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Spaces and Exchanges: why can immigration be an opportunity ?

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SPACES AND EXCHANGES

Hello, today I am going to deal with the notion Spaces and Exchanges. To begin with I’d like to define the notion. The notion "Spaces and exchanges" deals with the geographical and symbolic areas that all societies occupy and the interactions between men and different societies. The different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have shaped and characterised our modern-day world.

This year we studied the notion through the theme of immigration and the mix of culture.

We can ask ourselves, why can immigration be an opportunity ?

The three documents I chose for my presentation are :

-Growth of a Nation

-Mexico/USA border.

-Helping the dreamers (speech by Barack Obama)

 

 With these documents I will try to show what are the motives for immigration (to U.S.A in this case), the different types of immigrations (legal and illegal) and the American Immigration policy.

  1. Nowadays there are many types of migrations. Most of them are from the South towards the North, from poor countries to more developped countries. Most migrants are in search of a better life. In this case they have the ‘’American Dream’’ which should provide all men the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The first document, Growth of a Nation, shows us the different steps the migrants have to go through in order to step on American Soil. It is clear this document deals with legal immigration. The document tells us the tale of Ellis Island which is stated as both a place of great happiness and great sorrow. More than 12 million americans trace their U.S root to a man, woman or child who came through Ellis Island. These migrants had to go through an examination in order to be granted the right to continue their road. The first step, the Entry Examination consisted in Public Health Service Doctors looking for loathsome and contagious diseases. And entry was barred if some diseases were diagnosed. (such as Trachoma). The third step was ‘’Detention’’,  some immigrants were subject to detention per example if they were suspected of becoming public charges or if they had medical problems. They would be put in dorms with small mattresses until the government decided on their case. The last step at Ellis Island consisted in being marked with chalk initials on their clothing to denote the suspected difficulties. E for eyes, L for lameness, X for mental disability. They would then go on to solve simple arithmetic problems and wooden puzzles.

Through this document we were able to understand the different steps necessary in order to enter the United States legally, even though there are illegal ways.  

  1. The second document I chose today is an image of the border between Mexico and United States. With this document I would like to talk about illegal ways of entering the American ground. Illegal immigration remains a controversial issue these days in the USA. Most illegal immigrants want to cross the border just to work and find a job that will pay more than a local job. Most just want to get enough money to provide for their family. Even children risk their lives every day by trying to cross the wall that represents the boundaries of each country. Crossing the border is known to be very dangerous and deadly because first in order to reach the wall they must walk through the Californian desert, a dry and desolate desert. The conditions are exhausting and cause an important number of deaths. Border crossers try their best to be prepared for such conditions.
  1. The third document is a speech by American president Barack Obama in June 2012  at the White House concerning immigration policy, so this document concerns the condition of immigrants who have already reached the American soil.  In his speech the president talks about new actions taken by his administration to make the immigration policy more fair, more efficient, and more just. He says these new actions are specifically for the ‘’Dreamers’’. He describes these Dreamers as young people who study in ‘’our schools, they play in our neighbourhoods’’, ‘’play with our kids’’ and ‘’pledge allegiance to our flag’’. This description can be used to describe any American so its clear these immigrants were able to fit in this new country. These dreamers often aren’t aware they are undocumented until they apply for a scholarship or a job because they were brought in the country as infants and went on to live a normal American life. They went on to doing everything right, studying and working hard. They suddenly face the threat of being deported to their native country, a country they know nothing about. The American government with these new actions Obama is talking about, tries to ease the proceedings for the Dreamers.

To conclude, we saw through these documents the opportunity that is immigration for some people. It represents a leap of hope, wether it being legal or illegal immigration the motives are the same : a better life. And I think that shouldn’t be considered as a crime. I’ve heard a lot of stories about immigrants treated harshly and with violence. Sometimes even when the immigration process is done they are still marginalized and victims of racism in their new country. I think it’s sad because we were not all born with the same opportunities and life conditions. I find the ‘’Dream Act’’, could be a very good thing and I hope it works.

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