The American Dream: Then and Now

american people immigration background

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american people immigration background

When I think of the American Dream, I’m not sure what people expect me to say. I asked Latino teenagers and family members from the ages of 16 to 36 what they thought the American Dream was. They immediately shared stories about their personal experiences. It was easy for them to recall and talk about what happened to them. Teenagers had shorter stories about the way they took flights to get here. The adults had longer stories. They spoke of how difficult it was for them.

But when I spoke to an American lady, she thought about it first. After some time, she responded that everyone aspires to achieve a dream and that it shouldn’t be limited to an “American Dream.” I totally agree with her. The dream we speak of is for immigrants as well as Americans. This country is a highly desirable nation to live in. Our probability of getting a better education and improving our welfare is 10 times higher, but it all comes down to how hard we try.

Our sacrifice starts the moment we decide to abandon our homeland, and the stories of this journey vary from generation to generation. After all, most of our parents or grandparents came to this country illegally. They walked on and on accompanied only by the blazing sun in the days and sometimes freezing winds in the nights. Every day they fed themselves with hope, but they couldn’t escape the fear that at any moment they could be caught by those whose duty was to “protect” the nation.

Coming to America, however, has been less challenging for the new generation than it was for our parents and for their parents. Perhaps that’s why some young people don’t appreciate America as much as their parents did. They have different mindsets than those who came here before us.

My advice for young people like me who moved away from their countries is not to throw away this great opportunity. Don’t lose sight of your mission to achieve your goals. It is not worth it to come this far to quit everything just because we feel insecure. Do this for yourself and for those who helped you make this possible.