The Welcoming Mat

The welcoming mat

                Being ignorant, or having no plain clue of the world you are living in only sets yourself up to get used as a doormat in what we call the “Land Of Opportunity”.  Workers like Lupe, or immigrants that are undocumented often suffer, because they have no clue of what to expect upon arriving to the United States.  Many grown adults take jobs that we as citizens of America tend to look down at.  Job’s such as working as fast food restaurant employees, janitors, and sweat shops.  I think that many have no clue, but settle there because life is a lot similar there, than in their own country.  How far can you go in a country with a totally different language other than your own?  Many immigrants have no choice but deal with the consequences of being used as a doormat, because they are undocumented and not protected under United States laws.  They also suffer because they do not speak English, which makes it hard for them to understand.

                Many immigrants come to the United States for various reasons, such as to live in freedom, to practice their own religion freely, to escape poverty or oppression, and to make better lives for themselves and their children.  They come to live the “American Dream”, but have no clue what is at state for them upon arrival.  Taking a look at it our country was built by immigrants, and it goes back to the year of 1500, the great European migration.  Settlers from Europe and Asia came to seek fortune, but many people from Africa, and Caribbean were brought forcibly to America to work as forced laborers.

                Immigrants back then did not act like immigrants today.  They attacked the Native Americans, and although Native Americans could not fight back with guns, they did what they could to defend themselves.  The immigrants in this day in age come here in groups; some with their families, while risking possible turn-a-round or jail-time. The journey to a better life in the United States also risks the possibility of death, and starvation.  Immigrants come here wearing pretty much only the clothes they have on, and do it either by land, or water.  All to live the “American Dream” but not knowing how life would be while pursuing that life. 

                Today in our age, many large companies rely on temporary workers, which many so happen to be undocumented immigrants like Lupe.  These firms often recruit undocumented immigrants because the fear of deportation means immigrants are helpless under U.S. law to fight worker abuse.  Being helpless under U.S. law immigrant workers withstand a lot of abuse, and face additional pressure not to speak out because they can lose their jobs or worse face deportation back to their own country, and face possibly jail time.  This treatment that many immigrants face is no different than from the treatment in their own collectivist society, which hinders them from the same freedoms that we have living in an individualistic society such as the United States, and that is why they come here in the first place.  In “Harmony And The Dream” by David Brooks, he explains the differences between a individualistic society, and a collectivist society.  David states that “The individualistic societies tend to put rights and privacy first.  People in these societies tend to overvalue their own skills and overestimate their own importance to any group effort.” “People in collectivist societies tend to value harmony and duty.  They underestimate their own skills and are more self-effacing when describing their contributions to group efforts.”

                Putting myself in an immigrant’s situation, I feel that it is better off to be ignorant, than knowing too much!  Being ignorant does have risks of harming you in the long run, but it keeps you out of the spotlight.  Ignorant workers are protected, but still have a high risk of being deported back to their own country.  It all stems around what conditions can you tolerate? The tolerance of conditions such as long hours, low pay, and also being looked down at because you do not understand how the system works.  Some employers view immigrants as being dumb, but they are really not.  They just do not understand how the system works, and it takes time.  Anyone would struggle going into a whole new country with totally different system than their own.  Another thing it boils down to is how much you want to live in the “Land Of Opportunity” to make a better life for you and your family.  Knowing too much will not get you any further than someone ignorant.  It just means that your risks of being deported are higher than a person willing to suffer through worker abuse, and if you do not have groups of immigrants that are employed with you than you really have no voice.  Knowing too much also risks chances of you being fired from your job, being labeled as an outcast among your fellow employees or employer, that will further put you in a position of being alone.