Poetry has been used to describe the plight of immigrant’s then and now, since there is a cultural connection to poetry. The feeling of comfort is established by the expressive mode of poetry. Poems have logical thinking by demonstrating unifying themes of family, environment, memory, as well as, dream that connects diverse cultures. Most of the poets were influenced by other writers who narrated their feeling through poetry (Cabico 30). Poems have diverse styles and themes that reveal the shared passions and experiences of isolation and alienation. For instance, in El Coro, the poem explores the borders between the Spanish and the English, hence clearly depicts racism (El Coro 1). Moreover, La Migra describes the events between the border patrol and the Mexican maid by illustrating the conditions that the immigrants experienced (Pat Mora: Lamigra 1).
America is a nation of immigrants, even though, not all immigrants receive a warm welcome upon their arrival. During the 20th century, the nation was characterized by different waves of migration that changed its demographic composition (Hoobler 2). According to Berlingerio, illegal immigrants whose visas have expired ignore their illegality because the U.S. government failed to track those who ignore the immigration without repercussions (3). Most immigrants are staying illegally in U.S. aggravated by the failure of the federal appeals court to implement the rule of law. In the article, Berlingerio describes the failure of the Obama administration to explain its role through the use of prosecutorial discretion to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants (6). Currently, immigrants and their children benefit from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act that provides a legal status to minors brought to America by their parents (Kerwin and Ziglar 1). Moreover, there are major reforms that have failed to authorize immigrants to earn the right to remain in America. This has led to the reduction in the number of illegal immigrants coupled with massive deportations and prosecutions from immigration related offences. The increase in the number of legalized immigrants reflects the supply and demand patterns of the nation’s labor market. Thus the response of the nation to this issue is that immigrants who embody civic ideals such as freedom, equality, human rights, liberty, justice and opportunity should be generous.
Currently, there are over 73 million immigrants in U.S. However, the nation lacks a well-coordinated immigration policy that is crucial to integration (Kerwin and Ziglar 3).
Initially, there were laws that were passed, that required immigrants to prove their ability to read. These laws restricted the number of immigrants to less that 14% (Gordon 11). This trend of immigration greatly impacted on those who qualified to get jobs, housing, and an access to healthcare services, among others (Heyer 4). Due to these personal impacts, there has been a high public scrutiny applied to the environment, in which the immigrants had been assimilated to the American way of life, in order to demonstrate the national loyalty.
Immigrants have been arriving to America for centuries; however, the most notable periods were in the late 19th and 20th centuries. According to Hoobler, during these periods, most immigrants faced a lot of problems, such as: the discrepancies in the anticipation of realism after the arrival in the foreign nation (4). Some of the discrepancies they had faced with included the false hope from the communication received from relatives back from their native homelands; thus, the immigrants never wanted to admit the reality. Currently, there are the encouraging expectations because of the existence of new approaches to the communication that have made the majority of immigrants to ignore the depressing information that they have heard. Problems had been ever prevalent but they encountered the changes in some time. Therefore, today, immigrants face different challenges than immigrants in the earlier years.
The experience of immigrants begins with a journey from their homelands into America. For instance, in a poem by Regie Cabico, the poet describes how they had left their home country and moved to America (Cabico 2). The author describes their family background,”…We a family of five, left Philippines for California dodging U.S Customs with the forbidden fruit…’ the speaker states that...” My father denied that we had the perishable foods and waved passports in the still air, motioning for us, to proceed towards the terminal, behind a long line of travelers…’ During the 19th century, immigrants used ships, and this took several weeks. The conditions they had experienced on the ships presented enormous challenges to them.
In a poem by Lorna Dee Cervantes Refugee Ship, the poet writes that ‘… Mama raised me without language, I am orphaned from the Spanish name…’ the narrator speaks of her native language and her experiences as being an orphan; in addition, the speaker states that, ‘… The words are foreign, stumbling on my tongue, I see the mirror, my reflection: Bronze skin, black hair…’Thus, the speaker talks of her skin color and black hair and describes her feelings in the foreign land as, ‘…I feel captive aboard the refugee ship, the ship that will never dock El barco que nunca atraca…’ Upon the arrival, the immigrants were met by their representatives from their native countries who were ready to support them. These representatives worked for political leaders who needed the support from immigrants because they form a large segment of voters and a growing proportion of the society. Currently, the new arrivals do not need to have immediate assistance, hence, making them experience problems, such as, obtaining suffrage.
Immigrants began their life in the American cities, and those who arrived earlier enough during the 19th century had set their homes in the prairies. They were met with challenging conditions like farming the hard virgin land coupled with hostile environmental conditions. The immigrants were also met with diseases, such as cholera that were prevalent during the 19th century. The immigrants were in a strange land and were not able to assist one another in the best way they could have managed to (Jaret 2).
The immigrants dwelling in the higher density areas coped with harsh living conditions because they had been affected by fires and diseases such as venereal diseases, tuberculosis, and diabetes. Although, they were staying in the low cost dwelling of the low cost, most were evicted by their land lords because they had been unable to pay due to the meager income they had been earning. Most immigrants could not adjust to the living standards because they had been treated as foreigners. Today immigrants are very diverse, since they come from various parts of the world characterized with distinct physical features. In the new urban life that they were experiencing, the early immigrants lived in the neighborhoods with their friends and family members and could easily help each other with reducing the feeling of homesickness. These feelings of loneliness had the negative effects on the way in which they made the progress in adapting to the American way of life. The earlier immigrants encountered a lot of hardships and various unknown difficulties because they were the strangers in the foreign land and had some problems in coping with the ways of life. According to the poem by Eva Margarita, the poet writes about her love to her native homeland, ‘…My homeland, homeland of my heart, I remember that time that left without your love, Always remember when I go walking, I remember when I walked with disenchantment, Oh my homeland, my homeland of my love, I always loved you with all my heart, I walked through the street thinking of going there, But sometimes I think that there I will find nothing. My homeland, of my heart…’; the poet is talking about her native homeland and she is feeling homesick when she recalls something of her country.