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Sujavena Boonyindee

Professor Batty

English 28

Dec 14, 2017

Migrating Pains

There are many reasons and causes that make people migrate from one place to another,

whether it is near their hometown or far away on the other side of the word. Whether it is a

whole family migration or just a member of a family migrating the effects are on everybody in

the whole family. Once they are trying to settle down in a new place, they will have to adapt to

the new environment. Some people have difficulties to adjust themselves; some find it is easy to

blend in. The family might feel insecure due to the fact that when moving, they left the support

system of the extended family behind. They will have nobody to learn from, nor will they have

support when they face hardships. Furthermore, the well-being of the family is ensured by the

head of the family having a stable income. However, if searching for jobs is not successful, this

can cause trouble with financial difficulties and stress, not only to just the need of the family but

also to the whole family as well. Thus, the roles and responsibilities among family members

might change from what they used to. For example, to be able to support the whole family

financially, both parents might have to work take turn taking care of the children, and children

might have to take care of some housework that they did not need to do back home.

International migration can have important consequences for originating countries as

well as the destination ones. Immigrants who reside in the new country begin to create new

family life not only new life style is influenced but also past cultural customs and the ways of the
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new country. The impacts may take many forms, whatever it is an entire nuclear family

separating from extended family in the source country or a parent or child migrating alone with

dependents left behind. Do these immigrants really have to give up their home culture to be able

to live happily in the mainstream? Such families are examples of ingeneration or bicultural

adjustment rather than giving up ones home culture to adopt the ways of the dominant culture.

Integrated or bicultural families are possible if there are sufficient numbers in the ethnic

community, if immigration continues from the country of origin, and if the ethnic community has

links with the country of origin (Kibria 1997). Therefore, if there are enough immigrants that

share the same culture; it will help them to keep their roots, identity, and pride of the home

culture. To my experience, there are places like China Town, Armenian Town, or Thai Town in

Hollywood, for the Thai community which I am more accustomed to. We gather and celebrate

Thai holidays, festivals, and events relating to Thai customs. There are also other ethnic groups

that celebrate their own festivals often.

Diversity of different ethic immigrants might also leads them to face discrimination due

to different perception of human rights. Even though human rights are the basic rights and

freedom to which all humans are entitled-whether they are immigrants or not (Human

Rights/Immigrant Rights Fact Sheet); people are obligated to respect the human rights of

others, regardless of their nation, location, religion, ethnic, origin or any other status.

International treaties recognize that non-citizens, in particular, face significant exposure to

human rights abuses because they are often removed from their communities and support

networks (Human Rights/Immigrant Rights Fact Sheet). It is common that people are

prejudice and discriminate against other people of different backgrounds, especially different

ethnic origins. As for the whole family, immigrating is a major family transition and life change.
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Some find this burdensome that results in stress for the whole family. For example, in English

speaking countries, non-English speaking immigrants have to learn a new language in order to

live comfortably. For better quality of life, improvement of English acquisition and educational

outcome is necessary for the immigrants.

In halting Spanish, Yolanda reports on the sisters. When she reverts to English, she is

scolded, En espaol! The more she practices, the sooner shell be back into her native

tongue, the aunts insist. Yes, and when she returns to the States, shell find herself suddenly

going blank over some word in English or, like her mother, mixing up some common phase

(Alvarez 7). Language is the most important thing to learn when immigrating to a country that

uses different language than ones native tongue. From the quote, it shows that Yolanda and her

mother had a minor conflict communicating in both languages, when they had to switch between

the two. Throughout the book, language has an important part affecting each character in

different ways including communication skills or cultural perspective. For example, when

Yolanda feels that her husband, John, could not connect with her soulfully due to his difficulties

in understanding Spanish language, Dominican culture, and heritage. She also had mental

breakdown that she was not able to communicate due to her fragmented sense of identity.

Like all families, immigrant families are diverse, complex, and have strengths and

challenges. The process of migration itself is often traumatic and not uniform (Child Welfare

Information Gateway). Each family faces its own challenges, and has different circumstances

immigrating. Even each member in the family also confronts their own conflicts either among

each other or to the outside community. Since immigrants are from different cultures, they have

to adapt themselves to the new mainstream. Some may decide to give up their own culture

completely, some may stick to their own roots, and some may be able to live comfortably in
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between. The older generations might have a stronger value in their own cultures that they are

proud of, and have an honor to keep their identity. Contrary to that, the younger generation like

little kids might find themselves more comfortable when they just ignore their own culture and

follow along with the mainstream due to being bullied or made fun of being different than others.

Another example is most people who live in America are considered as Melting Pot, which

means there are many components in culture, such as racial, religious, and definitely culture.

Like young Mexicans-Americans tend to abandon their cultural because they want to live as


To help immigrants with their transition at ease, learning the new language is a priority.

So that there will be less conflict communicating to each other. Once they are fluent in the new

language, they can pursue higher education and obtain better job opportunities. There are many

things new immigrants can and should do to learn English so they are able to integrate better into

the new country. Learning new languages and new customs will help them, their families and

their community to adjust to a new lifestyle. They will be able to obtain a good employment so

they will feel better about their new home. To maintain their cultural identity is also important,

so that they can maintain their self-respect, and keep their family ties. Educating others about

diversity of culture is also helps to reduce discrimination.

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Works Cited

Kibria, N. (1997). "The Concept of 'Bicultural Families' and Its Implications for Research on

Immigrant and Ethnic Families." In Immigration and the Family. Research and Policy on

U.S. Immigrants, ed. A. Booth, A. C. Crouter, and N. Landale. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence

Erlbaum Associates. 206.

McCarthy, K. Adaptation of Immigrant Children to the United States: A Review of the

Literature. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing Working Paper #98-03. 3-5

Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Algonquin Books, 2010.

Human Rights / Immigrant Rights - Fact Sheet | OneAmerica. Human Rights / Immigrant

Rights - Fact Sheet,


Child Welfare Information Gateway. Crossroads: The Intersection of Immigrant Enforcement

and the Child Welfare System,