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an immigrant’s life May 24, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in America, contemplation, india, politics.

Jeff Jacoby has an interesting post on the immigration problem in the Boston Globe….especially his starting is quite riveting ….

Amid the din over illegal immigration, I have been thinking about two immigrants I happen to know rather well.

One is a 3-year-old boy from southern Guatemala. He was brought to the United States in March 2004, one of 11,170 adopted orphans to immigrate that year. The other, who will turn 81 in August, comes from a small village in what is now Slovakia. He entered the United States in the spring of 1948, a few months before his 23d birthday.

Born an ocean and 78 years apart, these two immigrants might seem on the surface to have little in common. But as naturalized US citizens, they in fact have a great deal in common. English, to mention the most obvious example, is the primary language for both. Neither retains the customs of his native land. Both have a share in the American constitutional patrimony.

The little boy from Guatemala is my younger son. The older man from Slovakia is my father.”

Read complete article here. This was linked from an equally interesting, but more about the political debate on immigration, post here.

We guys who come from places where our parents’ native places are barely miles away or sometimes walking distances and often settle a few 100 kms from our ancestral homes – we will never know what it is to be in such a position. I particularly have in mind European and East Asian settlers in the United States. Cynics might speak of a identity crisis that it causes but if that were true, this nation should have been one of 200 million inferiority complexes.

Yes, such a thing as an identity crisis does exist – but in a majority of the cases, over time it disappears and if you not, people leave for home – because afterall, you leave or stay because you want to or otherwise. This ofcourse is the case of recent immigrants – people who immigrated from Europe or East Asian in the pre-war and post war years have decidedly made the United States their home.

At this point, I must refer to one particularly touching article that Jhumpa Lahiri, an engaging writer and a charming woman, wrote – I should link it again. Brilliant ones both articles !



1. Deepak Krishnan - May 24, 2006

its nice to see how immigrants to america blend well with the system and the existing american society lets them lead their lives without grumbling.
contrast this with whats happening in bangalore. imigrants from other states curse bangalore whereas bangaloreans suddenly want a language based distinction to creep in. dialogues like “these guys have effed up B’lore”, “B’lore sucks. The ppl here are ignorant poor wretches who have seen money because of us”….

the best part is, the same guys (from both camps) will not behave the same way if they had been in a foreign land…

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