The way immigrants were treated in the 1870’s is not different from how they are treated today. The feeling of isolation and discrimination as well as living in poverty has not change throughout the years. The only difference between an 1870’s immigrant and one from today is their ethnicity. Centuries later, the newcomers are still not wanted in the United States and face a repressive anti-immigration law every day. These laws force them back to a country where their American-citizen children do not know, a land which they were trying to escape from, in the lookout for a better life.
In the 1870’s, immigrant would live in crowded apartments and would work exhausting hours for slave-wages in order to keep themselves alive. Sound familiar? Today, new immigrants end up living in crowded apartments with friends, family members, or people from the same town they immigrated from. Old or new immigrants face themselves with the same problems; they both have to adapt themselves to this country, work for long hours with less than minimum wage, do the dirtiest and hardest jobs, and be pressured to learn a new language.
New research shows that not only new immigrants but also children raised here by immigrant-parents are at a significant disadvantage compared to citizens. Immigrants’ lives are ruled through fear. Contrary to popular beliefs, they do not swallow up government funding. In fact, immigrants do not know their rights and most of the time are kept in the dark about programs that help with children care, early education, and other assistance. With deportation looming over their head, they are the least likely to seek help. this disparity is passed down to the child, thus continuing the cycle of inequality. parents are unable to guide them in school. Immigrants and children of immigrants continue to live in the shadows, and make up the other [poor] half of the United States.
Immigrants have been the base from which America has been build on. Since the 1870’s they are the ones working hard in factories, long hours with minimum wage and today, working in farms, under the blazing sun for only 59¢ a bucket and facing deportation because of anti-immigration laws. It is because of immigrants that citizens today enjoy labor benefits, such as unionized health insurance and job security. Immigrants— in factories, mills, mines, and rails — have fought hard to raise the standard of living for all workers. Therefore, an attack of immigrants is an attack on the civil liberties of all people.
How the Other Half Lives, Still Editor Published: May 26, 2011