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I am so happy that I came across this program by chance. I feel that it
brings awareness to Americans who have forgotten where they have come
from. It's very easy to forget that most of us living in America are here
because of the struggles of our own families that came before us. Most of
our families, just like the ones in the program, struggled with the same
obstacles when they came to America (jobs, language barriers, money,
culture shock, etc...)
I can relate to alot of what was going on in the program. My husband(an
immigrant from India) and I have seen first hand the struggles of a "New
American". I have learned alot from him about his culture and also about
myself in the last few years. It is a constant battle in your heart
everyday when you leave your family and your homeland and come to a
What I find most amazing about immigrants is that they really help
eachother to succeed in the USA. Most times their word or a handshake is
as good as a signed contract in the U.S.
I loved this program. I was entranced. It will make you cry, happy and cheer for the underdog.
You have to work hard in America to succeed, but in the end...it is the
only country that I would like to call home.
Bravo to PBS!
First of all, I would like to thank PBS for broadcasting such a great show
as The New Americans was, and as many others you so often do..Thank you!!
I am so glad that I have found out about this show. From the first night
I was glued to the television set, and I have continued to watch the show
for the following nights as well. This was great, and this is the reality
television, more Americans should be considering of watching perhaps.
As a child of European immigrants, I have been exposed alot to the
similar struggles some of the people on the program were exposed to as
well. I have also had a chance to travel thorughout the world a bit in my
lifetime, and I have seen and heard alot of different opinions about
America and Americans coming from different cultures and points of view.
I have come to realize that other cultures tend to associate American
movies to the American culture quite often. Just as they do when they
watch other movies from various other cultures..Also a lot of things that
happen in US, are not necessaraly broadcasted over there, such as catastrophic
accidents torandoes, earthquakes etc..As if it is hidden, and this ideal
picture of America is safely sealed and perceived world-wide. This so
called super-power, the perfect nation of oppurtunity etc..
Anyway what I wish to say is, that I feel for those poor people, this is
a rough and unstable society, particularly for the newcomers, and the
economically less fortunate bunch of the people. This country is overrun
by racism and discrimination and that is very unfortunate. Even though we
have people coming from all over the world into this country, we still
tend to discriminate and hate against one another. We need to embrace our
differences, and teach our children to accept the present and look forward
to our diverse future. Because like it or not, people are coming here
regardless of what one wishes. And this isn't the case only in the US,
but in other countries as well including United Kingdom, Germany, France
and everywhere else pretty much!
Anyway once again big thanks to PBS, hope to see more of programs like
this from you. And lots of luck and success to all the families featured,
particularly the Mexican family! Thank you!!
Pat Carmichael Kinnebrew
East Point, GA
The New American captivated me from the first five minutes. I have already
been looking to see if it was airing again so that I can make sure my
friends and family watch. It was truly such an amazing look into the
lives of immigrants which in turn made me look at my own life. We all
know that as Americans we sometimes take so much for granted. Although
Sept 11, 2001 certainly changed that for some forever...though some have
returned to their old ways of thinking about their lives in this country.
Lest we forget all can change in the blinking of an eye. Watching this
documentary made me examine my prejudices toward immigrants. I have to
admit that sometimes I resent their presence. I have to ask God for
forgiveness, but it's true. I am black and often greet other blacks,
though they be strangers...then I am taken back when they open their
mouths and they don't sound like me. They are from Africa or the islands.
I look around our neighborhoods and I don't know the nationality of the
new store owners.
Are they Iraqi's or Palestinians or Indians or who? I know I am a
Christian still in the making. I know what Christ would have me do and
feel but we live in such strained times and circumstances now. I admire
the hard work that immigrants are willing to engage in to realize their
dreams. I regret that all Americans, especially black Americans are not
able to work together to achieve a common good. Selfishness and greed are
our enemies. As the Indian couple soon realized "money don't last always".
Your documentary was exceptional. It, as some of the comments I read,
will continue to inspire a lot of thought and discussion as well as inner
searchings about our feeling about immigrants as well as ourselves.
Thanks so much for your continued education of America and those willing
to watch non traditional tv fare on a weeknight.
San Diego, CA
Bravo. Bravo. Bravisimo.
Los Angeles, CA
It really does put things in perspective for us Americans who take excess
for granted and complain costantly that we don't have enough.
When I see what these immigrants have to go through, I am grateful for
what I have been given. I especially feel for the Mexican family. I wish
them luck and hope that all the kids will grow up having a good future and
remember what their parents have done for them.
I really hope I can do something to help this family out.
San Jose, CA
Fantastic series. I was rooting for all of those families. I immigrated
to the United States with my family in 1980 from Vietnam as political
refugees. My parents struggled like many other families working two-three
jobs. They finally saved enough money to open up their own Pho restaurant
in 1992. They still work hard to this day and instill the hard work ethic
in me and my sisters. Maybe we can see a new series that includes the
Vietnamese immigration experience?
I took your very biased immigration quiz. Talk about left leaning
propaganda. You didn't ask any anti-immigration groups to contribute for
a balanced look at the issue. Here's a question for you "What percentage
of federal prisoners are foreign born?"
As far as your study claiming that foreign workers do not take jobs from
Americans, there are just as many studies claiming that foreign workers do
take jobs from Americans. However, those studies don't fit into your view
of the world, and so they were discounted.
I know people who are members of Green Peace (and a former Marxist) whose
about as liberal as you get and even she admits that foreigners depress
American wages. The example that comes to mind is Caesar Chavez and the
United Farm workers an organization that is virtually powerless because
all the big growers are just using illegal immigrants as scabs to break
Great, now my choices for news are between an organization that is too
far to the left and one that is too far to
the right. I thought you guys were smarter than Fox news.
Like many other viewers, I was glued to my t.v. for all 3 parts of this
I particularly enjoyed the story of the Flores family. It was a precious
moment when their little boy cried because he was afraid he would be left
I think Mrs. Flores' experience when they settled here was similar to our
early pioneer women out on the prairies, who suffered isolation and
Her husband is a good, caring man; altho he had a somewhat stable
situation in Kansas, he pulled up stakes to move the family to California
so his wife could be with her relatives.
My heart went out to their oldest daughter who had to leave school when
they moved to California. I hope she finds a way to continue her
schooling thru a GED or some other path.
I came upon the series by accident, but I was drawn in by each story.
This was one of the best documentaries I've seen on public television.
Heart-felt and breath-taking!
as one gentleman stated previously, this is reality tv and the best form
i was taken by this series gratefully. finding myself mesmerized each
night. i was moved, saddened and just consumed by endless emotions that
left me crying silently and out loud for these courageous people. they
seek the truest of what life has to offer. thank you to pbs and the
creators of this program.
The New Americans was a wonderful program. I have not cried so much in a
long time. The hardships they have all endured. Make me realize that my
problems are not so bad and that I must continue. Please, continue the
excellant programs. I will continue to support your efforts in my small
way. My donation is going to be sent as soon as I can. Please bare with me
as I deal with some financial problems of my own.
Oh my Gosh! What a wicked show? Thumbs up! PBS.
As a foreign from Ethiopia who became a Citizen, I can relate to many of
the experiences of those featured on the show.my Tears streaming down my
face, each persons story brought me to tears. I was really touched by the
little boy from Mexican family! He really touched my heart when he hugged
his dad and begging him not to leave him and when he thank his Teacher!
Hope we all learn one big thing from the show that what really matters in
life is FAMILY LOVE ,FAITH and GOAL.
I felt such a connection to each and every one of the ppl in the show and
can really Identify with the heartaches,suffer and joys. I hope those who
think that Mexicans subhuman is can look at this and never look at
Mexicans the same way again. PLS let's give respect for all human! I wish
you all the best!
Thank you PBS!
Saint Paul, Minnesota
What a valuable program it is!
Thank you PBS for informing people about the reality that many people
I think this is reality television at its best. I am not one for watching
TV, much less following one program on a regular basis. BUT, this was so
captivating. I loved the story of each immigrant, and found myself
wanting to help them, be a friend to them.
My husband is a tech immigrant from India. So, this really hits home.
Luckily he is still here and thriving (hopefully with a green card soon).
I hope there will be more programs like this from PBS!!
Mary Beth Foster
West Lafayette, IN
The New Americans held me spellbound each night it was on. These families
are now people I know and care for. I wish I knew how they are now -- is
there any chance of a follow-up piece, or just some "where are they now"
essays on this website?
Recently a couple from Sierra Leone joined our church. We were drawn to
them for reasons we couldn't articulate. Getting to know them has blessed
us immensely. They, too, are "new Americans": they survived the
destruction of their house and close encounters with firing-squads, were
separated and reunited as they fled from their country when rebels from
Liberia swept through. They have come to America to pursue advanced
studies in Agricultural Economics and Nursing; both desire deeply to
return home and help their faltering country to right itself and achieve
stability. They have struggled with unemployment and the insatiable
demands of family back home in Sierra Leone who believe that the streets
here are paved with gold. And, amazingly, through their faith they ha
ve stayed hopeful even as they face the immense hurdles of post-9/11
tightened immigration policies and the incredible red-tape that prevents
them from bringing their son here to join them.
Apart from the Native Americans, EVERY ONE of us has not one but many New
American stories in our family trees, for we are all of immigrant stock.
It stops me in my tracks to think that my fore-fathers and -mothers were
people of courage just like the people I've grown to know in your program.
How I hope that your program is widely viewed: in schools, city halls and
town forums, and in churches and other religious institutions. There is so
much here to learn.
Thank you so much for your program. It was truly a work of art, resonant
his was a wonderful series. After watching the series, its interesting
how all the parents on the show constantly express his/her desire to move
back to their native country. And, over time it is their children who
lose their native shell to become more "American".
The point of the show for me was the selfless acts of these parents who
sacrifice so much for their children. Hopefully, the sacrifice of these
parents continues the next generation of great Americans.
I would like to congradulate pbs for this excellent series.I come from
immigrant parents and can relate to some of these problems.Although i'm a
proud U.S citizen and understand the immigrant issues and problems,i think
this series should be used to teach students in high schools what this
country is made of and for those who do not know a thing about these
issues they may at least have an understanding.Many of us in this country
take many things for granted and being American is one of them.
I loved this program. T.V is at it's best on PBS :)
I thought this program was very interesting. The person PBS should do a
documentery on is Naima's mother from Palestine. Her life was very
compelling and I bet she has a million interesting life experiences. She
was the best part of the whole series!
As a Black American, I have lived in America all my life, born and raised
here, and seeing that program about the struggles of the New American's,
really opened my eyes on the hardship our brothers and sisters from
different countries face everyday. My heart really goes out to them, and
what they have to deal with, compared to the thousands of Americans that
take there freedom for granted. In my eye's they are all in the true sprit
of what America should be all about. As a people we should be kind to our
fellow man and women alike. So next time a stranger from another country
comes up to you and seems scary or strange, look closely and extend them
the warm welcome you would like to get yourself.
I too was profoundly affected by this series. My husband was born in
Colombia and his family came to this country when he was about 9 years
old. He related very much to the little boy in the Mexican family,
Pedrito. It is heartbreaking to me how incredibly difficult it is for
immigrants in this country. I know that culture shock is a factor, but
the extreme poverty of most of these families was also an overwhelming
barrier. If they were not so poor, the distance between their homelands
and America would not seem as great, so that leaving thier extended
families and friends would not seem as horribly sad. I think alot of
Americans cant realte to or understand the kind of family bond that exists
in many cultures. Nor do i think they can relate to the kind of poverty
many of these immagrants experience.
Also , the one thing that has stayed with me after seeing that program
is i wish i could help these families, especially the eldest daughter, i
think her name was Nora, of the Mexican family. It makes me so sad that she isnt in school. I hope some good comes to these families after being on the program, and that awereness of immigrant issues continues to grow so that more families can recieve help, whether financilly, or even just through support , encouragement and information.
These families are usually so isolated , and they would do so much better
if they were not.
San Francisco, CA
This is the best documentary film. Its so real and so touching.
Even the hardship each family has endured, their life has more value than
those greedy CEOs and hypocritical politicians. Millions of people in the
world like those families are struggling for their life. We need more
programs like this documentary to reflect the real peoples life and
to inspire others to change. Please continue following their stories.
Thanks for PBS and the documentary team, all awards should go for this
Fort Worth, Texas
On behalf of all people who have ever lived in an another country, I thank
you for showing a very human side to immigration.
I currently work with a refugee resettlement agency. Every day we see
people like Israel and Ngozi who are starting their lives over in this
country. At times, the needs are overwhelming. But when we see our clients
make progress toward self-sufficiency, we rejoice with them.
There are so many ways that anyone can get involved in the lives of
refugees. Children can help other children at school. Mothers can train
refugee mothers how to use disposable diapers. Refugees need
transportation to medical appointments and grocery stores and school
programs. Seniors can play chess at a community center. Anyone can teach
English in everyday life.
Anyone can be a friend.
I was moved by this fantastic and well directed series. It clearly depicts
that despite our differences and cultural influences, all of us are human
and deserve respect.
It is disturbing to see that some American's still discriminate against
honest and often very hard working immigrants. Those guilty of this
should remember that America's super power (and pride) stems not only from
her outstanding constitution, but more so from all the brilliant minds and
manpower she imports. It is easy then to see that America thrives on the
global community and it, in turn, thrives on her.
Thank you for pointing light at the otherwise blinded "Western eye."
This is by far one of the BEST documentaries I have EVER seen. BRAVO!
While their stories were moving and heartwarming to watch - I would like
to offer one observation that was eye-opening for the IMMAGRANTS. They
all BELIEVED that some how that the "Money" and "financial opportunity"
they could get in the U.S. would give them a "better life". But It REALLY
didn't. It gave them only more "material" things. To me THEY were SO
MUCH RICHER in Love and Family and closeness and individual "culture" in
their Native Countries. It was interesting to watch how more money and
nicer houses and better cars, while making you more comfortable on the
outside can't give you the lasting satisfaction of a loving and loyal
family and culture. You didn't here any of those people complaining of
their children being rebellious or doing drugs. You didn't here any of
the wives complaining that their husbands were cheating on them with other
woman or were alcoholics or never home with them. The woman didn't seem to care that they didn't look like "Barbie" and the children didn't have to have the latest expensive clothing or video game to be accepted. Their love for
their families and their simple faith in God gave them love, acceptance
and purpose. HUMMM! Maybe we should learn something from their society.
Having "money" and "things" sure doesn't make you better human beings, or
love your family more, or make you better parents or make your children
happier or .... really anything that means something.
Food for thought!!!
This series was the best i have ever seen. I felt so connected to each
person. I came to the US as a student and my experience is quite different
from their experience. The one thing we have in common is homesickness. It
seemed that no matter how we feel about third world countries and their
downfalls the people living there will always choose it over america if
the socioeconomic and political climate were better. Money isn't
everything, what a country lacks monetarily and infrastructurally is made
up in the warmth and love of its people.
The story that touched me the most was the mexican family. The oldest
daughter made me cry because all she wants is an education. She is hungry
for knowledge. I wished they had stayed in Kansas. It seemed better than
toiling in a field. I really hope one day she realises her dream to be
Outstanding from beginning to end. Smiled, cried, and cheered while
watching 'The New Americans.' Even though it's been 27 years since I
first set foot on this great land I could identify with the immigrants
(their heart-wrenching good-byes broke my heart and I found myself
America has been good to me and I find myself calling both India and
America home. I?ve tried to incorporate and inculcate the best of both
cultures into the lives of my children.
The 21st century has given us opportunities to make generous
contributions of our hearts, skills and resources globally. Thanks PBS
for a documentary that was real and honest and magnificently portrays our
basic human need for love, peace, security and friendship. Regardless of
what country we call ?home,? may we continue to be challenged to have
compassion, tolerance and respect for one another.
THANK YOU PBS!!!! I LOVED this program. I cried and laughed and really
connected with the people. I am also an immigrant. My native country is
El Salvador and I came here when I was seven. I have adapted to the
American culture quite well, maybe too well. Your program made me feel
that I was betraying myself. I was very compelled by the Mexican story.
I cried really hard to think that people have to go through all of that.
I loved all of the stories, but I guess I was specially touched by the
Mexican story because I am Latin-American just like them.
It was really sad to see that they were the only family that didn't
really better themselves. I know that their goal was to be together and
come here legaly (I came here illigaly), but poor Nora didn't reach her
dream of finishing high school. I cried last night before falling asleep
because its not fair. I wish there was something we can do for all these
I was lucky that my parents had stable jobs here in Virginia when I
migrated and that we never had to share a home. I always had my own room and there were never more then 5 people living in my home. To think that
Nora's family had 15 people in one trailer is heart-breaking!!!!!
I love that this program will be seen by people that are racist or bigots
or stereotypical. This program gave a face and feelings to an issue that
faces and STARTED the U.S.A. People must remember...America was
established by immigrants and will always be filled with them. Its takes
guts to leave one's homeland and start over, but its worth it most of the
time. Thats why the U.S. is the land of the FREE and the home of the
Immigrants are the roots of the nation....
I was captivated by show. Indeed, it is the ultimate "reality series."
I've been thinking about Israel and Naima and everyone else for the last
three days--as if they were friends or people that I know. I'm so
curious--how are they now? Are Hatem and Naima together? Will you post
an update on their lives?
I certainly don't wish to invade anyone's privacy. If anything, I just
feel tremendous compassion for their struggles and wish only the very best
for all of the people and families featured in the series.
Buena Park, California
I was feeling pretty depressed lately about my current career in a fortune
500 company. The politics and drama which revolves around working in a
corporate atmosphere was really bothering me until I saw this show. This
show made me realize, all these people were just looking for dignity in
this country. I too feel the same way. This show has changed my outlook
on life dramatically. Especially how Israel's optimistic view of the
world. Even though they have experienced so much hardship, one thing they
will never lose is their dignity.
Realizing this, I quit my job to move to a smaller company. Life is not
just about making money. It's about your dignity and your family.
Barbara Vizard Haas
Highland Village, TX
I feel so fortunate that I was able to see all three parts of this series
as I was not aware that it was on this week. I have never seen anything
on television that moved me this way. I cried, laughed, and learned so
much from this series and just wanted to take the time to thank everyone
involved in it's production. I have been haunted by the story of Nora
Flores since last night. I have two daughters (one just starting HS, one
just starting college)who have all of the opportunities Nora does not, and
none of the drive that Nora has. Nora will be "richer" and much more
strong than my daughters will ever be just due to her experiences. Maybe
we all need a bit more adversity in our lives.
Thank you for this excellent program. I learned about the immigrants'
plights, but I also learned about the culture of my own country, the USA.
Will there be a follow up series? I am very interested to learn about the
New American lives.
I started to care so much about the New Americans. Nora, the oldest
Mexican daughter, is the hero of this story to me. She was uncomplaining,
loving, and intelligent. When we first met her, she said she did not want
her mother to have to work in America, that her mother works so hard for
all of them. She pled with her father to only work one shift. She was
brave to go to high school in Kansas when she was older than the others in
her class, and her goal was to learn English. She saw that her mother was
not happy in Kansas and pled with her father to let them stay there,where
they would be able to stay in school and earn more money. Her modesty,
goodness and love of family is what makes her an asset to our country. The
end of her story, with her still toiling in the fields, brought tears to
my eyes. I truly hope that she has been able to go back to school and
leave the fields.
I was so moved. Watching the struggles, trials, and tribulations each
family faced really convicted me to focus my relativly simple life in a
new direction. I feel so blessed to have what little I own. It really
put into perspective how "easy" most of us have it. I am going to
purchase the video and share it with my family and friends. It is a
wonderful learning tool that needs to be utilized in order to better our
society as a whole. I am so inspired to better my life with the same
passion "The New Americans" have.
los angeles california
what a wonderful documentary. i am an immigrant from africa too and saw a
bit of what i went through in all the stories.thank you pbs for speaking
for me. what a wonderful series.keep it up. when are you going to repeat
Great Job PBS!! The ?New American? was one of the best documentaries I
have seen on PBS. It shows us how we all have same basic needs no matter
where we were born and which religion, race, gender, etc we belong to.
All the stories were done in a superb way. The story of Palestinian
couple was really moving. How Naima who was more religious than her
husband and who lived under Israeli occupation, was more comfortable to
deal with Jewish kids in the daycare. While her husband who was not a
practicing Muslim and raised in the United States was more dedicated for
the Palestinian cause.
I told all my friends and co-workers to watch this show. Once again, well
san jose, ca
First of all I cannot explain how grateful I am to the producers of this
documentary. As an immigrant, my self I deeply related to all the stories.
I was so compelled by the stories of that I want to know if there will be
a new series? This series provoked so many emotions that I cannot wait to
see more stories like these. I also, wanted to volunteer my family and
myself for any future projects relating to Mexican-american families. I
feel that tv series like these have a great impact on the people.
Every American teen should see this program. The seven hours spent just
might change their lives forever. My sixteen year old son was captivated
as were my wife and I. When the Flores' youngest son broke down about his
worries of being left behind in Mexico my heart broke. We have been
fortunate to live outside of the US in the past and so in a very small way
understand a little about culture shock. Nothing like these true
immigrants, but still we got to see our home country in a different light
and it changed us all. I believe that all Americans, especially now,
should see their country through a different lens and this program does
such a wonderful job of that. Only through these kinds of experiences will
we as a nation undertand the statement 'One planet, indivisible'.
L Smith, proud naturalized American citizen
I stumbled into the beginning of part I of this show and was quickly
captivated! My parents immigrated to this country from Mexico in 1961
with my sister and I when we were both very young with the idea that they
could make a better life. We had very little money but accepted the many
challenges and hardships, some similar to those featured in this series,
but never quit or were allowed to quit. We were taught to work hard and
We often made trips back to Mexico to visit family and as a youngster
I can clearly recall the distinct difference between our family's
perspective in life and that of my Mexican relatives. Having the knowledge
of how blessed I truly was made me work harder in school and beyond.
I think that maybe some Americans do not understand why so many people
risk so much to come to this country but this series certainly illustrates
why we must never take our country and it's resources for granted. Sucess
can be achieved for both immigrants and natives with hard work
Thank you for airing such a wonderful program, I was captivated from the
start. It instigated great discussions around the water cooler.
I think all Americans should be forced to watch this series--I don't think
the majority of those born and raised in the US have much of an idea to
what lengths people go to get here. Not only that, but watching the series
serves as a reminder just how important diversity is in the US. These
people highlighted in the series come from fascinating cultures very
different from our own and can contribute in very different ways to our
society. I'd be willing to bet that most Texans, for example, would be
hard pressed to find Nigeria, or Palestine, or India, or the Dominican
Republic or even Mexico on the map. The melting pot has become 'fit in or
else' in the last decade or so, and that's sad. Their stories were
compelling and I wish them all every success here.
Washington, District of Co
After following the progression of the lives showcased in this wonderful
series I must say that I am deeply ashamed as a 3rd generation American.
As a whole I feel we have lost touch with the fundamentals upon which this
once great nation was founded upon. I fully agree with Israel's statement
in the 2nd installment that "it's easier to raise a child in Nigeria."
Again, I express my deepest shame of ,ultimately, of the way we treat our
brothers and sisters of humanity. We have gone from a society of
freedoms, expressiveness, and compassion, to one where there is only one
singular mitigating factor of importance, one 'label' - that of the
'almighty dollar'. I have just recently started to change my views and
have recently decided to take action. Seeing this documentary has only
reaffirmed my thoughts, feelings, and ideals, towards pushing this country
towards a true 'Global' mind set, and away from a self-serving 'gotta get
what's mine and get it now!' mentality. I can honestly say that I have
gotten the most satisfaction in my life from helping others and even just saying 'Hello' to stranger on the street and having that same sentiment
reciprocated, than from getting a bigger paycheck each year.. Please,
please, please, continue with 'world view' programming. Who knows, maybe
we will see the reflection of ourselves through the lives of others and
decide to make a change. It worked for me. Keep up the great
programming, and know that you have helped one.
I think that the New Americans Series was amazing. As a teacher, I think
that students should be taught about other cultures and the inequalities
that exist in the western society. I was flicking the channels one night
and found myself completely drawn into each of the stories that were being
shared. I'd like to thank the people who allowed us to look into their
lives over that 4 year period, and those who contributed to making the
film. I am a Canadian and I don't know if it is as difficult for people
to become Canadian citizens as it is American, but this series really
opened my eyes to how difficult it is to start a new life in a foreign
country, especially here in the West. It also was rather disturbing to see
how difficult it is to acquire immigration status into the US, and how
families had to leave loved ones behind in hopes of starting a better
life. For many of these people family bonds were much tighter than that of
many westerners, so I can't even imagine how hard that must be to not be
with your loved ones. Although I was already aware of the inequalities that
exist, it upset me to see how many of the immigrant people are highly
skilled and educated, then they have to start over at the bottom in the
west, and what a struggle it is for them. I mean many of them come to the
west in hopes of persuing their dreams, and they end up struggling just to
survive because they are lucky if they are hired on to do the most basic
low paying jobs that other middle and upper class (predominantly white)
westerners aren't subjected to take. These immigrants don't even seem to
have a fair chance at their dreams that they have come to the West in
hopes of realizing. Some of their children don't even have the opportunity
to complete their education due to their poverty and having to work to
help support their families in America. For some, maybe things will get
better, with extremely hard work, perseverance and time, but for some,
things may not improve. They may be stuck in the lower rungs of society
due to such things as systemic racism and what not. Some of immigrants' children will have a chance at having a better life than their parents had, due to the sacrifices and courageous risks their parents took on their behalf.
On the whole this series is a real eye opener for those of us who were
born in the West and who have been afforded opportunties that others will
never be afforded in their lifetime. Especially for those of us who are
white who don't even realize the privelages that we have based solely on
the colour of our skin. I think something needs to be done to put an end
to this disparity, to close the ever widening gap between the upper and
lower classes of western society, and to abolish all forms of racism on
the various levels that it occurs in the western world.
I think this series also has reminded me to count my blessings and from
now on, when I find myself in less than ideal circumstances and
complaining about things, I'll try to remember those who are less
fortunate then myself, like the stuggling New Americans that shared their stories with us in this series.
Ann Arbor, MI
This is an amazingly well-done, captivating, colorful series. I didn't
even realize that each episode would be 2 hours long, and yet I hung in
for the whole thing. I am a first-generation Nigerian-American, the child
of Igbo parents who moved to the US in the late 70s. I've heard them
relate the stories of the first years here many times, yet it was
refreshingly different to see the Nwizor's story and understand it as an
adult. How frustrated my parents must have been when they moved here, and at a time when prejudice was more blatant than it is now! I greatly
respect them for it, and don't know if I'd be strong enough to do the same
thing. I also gained from seeing the stories of the other families, and
the struggles we don't always hear about. It's true that the US is a land
of opportunity, but it's not as simple as that.
B. K. Hobbs
Fort Myers, FL
This country, for all of its imperfections, provides the greatest canvas
of opportunity that has ever existed in world history.
My definition of a privileged child is any child whose parents risk so
much for what might be: not for themselves, but for subsequent
At some point in each individual lineage nearly all Americans can count
some distant parent or set of parents as one such risk taker. In my mind,
this is, and should remain, the basis of American community. These
freedoms are based at the level of the individual and can never be
assigned to a group. The glue, for me, is the history of accepting
uncertain risk in the quest for opportunity.
I know of a number of first-generation entrpreneurs who have been
extremely successful, if success is defined as the opportunities that they
created for their children. I would like to see this wonderful series
expanded to show these effects. They exist and are truly critical to any
story of American immigration.
The kinds of peoples who give up the security of nearly all that they know, to reach for the possibilitites of what might be is the definition of both first-generation American immigrants and capitalist entrepreneurs. I suspect that the "failure rate" of entrepreneurs is much highter.
Los altos Hills, California
Thank you for this interesting documentary I discovered unexpectedly last
night. The tragic circumstances of Nora(?)Florez in Mecca, California left
me wondering if there was anything that could be done to give a leg-up to
this young, bright, ambitious person.
This is why i like pbs.org. I belive the director and producter of the
show has done a nice job. It touches you from within about the truth of
the new americans or may be not americans as one couple who came with a
dream to America and had to go back to India not sure if they would want
to come back. I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this
project. You all have done a wonderful job. Thank you, and keep the good
work up. - Nipam
Tison JDK Browne
This is by far the best program I have ever seen. PBS kudos to your entire
staff on a job well done. This is reality tv at its best. No scripts, no
acting, just raw emotion of people seeking better lives for them selves. I
found myself crying quite a few times during the four part program. The
New Americans is a great illustration of the struggles that some if not
most immigrants go through in such of a better life. I am very touched
though by the mexican family and especially when the little boy said
"Papa, don't leave without me".
I am getting teary eyed just remembering the series. Every family had a
story. Although I found most of it to be sad, I was elated when the
nigerian girls graduated high school, their mother bought a house and
learnt that the girls were now undergrads majoring in nursing and
engineering. It just goes to show that it is all about opportunity. If
given the same opportunities many poor people in the world can excel. The
ambition and drive is all that is required in addition to the opportunity.
PBS you guys have outdone yourselves this time. I watch you guys
religiously cause you have the best programming on the tube. No other
station comes close. I am thankful to the entire staff who made it
possible to air the New Americans. Hope you guys show it one more time.
Also, maybe a follow up show can be done, showing the families in this
post 911 world. Once again Thank you PBS. You guys are the best.
Hearbreaking and beautiful. I congratulate everyone that was involved with
this project and sincerely hope that all of the featured immigrants dreams
It is never to late to be the person that you always thought that you
San Francisco, CA
Thank you PBS for such a compassionate and brilliant series. It's quite
possibly the best TV show I've ever seen.
Presenting the reality of Palestinian lives was especially
enlightening--and courageous of you. Many thanks.
The segment on the Indian immigrants was a bit short-changed--perhaps
because the circumstances of their lives were not so tragic?
I would love to see a follow up to the series, this time addressing how
the violence, poverty and oppression from which many immigrants flee to
the US can actually be traced back to US foreign and economic policies.
This is a great series. I have been captivated by the stories of these
immigrants who are trying to better themselves by coming to America and
working hard! It shows us that we sometimes take our way of life and
freedoms for granted.
I want to congratulate you for airing such a wonderful, touching, and
thoughtful program. I laughed and cried as I sat in front of the TV,
unable to move away from it. I came to this country as a young bride, and
was very fortunate to have had loving friends who were a source of
support. Still, adjusting to the change in culture was not easy, and I
can sympathize with the trials of the different families, especially with
the difficulties the women experienced.
As customary, you have outdone yourselves.
I was going to go to sleep at 9pm and instead was up til midnight. I
managed to see the last episode and would hope for others sake and mine
that the series will be aired again. The program is a challenge to
everyone's defenition of "quality of life" not just immigrants.
ithaca new york
Thank you PBS for such a thought-provoking series. I was moved repeatedly
for three nights and stunned by how much I did not know. I do have a few
questions: Why is it that only Indian immigrants qualify for an H-1B
working VISA? Why did Israel, a chemical engineer, or Naima, also a
college graduate, not qualify? Are we so "tech-crazy" that only computer
engineers qualify for good jobs in this country? Also, are Americans
aware that Nigeria is the third biggest provider of oil to the U.S.? That
what happened to the Ogono is partially our fault although Shell Oil is
primarily a Dutch company, American interests in Nigeria abound. What
happened to Israel's people is genocide and white people are at fault.
Another concern that arose in my mind is how can we overlook the plight of
Palestine and the impact of the American loans on the success of Israel?
How can we allow the wall that is currently being built to continue? The
wall divides Palestinian people from their villages and farmlands
rendering them refugees in their own homeland just so Israeli settlements can be built and protected by this wall. Finally, how can Ventura think it is right to take her family from Garden City, Kansas where they all were flourishing (Nora was able to attend school) and the job opportunities were good, to be migrant laborers in California? I hope this show helped her to see
that she had made the wrong decision for her family.
Again, thank you for such a fine series. Let's hope that the points made
in the series will prompt action as I have stated above. In this way,
your series is not only informative but, hopefully, action-inducing as
Karen E. Fogg
The New Americans was an amazing documentary that had me laughing, crying, celebrating and grieving along with the featured individuals and their
families. This is what reality television should be about. As an educator,
traveler , American and world citizen I feel it is important to
understand the immigrant experience and all it implies. I loved the fact
that these people allowed the film makers such access to their lives. We
learned so much about them and ourselves through this wonderful piece of
film. I couldnt wait to see each episode! Thank you PBS, thank you to the
families involved and thank you to the film makers. I do wish that more
people would get the opportunity to see this documentary. I had to stay up
quite late and on a school night to view this. Maybe beginning at 7:00, or
8:00 would allow younger viewers to see this as well.
hello I had the oportinity to watch the series and @ times I was so touch
and @ times I was try in to understant the other cultures but the one
the touch me the most was the Flores because I m and imigrant from
guatemala and my storie is not sad like the flores I feel for them
specialy for nora because she try every thing in her power
to get a high school diploma and learn the english and this people need
to be admired for what they do and on the other side we have this
Palestinian bride that is very ungrateful
to this contry because she said she didnt want a green card and no id
only the palistine id but she did not have a hard time coming to this
contry like the mexican imigrants and to me if she doesnt like america she
should not used america and go back and be happy were she can complained
and be happy over all it was a great series the pooberty of all this
contries is the reason we come to america and I happy the I can share
freedom and become a us citicen.
Los Angeles, California
Like those depicted in the series, I also consider myself to be a "New
American". I am an international student from Nigeria studying
engineering and I've lived here in the U.S. for over 10 years. I can
fully relate to the hardships faced by some of the individuals in the
documentary, especially the couples from Nigeria and India. I want to
thank you for the incredible way you show life and how well it provokes
thought that can lead to change. My wish is that perhaps in the near
future you can air another documentary soley about the lives of
international (foreign) students like myself. We too, have many
incredible stories that we would like to tell.
All the stories in this series were very touching, but I was especially
touched by the daughter in the Mexican family who was not able to finish
her education. She wanted to finish high school, something that a lot of
kids in the US take for granted...an education. She came from very humble
means, and when her family got to Kansas, there was hope, until the mom
decided that it would be better for them to be migrant farm workers in
California. As a very strong advocate for education, it made my heart
sink. I thought of how much their lives would have benefitted from
staying in Kansas. I wish that I could have called the mother and told
her she was making a very big mistake. Once they had moved to California
and they had the handkerchiefs over their faces, I had tears in my eyes.
There are some children that make it out of the migrant farms, including a
Harvard educated friend of mine, but it is very very hard. It's a cycle
of poverty, like the one the family was trying to get out of in Mexico. I
wish that there was a way of reaching out to the family and helping them so
that the children could study, and not just be forced to labor in the
Great show!I wanted to wake to the whole family to watch as this show as I
feel it captured the immigrants "real life" expectations of America. Some
of the decisions that had to be made were truly heartbreaking. This show
brought home the fact that people from around the globe want what most
Americans want...a good life for their families, opportunities,and
freedom. A few times I shouted at the families to not give up...dreams are
still realized here. I found myself this morning tired but with renewed
respect for those among us that are willing to take such personal risks to
better their lives in our country. Thanks to the people behind this show
for a real eye opener.
Los Angeles, CA
great show, i really enjoyed it. i would like to response to the question
about immigrants having community to ease the transition of immigrating. i
think it is very important to have a cnnection here in the states to ease
the transition on coming here from another country, but here in LA, I have
also seen the downside. there are some immigrants that come here and are
so determined to keep their own culture, they never really reap the
benefits of being here. they ant everything the exactly the same as where
they came from. i am not advocating they give up all they are and
assimilate, but there are some good things about being an american. for
example, i work in education, and i have to struggle with some people to
allow there daughters to come to school. they keep them out to help with
chores around the house. i am told that is how it is where they are from.
i tell them here education is the best option for the future of the
family. they then tell me that is how americans do it, and they are not
americans. i do not understand. why come here if you do not want to advance. the family that left a good life in kansas to go do backbreaking low wage work in california is another example. if you have the opportunity to do
better, why don't you. isn't that the reason they came here. you can keep
your culturte, and still benefit from the fruits of america.
Such riveting and touching stories are everyday lives. Most were such
wonderful people. I was so upset with the Mexican mother who deprived her
child of school. If only there was some way to help her find more
independence in her life, so she didn't have disrupt and to lower the
living standard of the whole family.
Is there some way we can revisit these folks. I am so concerned about the
Mexican girl who was unable to continue school in CA. Surely there is some
way to help her.
Mesmerizing!!! One of the best documentaries ever that needs to be aired
again. I'll regularly check PBS's programs listing hoping that it will be
showed once more.
I thought it was an excellent series that really opened my eyes. I was
suprised by how anti-Israeli/semetic (and anti-American) some Palestinians
can be. Esp. the couple featured in this documentary. Was I the only one
who noticed the look of absolute disgust on the husband's face when the
wife was talking about singing the Hanukka song? I sympathize with the
plight of the Palestinians, but until they realize hate and violence will
not help them, they will not have peace.
One other point. American only offers the possibility of a better life,
the economy cannot bear the weight of supplying every immigrant with
benefits, housing, money, etc. Poeple need to be educated about what is
possible in america before the come here. Just because someone comes here
doesn't mean that all their hopes and dreams will come true.
As someone who is responsible for recruiting and training new employees,
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of speaking the language. If I
moved to Spain, I would eat, drink
and breathe Spanish in order to gain some degree of proficiency. I truly
believe that without a basic proficiency in the native language of a
country (America or otherwise), one is destined for failure.
I wish all the people in this documentary the best of luck.
I was deeply moved by the documentary on the different families. I am
thankful for the program because I realized my perception of the
immigrants was bias. I have never put myself in their position or
empathized with them. Watching their struggles and the impact we as
Americans have on their perception of America the "melting pot" made me
question my own behavior in the past. I never looked at their ambition
and purpose, just the accent. I am glad to see there are people who care
enough in our school system to be supportive of the children. I commend
them for their work. It has encouraged me to learn about my own roots and
why my great great ancestors came to this country. It was beautifully
produced and edited.
West Chester, PA
I viewed Parts 2 & 3 of the New Americans. It was a vivid protrayal of a
people very much in touch with their lives in their respective countries,
but a fight-to-survive in their new country. The odds against their
success was very much against them. The physical and emotional energy they
had to continuously possess made for a life of continuous struggle. The
pressures they suffered were immense -- the pressure to succeed in this
"land of plenty". It put me in a frame of mind of reversing what they
experienced. That is, as a citizen of USA,having to leave what I have
acquired here in this country and attempt to start over in another
country. I've been to 10 foreign countries and have "vacation-experienced"
life in these countries. If I would have have to set up a permanent
residence in any country,I realized the environment I had grown fond of
was gone and the need to develop anew would be crucial. My experience
would be different from the New Americans since I have adequate savings
that would allow for a plush life in any of the ten countries. I realized that i could not make a change since my roots are deeply entrenched in life as I have experienced for many years. So, to all New Americans, if you have the stamina and fortitude and willingness to persevere, many times in a defeating
situation, you will be able to make it. It will be a tough battle since
you are "the underdog",you will have to fight and struggle in odds that
might very well be against you. But, take it from me, it is worth it,
every last bit of your struggling. This is a fantastic country and I love
it and appreciate what it provides. -- Lastly, for the younger set; some
of you may have emigrated from one school "in this country" to another
strange school in another part of our country. Was your experience a scary
one but heartwarming - OR - was it scary with much pain and suffering - OR
some of both? You might very well have captured the feelings of the
character make-up of "The New Americans".
Ellis Grove, IL
This programming was a thought provoking, emotional, roller coaster ride
for me. Putting faces and names to the issues makes it impossible to
merely be "politically correct" in addressing today's challenges. I'd be
blessed to have friends and family with the strength and core values of
these folks. I certainly don't posess and live them myself. Hard to
imagine TV forcing you to become a better person, but shows like this can
do just that. Thank you.
...and I thought you couldn't top Frontier House!
Nina S. Jacob
The series was a pleasure to watch because it was authentic from start to
finish. You felt like you knew these people at the end!
My parents emigrated from India 30 years ago and this video helped me
understand their struggles better. But somehow I feel a loss in life
because I was born here and have little connection to my heritage. So I
wonder why can't the U.S. government support policies that support the
lives of the poor so that they don't have to leave their homes in the
first place [i.e. to put pressure on Shell Oil in Nigeria to stop
environmental damage]? The central theme about why immigrants come here is
economic opportunity. I wish more people had those choices where they
lived so that they can maintain their family ties/cultural roots. While
immigrants like my parents look to the future, those of us born here
search for our past.
Thank God for educational television. I sometimes enjoy your educational,
What a welcome relief from our 7th grade level, degenerative, perverted
and sometimes obscene network television.
I thought "The new Americans" was an extraordinary good documentary,
very interesting to follow the stories of 4-5 immigrants experience in
America still is a dream for millions of people around the world. The
truth as your documentary showed the reality is it can be extremely
difficult and sometimes does not work for immigrants.
Good show, Keep up the good work.
This is the best and most enriching documentary ever. I am so touched by
the feelings and thoughts these individuals are sharing about their
relocating to the US and their connection to family here and in their
homelands. It is an honor to have them in the US because they are
revitalizing the soul of this nation. They are providing us with
invaluable lessons for how our lives should change here and our priorities
re-evaluated. They are helping us to all be more conscious and loving. I
wish I lived near them so I could help them to feel more at home; I would
love to have any or all of them as my neighbors. May they feel that those
who are fortunate enough to be their neighbors are reaching out to them.
They deserve it from us.
As a mexican raised in u.s., the history of The FLORES family made me cry
a few times, I had to stay up late because the series were well worth it
Unfortunately, some inmigrants gave up and don't have the strenght or
economy possibilities for a better future, even as a new americans, is
hard for them to achieved their GOALS in the land of the AMERICAN DREAM.
I will surely follow their future stories.
Thanks PBS for this kind of programation, and hoping we see more of it.
Quinn and Jean Jacobson
Thank you for an amazing and educational documentary. Yes, it did change
our perspective on immigrants. It's a wake up call to see America through
their eyes. We often wondered if they were better off here or not. We
(Americans) tend to speak a different language than we live. It told us it
was time for a reality check.