NY Interfaith Immigration

Immigrants: their dreams and their realities

In search of a better life

GEORGE was desperate. He couldn’t even feed his family. Diseases and hunger plagued their community. However, a few hundred kilometers to the south was a more prosperous country. I’m going there, George thought, I’ll get a job, and then I’ll have my family go to meet me, too.

Patricia from Nigeria also dreamed of a new start abroad. He had no job and no prospect of progress, so he decided to go to Algeria and from there to Spain, without imagining how terrible the journey through the Sahara desert would be.

Rachel wanted to go to Spain to improve her situation. He had lost his job in the Philippines and had been told by his relatives that domestic workers in other countries were in high demand. So she borrowed money, bought the ticket and said goodbye to her husband and daughter with this promise: “We will not be separated for long.”

It is estimated that in the last decades more than 200 million people like George, Patricia and Rachel have emigrated. Although some have fled due to war, natural disaster, or persecution, most have migrated for economic reasons. What difficulties do you find in the country you are arriving at? Do they achieve the life they longed for? How do children do when their parents leave in search of higher income? Read the answers below.

Arrival and adaptation process

The migrant’s first great difficulty is often the journey itself. George traveled hundreds of miles with little food. “The tour was a nightmare,” he recalls. Many immigrants do not even reach their destination.

Patricia’s goal was to get to Spain. He crossed the Sahara desert crowded with 25 other people in an open truck. On the way we saw many corpses and people wandering in the desert about to die. It seems that some ruthless truckers are abandoning passengers along the way. ”

Unlike George and Patricia, Rachel flew to Spain, where she had a job waiting for her.  I had to hide from the traffickers who kidnapped the immigrants and forced them into prostitution. In the end I got enough money to start the dangerous sea voyage to Spain. The boat was in terrible condition and was not prepared to carry so many people. We even had to use our shoes to get the water out! Upon reaching the coast, I had no strength left to walk to the shore. ”

Travel risks are not the only problems facing someone who is planning to go to another country. There are the language and culture barriers, as well as the costs and legal complications that come with obtaining residency or citizenship. If they are not obtained, it is almost impossible to get a good job, housing, education or adequate health services. Neither is it easy to process a driver’s license or open a bank account. And last but not least, undocumented immigrants are exploited as cheap labor.

Another factor to consider is money. Actually, how much security does it offer? The Bible gives this wise advice: “Don’t try to get rich; stop worrying about it. If you look closely, you will see that there is no wealth; suddenly they fly away, like eagles, as if wings had sprouted ”( Proverbs 23: 4, 5 , God speaks today ). Remember that  the most important things cannot be bought: love, tranquility and family unity. How sad it is when a couple, in their desire to get more money, puts in the background the love that unites them or the “natural affection” they feel for their children! ( 2 Timothy 3: 1-3 .)

Human beings also have a spiritual need ( Matthew 5: 3 ). Therefore, good parents do everything in their power to fulfill the responsibility God has given them to teach their children about him, his purpose, and his standards ( Ephesians 6: 4 ).

A united family is more important than money

Immigrant stories may vary, but most have something in common, as seen in the examples of George, Rachel, and Patricia. The family suffers when the spouse or children are left behind, and it may take years for everyone to reunite. In George’s case, more than four years passed.

Rachel finally returned to the Philippines to search for her little daughter after being separated from her for almost five years. Patricia, meanwhile, came to Spain with her baby in her arms. “She is all I have,” he says, “so I try to take care of her as best I can.”

Many immigrants do not return to their country despite loneliness, financial problems and the long separation from their loved ones. Why? Because they have invested so much that, when things go wrong, they don’t have the courage to cut it short, go home and suffer possible humiliation.

Allan from the Philippines had the courage to return. Although he had found a good job in Spain, after a year and a half he was back at home. He explains: “I missed my wife and baby too much. So I decided that I would never work abroad again if I couldn’t take them with me; And over time, that’s what I did. Family is far more important than money. “

Patricia discovered something else that is more important than money. When she arrived in Spain, she had a New Testament with her. “It was my amulet,” he recalls. Later I met a Jehovah’s Witness. I had never wanted to talk to the Witnesses, so I started asking her a lot of questions with the intention of proving her wrong. To my surprise, he defended his beliefs and answered my questions with the Bible. ”



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