I think that it is high time that the definition of being an American be stretched to include the likes of me. I'm educated, I'm not looking to get away from anything in my home country (my family is upper middle class and are reasonably well off), I'm not into earning big bucks or pursuing the American dream, but into having a quality life where I can maintain my sense of integrity. That's what I bring to the table. The New American!


I stayed up till midnight yesterday watching the show. All the family stories were so touching. I could relate too.

I came from Poland in 1994. I was born and raised there in a typical Polish middle class family. I never intended on living in any other place. My mother, however, always hoped that her two daughters would have a better life in the US, the land of opportunities and wealth. My older sister came to the U.S. first. First, she was an exchange student in high school, then she got a full scholarship to a private university. I followed in her footsteps, finished my senior year of high school in the U.S. and went to the same university as my sister. We were so lucky to have received scholarships since without them we wouldn't have been able to stay here. It's been almost 5 years since I graduated and got my first job. My sister also got her graduate degree from one of the best universities in the U.S. and is now working in New York. We realize that we were so lucky to have gotten a great education here and now good jobs. Unlike many immigrants (I'm still on H1B and my sister has green card) we didn't have to clean other people's houses or wash dishes in restaurants although I admire people who do that. At the same time it was hard for us too. I look at my American friends and they have this sense of security, they can rely on their families for support in good times and bad times. My sister and I have worked hard for everything we have now. If it wasn't for our hard work and determination, we wouldn't be here. We can't rely on our parents' financial support, we don't have a family house here either. Our entire family is back home in Poland. My mom visited us several times. I think she was a little disappointed with the American reality when she came over. She was very lonely here.

She died a few years ago. My dad was with her, but we were here. My dad still lives in Poland. We miss him terribly and worry about him all the time. I hope that my kids will never have to experience my sense of loneliness, uncertainty and terrible homesickness like I have.

Dr. Ralph G. Perrino
Falls Church, Virginia

I am a living, walking example of the slow, methodical, persistent and determined rise to success of millions of southern and central Europeans who arrived here at the turn of the 20th century - most through Ellis Island. Fleeing hunger, oppression, war, and sometimes just seeking opportunity in the "land where the streets are paved with gold", these intrepid, resilient people made their way to America mostly with the clothes on their backs and a small amount of personal possessions. They quickly settled into the ethnic enclaves of the major eastern and mid-western cities, building the railroads, working the mines, and becoming small business owners. My grandfather, Pietro Rossi of Caserta, Italy, opened a small shoe repair shop in the Bronx, N.Y. He married a fellow Italian, Tulia Pelli. He raised five children and lived the American dream. Although he often spoke of "Italia bella", he never returned to his native land. He was an American now. His daughter, Elvira, my mother, graduated 7th grade. She left school to work during the Great Depression to help the family. Pietro's future son-in-law, Rosario Robert Perrino, my father, graduated from high school (uncommon in those days for the lower classes) and studied math and engineering on his own - a "self-made man", in the vernacular of the time. He joined the Navy during World War II, served as a Navy Seabee in the South Pacific, and took those skills with him into the workforce in 1945. I am the product of that lineage, having earned a college degree, two masters degrees, and a doctorate. Can "The New Americans" make it? Of course they can. With the right mix of values, determination, hard work, and some luck, the opportunities in America are boundless. Yes, there will be discrimination, both overt and covert. The Italians an others had to endure that also. But those who make it are the ones who look past the slights along the way to the bigger goal at the end. Multiculturalism is nothing new in America - it has always existed. How you manage your life in the context of this new set of players will determine whether you realize your dreams. Your grandchildren, like me, will benefit from your sacrifice. It is a recipe that has worked for more than two centuries in America.

Charlottesville, VA

These stories are amazing! Even though I did not have the opportunity to see the show, my wonderful Communications professor informed me about the program. I am so glad that PBS has put together such a wonderful show. I hope that it helps distill some of the negative perceptions of immigrants and shows how hard working the new Americans are. I was born in Bosnia, and my family fled the country after a gruesome civil war erupted. After much moving around in the pursuit of a new life (Croatia for a year and Norway for 4 years), we settled in the United States. We have now lived in Alexandria, VA (and the United States) for 7 years.

Even though the USA is perceived to be the country of dreams, my family went through many struggles before achieving what we have now. My father, a previous business owner, worked a minimum wage job in a local restaurant. My mother did not have it any better. With a masters degree in Economics, she received her poor salary from a local retailer. My sister and I (being 8 and 14 at the time) received very little attention from my parents who had to make ends meet. It wasn't easy growing up. But I believe that if you have the right mindset and believe in yourself, no matter how hard things get, one thing still remains true; this country offers an immense amount of opportunities.

Today, and 7 years later, my parents own 4 real estate properties, and are working much better jobs. My sister is a successful rower in high school, while I am attending one of the best undergraduate business schools in the country. Our struggles really paid of and even though things were extremely difficult at times, I am thankful for growing up as an immigrant in the United States. It has certainly made me a stronger person and I realize how fortunate I am. Even though not everyone can understand our experiences as immigrants, I hope that people watch this show or visit the website and read some of the personal stories.

Immigrants do not have it made and have to work extremely hard in order to have a job and a comfortable life. I hope that more people visit the website and post their stories.

Thank you again PBS.

San Diego, CA

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1975. Three and a half years later, my brother was born. At that time, our parents worked as combat photographers for a local newspaper (My mother being the only woman combat photographer in Lebanon).

I remember my childhood. I remember having to sneak across the borders of East and West Beirut just to be able to see my grandparents. I remember spending most of my days and nights in an underground shelter, waiting for the bombing and the shooting to stop. I remember my brother's innocence in not knowing what was going on and telling me to stop crying.

Beirut was a different world than the one I know now. I knew nothing but chaos, felt nothing but fear and always wondered how long my life would last.

In December 1985, and while my brother and I attended the same school, I sat in my math class like I did every other day. This was no ordinary day. The first few moments of that class would change my life completely. In an instant, our school was being bombed. The entire school (which included grades kindergarten to twelfth grade) was in a state of chaos. As we were being herded into the school's bomb shelter, my only thoughts were of my brother's safety. I cried out loud for him. I cried inside, not knowing whether or not he was alive. Luckily, he was.

I held him until the disorder ended and until our parents arrived. To my parents, that was the last straw. They decided to bring us to the United States, where my father's brother already lived. If for no other reason, they wanted us to have a chance at life, a chance to live.

The United States. Talk about culture shock! I never knew there were places where you could walk the streets with your family and not worry about being shot or struck by a bomb. It took me a long time to accept that.

At ten, I was fascinated by the freedom I had been granted, terrified by what lied ahead, and sad to have left the rest of my family behind.

This program helped me relive all of those memories in a positive way and I thank you for your hard work and efforts with this project.

Jeanette Footman
Indianapolis, IN

Your series made me cry like I haven't cried in a long time and it made me asked myself what can I do to help people like this.

I immigrated in 1995 from Germany to the United States;not because I thought America was the greatest place on Earth, it was out of love for my husband. I still have a lot of issues with this country and racism is definitly a big one. I am a black German and have Germany and the United States to compare when it comes to racism, exploitation and giving people knowledge or keeping them uninformed.

Your series though put my life here again in perspective.

I never experienced any of the hardships of the people and families in your series but I still could relate to all their stories.

My father fled his country, Cameroon-West Africa in 1959 and with help was able to start a new life in former East Berlin,Germany, where he met my German mother and where I was born. After finishing his education there, he was told by the East German government to leave the country and also leave his two daughters and wife behind.

So for four years we were living without him until we were finally able to move to West Berlin. There we lived for a while in a refugee camp, of course no comparison to the refugee camps in your story.

My biggest wish for this series would be to be brought to the schools of this nation, to the CBS's, NBC's and ABC's networks to bring it to all of America to learn from this.

Thank you for this outstanding education!!!!!!


I was born an American citizen in Panama. As a dual national, I lived the first half of my life constantly adapting to two cultures. I came to New York as a young married woman, with a foreign born husband. We had to leave my daughter behind, because we had no way to support ourselves, much less a baby less than a year old. We had to go through the whole process of permits, residencies for my husband. Without a college education, I worked in factories and sweat shops to support the two of us. Eventually I joined the Air Force and was able to be reunited with my daughter when she was two. There is a separateness that marks you when you speak two languages. I was born American, but it took a long time for me to feel American. This country's greatness lies in its diversity.

Brooklyn, NY

My family came to America from Cuba in 1993. My father decided to leave because he found the economic situation to be unbearable. He wanted a better future for his children. He also feared repression from the government since we couldn't keep to ourselves our disagreement with Fidel's dictadorship. We left in the middle of a storm in my father's small 14 feet fishing boat. We were 9 people in total. After 8 hours of travel in awful weather we were rescued by a ship named "el Coronado"(the crowned one) that took us to Jacksonville. We would not have made it if we would not have been rescued. The storm got progessively worse. There was 30 feet waves. I want to thank our rescuers where ever thay are for saving us. Perhaps one day in the near future we can meet again.

Tamsen Aichinger
Omaha, NE

Extraordinary, expanding, beautifully done. I hope many hearts are opened as much as mine has been and that many hands and hearts will begin to reach out to our country's wonderful newcomers. As for my ancestors -- the first came in 1625 from England; most came in the 1860's from Norway. On my wall is the translation of a letter from my great great grandfather to his sons as they left for America. He tells them that his heart is breaking for they shall not see each other on this earth again -- yet he shall look to the day when they shall meet again at the right hand of the Lord. Much doesn't change.

Margaret S. Maringa
Elkridge, Maryland

My sister and I left our homeland because of political persecution just like Barine, Israel and Ngozi.

There was time to say formal goodbyes to our family. It was another ten years before we raised enough money to fly our parents to the US for a mini-family reunion.

Tears of joy flowed freely on that day. And the highlight was our father's prayer as he blessed and thanked the US government and citizens "for keeping his daughters safe from harm. "

Thank you America for opening your doors and hearts to us.

Near New York

My Family Came to America in several stages. I know that part of my family is Native American and was living here when my Dutch Ancestors arrived as colonists in the 1600's, most likely for the trade opportunities. A large portion of my ancestors came over in the early 1800's from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania, and the in the 1860's and 70's ancestors of mine from Scandanavia and Eastern Europe came over for better job opportunities as well.

Fairbanks, AK

I find it interesting that you think all of Americans come from some place else. Those that came here to take this country committed many atrocities against those that were already here, the indian tribes of what is now the United States. Please follow their history since the white man came. Disease, starvation and murder, sound nice, everyone now wants to forget about it but it was worse than Hitler.

Houston, Texas

Our family came here in 1989 because i have a sister who is handicap (cerebral paralysis). A neighbor of ours in Mexico told us that they had great hospitals in houston and that my sister should get treated there. My parents bought a palne ticket and decided to check it out for themselves. They left me behind with my grandparents. When they arrived they took mysister to Shriners hospital and they saw that she could get helped there and that she would have a better life in the US. The rest is history, I joined them a month later when my grandpa dropped me off at the Matamoros border and since then we've been here. Im very tahnkful to this country and its agencies that have helped my sister like Shriners hospital, and the MHMRA and others. I enjoy living here and being a part of this great nation. We are residents now and living in Webster TX.

Ivy Bischof

My father left our family behind in Lima, Peru to find work in the United States. It was the early 70's and although he already had a brother and a sister here that could have helped him enter the country legally, he was one of the many to enter and overstay his visa. After a few years of working and sending very little money for my Mother, myself and my brother to live on, she made the difficult decision to leave Peru and take us to the U.S. to join my father. Upon our arrival, my Dad decided that my mother would stay home and raise us while he worked to support us. He worked two jobs, often three to put food on the table. Although we didn't say it enough, we were grateful to him for the sacrifices he made as well as my mother for having had the courage to leave her country to come to a strange new one that didn't even speak her language. What's more, my father never wanted us to live among other latinos because he wanted us to learn the American culture among Americans--to act, to speak and think like them. But we kept our language and culture at home so that even when we became U.S. citizens in 1986, we would never forget who we were and where we had come from. I have been back to visit Peru several times and it will always be the country of my birth, but the U.S. is my home and my country and thanks to my parents, I can speak two languages and have better opportunities.

Eduardo J. Najarro, Jr.
San Francisco CA

My father left Nicaragua in the mid 80's during the civil war. He knew he wanted a better life for him and his family. As an undocumented immigrant he crossed the border and settled in Canoga Park, CA. He worked as a carpenter with my uncle who had arrived in the United States several years before him. After getting a job and an apartment and bought a "coyote" for my mother. My mother started working as a house cleaner, and learned how to drive, a necessity in southern California. She soon became very sad and cried to my father that she was missing her children. Thus, they collected enough money to pay for a coyote and have my sister cross the border. This made my mother happy but was still missing the rest of the family. Once more they got some money together and bought another "coyote" for my brother, grandma, cousin, and me. We made the long dangerous trip and were able to cross. Finally all seven of us were living in a two room apartment in Canoga Park, not the best of neighborhoods.

For the next several years, my siblings and I went to school trying to learn the American culture and way of life. My cousin worked with my mother and my grandmother stayed home taking care of the apartment. After several years my father decided he wanted something better and decided to find a house. We ended buying a house in Simi Valley. Simi Valley was a small suburban town on the outskirts of Los Angeles County. We would spend the next 13 years struggling to make ends meet. My father had several accidents at work and the physical labor of work was draining my mother.

The only motivation that my parents had was my siblings and I. We were all doing well in school. During the 13 years in Simi Valley we went through acculturation. We always kept our traditional Nicaraguan customs and culture in our private home preserved, but accustomed to the American way of life. Finally my sister graduated from high school as the valedictorian and went to Brown University. I graduated this past year and am currently attending the University of San Francisco and my younger brother has just been accepted to New York University.

We will never forget the manifold of challenges we had to endure and overcome that are similar to those illustrated in the documentary. As a family we are very close to each other and always try to appreciate what we having, remembering where we have come from, and to continued to strive for ourselves and the Latino community that we belong to.

Houston, Texas

I am 16 years old. My family came to America in 1989 because my father recieved a fellowship to do research here. We came from India. It was very difficult for us because we had no money and no knowledge of life in America. We moved from city to city, from one relatives' house to another. At first my mother had small jobs like the New Americans on the documentary. My parents had to struggle for many years before they could lead a normal and stable life. Knowing how hard they worked makes me value my American citizenship all the more. This program has changed my life entirely. It has made me realize the value of coming to America, to be free and able to pursue your dreams. I have learned that hardships and triumphs are to be valued. The lessons taught by this documentary have a great impact and touch the hearts of everyone who is an immigrant.

Brooklyn, NY

My family came to America from Cuba in 1993. My father decided to leave because he found the economic situation to be unbearable. He wanted a better future for his children. He also feared repression from the government since we couldn't keep to ourselves our disagreement with Fidel's dictadorship. We left in the middle of a storm in my father's small 14 feet fishing boat. We were 9 people in total. After 8 hours of travel in awful weather we were rescued by a ship named "el Coronado"(the crowned one) that took us to Jacksonville. We would not have made it if we would not have been rescued. The storm got progessively worse. There was 30 feet waves. I want to thank our rescuers where ever thay are for saving us. Perhaps one day in the near future we can meet again.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

well my family came from mexico about 16 years ago. My grandma on my moms side came from Sacatecas, Mexico and so did my grandpa. On my dads side both of my grandparents came from BuenosAires, Durango, Mexico. They came to live up in cd. Juarez, Mexico. And thats where my parents met and they got married and they went to live in Los Angeles California, and thats where i was born. then we moved back to Mexico. And Two years later we moved back up to here albuquerque, New Mexico. and then my brother and sister were born here. And a little while after that my grandma pasted away. and my grandpa had died about a year before I was born. that was both of my grandperants on my moms side.

Bronx, NY
Here are two stories in one.

My parents were immigrants from Puerto Rico. You donŪt think of P.R. as another country since it's now a commonwealth of the United States but it wasn't always that way. But fortunately they came over when they were 18 years old made the effort to learn English and work and prosper. When I was young, I was amazed that my parents although poorly educated in Puerto Rico would read several newspapers avidly in both languages. We were poor people, but they managed to give all five of my brothers and me a parochial education up to 8th grade, as well as my aunts and uncles who experience the same did for their children.

I was then sent to catholic high school and off to college. They instilled in me in order to move ahead and have the "American" dream; you must work hard for it. I went to college full-time and held down 3 part-time jobs to pay for it. Graduated with a Bachelor's degree and became an Office Manager in one of the largest media buying services in the nation.

Now here's the second story.

While working as an Office Manager, I would travel to Puerto Rico practically every year for vacation. One year I met my husband who's a professional chef and Dominican. We struggled to communicate because my Spanish was horrible. I may have been born with Puerto Rican descents, but I was raised to be an "American". I adjusted quickly, learning the language. I still butcher it from time to time but my husband understands me.

We went through a lot for him to get his residence. He's now struggling to learn the English language and to get a decent paying job. Although he works and because he doesn't speak English too well, employers would take advantage thinking he was an illegal immigrant and try to pay him below scale. People will take advantage of you no matter what country you're in.

I love my country because of the freedom we have, but with that freedom comes some sacrifices.

Lawrenceville, NJ

I am a very recent Immigrant from India. We have been in the US for about 9 years now. My wife a Singaporean Chinese. I met her while I was working in Singapore, before I came to the US. We are an inter-racial couple from two different countries living in America. We share the same stories of every new immigrant in America.

We are quite fortunate to be in America. It has given us all the possible opportunities to grow both career wise and economically. We own and operate, a Small size Software consulting company, located in Langhorne, PA.

America is a land of opportunities; anybody who has the will to work hard and succeed will prosper. We enjoy the freedom of speech and individual rights that America has to offer. My aim is to travel across all the States in America and enjoy its beauty, learn about the history of America and various American cultures, its native people and their traditions.

We are now expecting triplets (by October 2004). And I am wondering how our children will make their place in the American Culture as First Generation Americans, born of bi-racial parents from two different Asian cultures. I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

Gail Anderson
Cleveland Hts, OH

My family came here from Canada and Scotland. My mother's family came in the early part of the 20th century from Canada. My grandfather was a machinist for the railroad and came here because there were better opportunities for work. My grandmother was trained as a teacher in Ontario but, instead married and had seven children.
On my father's side of the family, my great-great grandfather came to Brooklyn, New York, from Scotland in about 1870. He was an engineer and had a good job in NYC. His son, my great-grandfather, who was a first generation American, decided to leave NYC in the 1890's to make his own fortune. Family legend has it that he got on a train, handed the conductor all of his money and said: "How far will this take me?" The conductor replied: "Meadeville, PA." And that is how he ended up in western Pennslyvania. From nothing he ended up with his own hardware store and construction company. He became one of the prominent citizens of the community. His construction company built a great deal of the housing that still exists in the town. There is even a tiny park named after him. He owned a second home in the Chautaqua Institute and spent every summer there. He was a true entrepeneur and one of the those legendary Victorian gentleman "Jack of All Trades" types. Towards the end of his life he made another move to Cleveland, Ohio. He lost everything in the Great Depression and died almost penniless. Such is fortune, for all Americans.


I listen to Americans comment negatively about immigrants, mainly because they are outraged by the amount of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. at the same time that unemployment is high. They make these comments, not knowing that I am an immigrant. I was only 6 1/2 when my father decided to come to the U.S. and live the American dream. We came from Germany with all legal documentation, which took some time and was not inexpensive. He has lived the American dream, creating and operating his own businesses. When my parents divorced, my mother pursued a work permit and learned what it meant to be discriminated againts by employers - her English is excellent, but she had an accent because she came to the U.S. at age 30, when accents are difficult to eliminate. America is made of immigrants who have dreams and seek betterment of their lives for themselves and their dependents. Government needs to take action concerning undocumented immigrants, but people do not need to lash out verbally or otherwise a gainst immigrants who seek to make America their home. Now I coordinate an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language) program that helps immigrants learn to speak, read, and write English, and at the same I teach foreign languages to Americans seeking to communicate with immigrants or traveling abroad. This is my way of saying thank you to those who helped us when we came to the U.S. Having lived the majority of my life in the U.S. now, I feel like an American. I am the first to cry at parades, to stand and salute the flag, to cherish what it means to live in America. My daughter is now the first U.S. Citizen in our family, and of this I am so proud.

Emem I.
St. Louis, MO

The documentary was very well put together. As a first-generation Nigerian, my parents always shared with my siblings and me the many obstacles they had to overcome. My parents came to the U.S. nearly 40 years ago to further their education. In light of "The New Americans", I can now only imagine what they were confronted with upon their arrival. In January, I loss my father who instilled in us the importance of not taking things for granted such as an education or even better life. The documentary was confirmation for me that although America is far from perfect, there are many who would love to be given the opportunity to be here- something I have learned to appreciate and be thankful to God for. There were valuable lessons to be gained from this experience. Thank you for the wonderful programming. Keep up the good work!

Gen Grieci

My story is not unlikely like the ones that have been posted here! I don't consider myself a new immigrant, having been in this country for over 34 years, though my story is very similar to the stories on your series. My family came to this country in 1970, all eight of us, including my parents, my 8 year old brother, my 3 month old sister, an aunt and an uncle, my elderly grandmother and me, at 12 years old. Our story has been filled with challenges, obstacles, successes and finally acceptance of our new life. Throughout it all, we remain strong in our beliefs, faithful to our traditions and grateful to our new country for all that it has provided us. Though I will never be an "American", I am fortunate to be "italo-american", I am so fortunate to be living the "American Dream".

Framingham MA

When I came to the US it was like starting to live a whole new experience, like being born again.
My family and i came to this country in an plane and the ride was so cool for me that when i first saw the land from the plane's window it looked like a dreamland. We came to this country in March 2001 almost 3 years from now.
My life in the US has been so cool from the moment that i stepped out of the plane to the moment i entered school.
My family and me are originally from El Salvador and we have many good foods in there like tamales and pupusas. In conclusion, Im happy and thankful for the opportunity given to me. Coming to this country was a new adventure which i have yet to start.

Framingham MA

I came from Brazil four years ago, in April 24th. My parents decided to come to the United States because my sister already lived here, so she influenced us to come. Before coming, we had to make sure that the opportunities in this country were better.
When we first got here we had a lot of trouble to learn English. My parents still don't speak the language, but I learned fast, everyone says that this happened because of my age.
Also we had difficulty in leaving our home country. Even though United States is better, Brazil is our home and every member of our family is there. We miss the culture too, the traditions and holidays. But when we got here we were able to accommodate fast.
We had about every problem that the immigrants have when we got here. Many of the obstacles were to find a good house, a good job and also what school I should go to.
Today, my family has a better life. We thank God that we had the opportunity to come here, because a lot of people want to come and cannot.

Framingham MA

I left my country, Brazil, when i was only ten years old. Like any one else who moves to a new country,I was really excited to meet the goods and interests of United States, but the only thing was that i did not have any idea that it was going to be so hard. The first six months living here were the most hard six months of my life. My mother and my younger sister cried everyday to go back to Brazil, and i felt in the responsability that i had to learn English as fast as I could to help my family and I survive in the new country. Learning English was not such a hard task for me thought. I had never had any English courses in Brazil, but since I'm the type of person who pushes her self, I learned to speak fluently English after 7 months living here. It has been five years since I moved to the United States, and today I can say that I am a successful person, student and daughter. Although my family and I had gone throught so much since we have been living here, I can always say that no matter what, we will always be together.

Framingham MA

My framily is from China, my parents came here when i was little. when they first arrived here, they worked so hard in order to get feed. That time, they had no house, no insurance, nothing but the strength they had. Now, they have a house of their own, and a chinese restaurant too, i am very proud of them.

when people say that America is the land of opportunity, my parents believe, my sisters believe, my friends believe, almost all the people believe. But not i, i am not disgree or agree, because this is very hard thing to say, it is something u can say easily, whatever my decision is ,i am here anyway, just try to live in a better life and doing the things i like.

New York, NY

Truly this show has touched me in such a way that is hard to describe. Each and every story evoked so many feelings within me and reminded me of really how similar we are.

My dad immigrated here from Tibet years ago followed by my mother. They went through countless jobs while trying to survive in this foreign country. I came to the U.S when I was 15 and am currently a college student. I spoke English yet it was difficult for me to adjust to everything here. This documentary made me realize how difficult it must have been for my parents and for millions of immigrants who come to America without knowing a word of English. they come with their dreams and will to survive and make it through. I carry an American passport but I do not consider myself to be american. Deep inside i still feel like a foreigner in this country because I am so different. I'm not so willing to give up my culture, my language and the way I have been brought up. And if that makes me a foreigner then so be it.

Once again, I truly enjoyed this program that offered something for everyone to relate to. Everyone thinks of America as a place to accomplish all their goals and dreams but I believe this is not really a land of free for all. There are those who make it but for every one person that makes it, there are countless that don't. Almost each person in this documentary expressed the dark side of American society that many people outside of America refuse to believe. Yet no matter how miserable or unhappy a person is in America, they actually go with the flow, they try and somehow make it through and i think that is what makes a success story.

Napa, CA

My father's side of the family came from Scotland,moved to Ireland,then to Canada,then to the midwestern U.S. We believe they left Ireland during the Great Famine, and they left behind a castle near 'Derry-- the castle is still there. We also think they must have been destitute, having left the family estate, but they worked hard, and the family grew. My grandfather, who was a 3rd generation American, was a carpenter and built a town in Illinois.

Queens, New York

I am a first generation American. Both of my parents came here from the Caribbean. Both my mother and father worked hard to send my sister and me to private schools when neither of them had beyond a high school (maybe) education. Education was the most important thing to my parents, especially my mother. She used to tell us- "Girls, it is not easy by any means, but your education is the one thing that can never be taken away from you". She made sure we did our work; she would stay up with us, and help us build (literally) things for school projects and would participate in school activities for parents. Because of my parents' dedication, my sister and I were also dedicated. The daughters of immigrants were both the valedictorians of their high school classes and we have both received 2 bachelors degrees each. I love and respect my parents so much, and after seeing this documentary, I am fairly certain that I will dedicate my life to teaching ESOL (English as a Second Language to speakers of Other Lan guages). I want to teach English to anyone who wishes and is willing to learn! Nora Flores- I send you all of the best wishes I can- good luck to you!

La Crosse, WI

Thank you so much PBS for the show. It was reminding me of the procedures I was following when applying for the visa. Everything was the same as what was happening to me. I came to the U.S. from Zambia in September of 2003. When I just dropped at the airport, everything was new to me. It was like I was starting a new life. We are still struggling with immigration, waiting for the work permit. We especially enjoyed seeing the families from Nigeria. The way they looked at things in America is the same as how I see some things. America is a place of a lot of opportunities, compared to Africa as a whole. On the other hand, in America there is no community life. You find that you don't even know your neighbors. When you are married to an American, people like staring as if it is the strangest thing in the world. Otherwise, we are all the same in the image of God. We are now living in a modern world. People need to be more accepting.

Brooklyn, New York

My four years in NY, has taught me to appreciate all that my parents did for me and my siblings. I left my homeland in the Caribbean seeking a better life for my daughter who is sick. Nothing in life ever prepared me for what I had and have to experience on a daily basis, but these experiences have made me stronger. As a single parent with no family support, everything is up to me. I currently work four jobs and at times, I have to take my daughter with me. Sometimes, we get home at 3 a.m. There are things that I would like to accomplish especially going to college so that when I return home, I will be able to make a valuable contribution to my country. One positive thing that living here has done for me is giving me a greater appreciation and love for my country.


Thank you PBS for this documentary! After watching this program, I paused for a moment and thanked God and my beloved father for giving me the opportunity to live in this country but I never forget about my hometown Monterrey, Mex. My dad came here to the U.S. in the late 60's legally and spent some years alone until he sent for us. He applied for our green cards (wife & 4 children). It was a long & expensive process but father had to do it this way since he refused to cross the border illegaly. Despite having green cards, we still faced discrimination. Hopefully this program will make people think and feel some compassion towards all types of immigrants. If people were to look back in their family history they will find immigrant roots. Remember America was found by immigrants!

Zoran Kahric
Kensington, MD

I liked your series The New Americans a lot. I came to North America with my wife, some $1000 and very limited knowledge of English language. We went through very similar periods of enormous joy because some small things happened to us and very depressing periods when some unpleasant things occur to us as people in series. After a decade spent here we achieved slice of that žAmerican dreamÓ. We went to get graduate degrees in engineering and medicine from prestigious universities and I am working as engineer at NASA and my wife is doctor at university where former president graduate from. It was experience which is unimaginable to people born here. It showed one part of, I can say our society, not often talked about but one which made this country great. I am sure that my six-year old daughter will never go thought such a route for better or worst. The only comment would be that you should show some of more successful stories. As a group naturalized Americans are making the most money and some of these people should find a way to your story.


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