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Jaquelyn Salinas

Professor Batty

English 28

13 November 2017

Unity of Families is Affected by Immigration

Over the last several years, immigration has had a huge impact in the world, specially in

the United States. In 2015 statistics showed that the US is the most immigrated country in the

world with approximated 46627102 immigrants (The Telegraph). Immigrants often immigrate to

this country in search of a better life for them and their families. Parents leave their families to

come here to work for them but there is also parents who decide to immigrate with their families.

And yet, when we talk about immigration and the family, it doesnt matter in what category you

fit in; immigration will always end up affecting the family by separating it. It will be separated

either by distance or by the struggles of adapting to a new country.

Family in general is a term of unity but when we relate it with immigration this could

definitely change. Families that are separated because one or the two parents decide to immigrate

to another country like the United States, are the ones who suffer the most. These families suffer

the most because first of all, the children are separated from their parents and are forced to grow

without their parents and vice versa.

Secondly, these families suffer the most also because the parents have to deal with the

struggles of being new to the country; they have to find jobs where they aren't required to speak

because they dont know the language. According to MPI (Migration Policy Institute), 85

percent of the people who took a survey say it is hard to get a good job or do well in this country
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without learning English; only 12 percent say it is easy. My dad is one of those that say its hard

because he did struggle finding a decent job when he came to this country.

Lastly, these parents are also prone to get depressed and isolate themselves from this new

society full of culture differences. As a result of this depression the family will be separated even

more as they will opt for the easy way to get out of the whole they're in; they will try drinking,

smoking or finding other partners forgetting what they've left behind in their homelands.

Although my dad didnt do any of that, he does agree that he sometimes thought of doing it.

Though leaving your loved ones behind to give them a better future could be devastating

to the familys unity, bringing them with you might not be the best idea either. Families who

immigrate together will be united in the beginning but as the time goes on, each member will

choose their own path. Children are most likely to tear apart from their parents when they move

to a new place because they begin to have trouble with the language. Not having the ability to

speak the language might frustrate them and when theres no place to practice the little English

theyre learning, the process might take longer. But if they happen to establish the rule to speak

English also at home, they would no longer feel comfortable talking to each other because there

would be language barriers stopping them from expressing themselves in the way that they want

to. For example, the book Hunger of Memory, an autobiography written by Richard Rodriguez,

narrates how his family was separated by the process of learning a new language. But the

special feeling of closeness at home was diminished by then. Gone was the desperate, urgent,

intense feeling of being at home; rare was the experience of feeling myself individualized by my

family intimates. We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no

longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness
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(Rodriguez 3). This quote represents that language is very important in the family; when families

immigrate, they come speaking the same language but as they establish in a place such as the

US; they will all have the struggle to learn English and will they either find a way to deal with

this problem together or this will be one more reason of separation.

Other factors that might contribute with the separation of the family when they immigrate

are the culture differences along their own personal growth. Culture are the beliefs, values and

behaviors that are passed through generations. When families immigrate to other countries,

parents put their children in risk of learning a new culture as they grow up instead of the one that

they want them to learn. In the process of assimilation, it is easy for them to adopt a new culture

to fit in the new society. Adopting different beliefs will cause a controversy between parents and

children because they will not share the same beliefs neither have the same perspectives. This

will provoke the family breakup, as it happened to the girls in the book How the Garcia Girls

Lost Their Accents. This book is about four girls who must adjust to a new environment while

finding their own identities. The Garcia family go through different phases where the parents

decide to commit their daughters to mental hospitals because they cannot reach out to their

daughters during emotionally challenging times. In this book we also see how their personal

growth contributes to this separation. We began to develop a taste for the American teenage

good life, and soon, Island was old hat, man. By the end of a couple of years away from home,

we had more than adjusted. And of course, as soon as we had, Mami and Papi got all worried

they were going to lose their girls to America (Alvarez 109). This quote shows how the girls did

get to adapt to this new place but would still struggle to remain the same and dont forget their

roots so that they stay united as a family.

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Of course, many people will disagree on the grounds that immigration separate families.

They will say that parents who immigrate without their children, in a certain amount of time they

reunite with their families and become more united than ever. And parents who immigrate with

their families struggle so much in the process of assimilation that build a strong bond; this bond

keeps them together, making it easy for them to face whatever obstacle coming their way. On the

one hand, I agree with them that families reunite and might be together but on the other hand, I

still insist that immigration in one way or another will always end up breaking families apart

because the families will go through the process of adaptation and assimilation either way .

In conclusion, it is difficult for families to assimilate immigration. The family will always

be separated by the struggles of adjusting to a new country or by the piece of land that separates

some parents from their children when they come to the United States or other countries looking

for better jobs to send money for their children. Immigration is something that cant be avoided,

but it could be managed. What I would suggest to all parents is that before immigrating they

should make a plan for them and their children to stay together and go through all these issues

together as a family, communicating with each other, helping one another and being open to

learn new cultures without losing your own.

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Works Cited

Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Algonquin Books, 2013.

Farkas, Steve. What Immigrants Say About Life in the United States.,

Migration Policy Institute, 2 Mar. 2017,

Kirk, Ashley. Mapped: Which Country Has the Most Immigrants? The Telegraph, Telegraph

Media Group, 21 Jan. 2016,


Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory: the Education of Richard Rodriguez: an

Autobiography. Dial Press Trade Paperbacks, 2005.