Immigration is the act of moving from one country to another for the purpose of seeking permanent residence in the new country. Moving from one country to another country may not be an easy escapade especially if you are having your family with you. The entire process leads to many challenges which may include both physical and emotional challenges. The person will have to leave all his/her friends and relatives and set on for a journey to a completely new environment, where you don’t know anyone, even no one in the family has a good grasp of the language being spoken. The disconnection that occurs when one moves brings a lot of uncertainties to the family involved. Actually settling in a complete new environment, presents one with a myriad of setbacks which may impact, the social, economic and health status of those families that are involved, very negatively. This essay will comprehensively discuss the challenges and problems that families encounter due to immigration.
As a result of immigration, family ties are involved in being managed across the national boundaries.In some instances, some family members may not be willing to immigrate while others may fail to be allowed to immigrate, in addition, immigrant may be having insufficient funds for supporting family relatives. Immigrants are involved in showing ingenuity in matters concerning the provision of food, medical items, clothing and money to family relatives having less access to some of the resources in the home state. Items are involved in being shipped directly to the family members or doing complex exchanges which are aimed at ensuring that items will finally reach the intended relatives. “The immigrant family may be involved in giving money to another family in the immigration state where in turn the family will be involved in instructing their relatives in the home country to give some money which is same as the one given by the immigrant” (Booth pp. 45). Therefore there is a problem in proving for family members in the home country since there are lengthy and sophisticated procedures which have to be involved so that for an immigrant to be involved in the provision of necessities in his or her home country.
Immigration families do also face a myriad of mental effects which consequently impact the families very negatively. Starting with the children, most immigration families particularly those that are not documented, are in some cases are put behind the bars, therefore leaving their children under the care of other families. These children tend to suffer from clinical levels of depression, anxiety due to separation as well as low self-esteem. A recent research which was conducted by psychologist Luis H. Zakaya confirmed that immigrant families are mentally affected by the fact that they keep on thinking that they can be deported any time something that disturbs their well-being significantly.
In addition, immigrants residing in the new country are involved in creating new family life being influenced by past cultural customs and new living ways in the country. The family is affected by the new cultural and social activities which are taking place in the new country of residing. “The new family formed has no exact cultural characteristics from either home country or country of residing” (Cohen pp. 145). Such families are involved in exemplifying integration or bicultural adjustments where they are not assimilated. Bicultural families which are formed in the new country become possible in instances where there is sufficient number of ethnic community. The creation of the new culture becomes important about the families formed in the country of immigration. This affects the family cultural beliefs since the newly formed family is does not have the same culture as compared to home country and residing country. Therefore immigration has contributed to formation of new families having different cultural characteristics. According to research the formation of the bicultural family results from the immigrant family’s cultural backgrounds, social and economic circumstances. The immigrants may be involved in thinking that their traditional backgrounds are timeless over the time but can be involved in the interpretation of the present issues basing on the past cultural beliefs. The understanding of the new culture is important in the reinforcing of the traditional family behaviors and values. The social influence like the presence of close kins and balancing of sex ratio helps in the maintenance of the traditional family life. The absence of the older relatives from the family who should be involved in helping the new formed family affects the performance the structure and operation of the family where husbands are involved in helping their wives in the new family setup. The newly formed family lacks immediate relatives in the country of immigration making it difficult to create family ties among the family members and their relatives in the other country of origin (Cohen pp. 145). There is imbalance between male and female which necessitates intermarriage from another culture which leads too formation of a new family structure having members from different backgrounds in the society.
Moreover the young immigrants are involved in incorporating new western values as compared to parents, women and men who are aged. This is because they have independence and freedom as compared to others in the country of immigration. They are not tied into traditional roles as the other older immigrants who were first influenced by their traditional backgrounds. Women are involved in raising their children so as to suit and understandd the traditions in their culture and as well be involved in fitting in the new cultural setting. there is normally pressure to retain some of the traditional gender roles as well as gaining other cultural and gender roles the newly formed families which is separate from home relatives leads to formation of the new family background which is not heavily influenced by the family background. “The young immigrants are not heavily influenced by their traditional cultural activities leading to them being easily converted and adjusted to the new way of life” (Hollifield pp. 50). The family beliefs and gender roles then changes to fit those in the country of immigration. It is important for one to retain some of the traditional cultural beliefs and values which help in formation of bicultural family in the newly formed family (Hollifield pp. 50). The extended family in the new families in the country of immigration does not play any role contributing into new formed family.
The legal system in the country of immigration may some of the cultural practices illegal. What is legal or ethical is not legal in another country. This affects the newly formed families in the country of immigration since they can find some practices being unpractical in the new country. The families being formed by immigrants are therefore affected by the legal system in the country f immigration. this contributes too formation of family having different social practices, gender roles and cultural activities which are different as compared to other families in the home country. Although it is difficult to come up with new cultural practices in such cases the new immigrant formed families have to adapt to changes in its cultural structure in the country of immigration. In addition the legal system may add other cultural and legal practices which are different from the one in the home country. This contributes to forming a new family which has different cultural and legal practices as compared to relative families in the home country (Booth pp. 45). Therefore the cultural practices of a given country are affected either negatively or positively.
In addition, economic circumstances are involved in shaping the family lived in the country of immigration. The women in the newly formed family may be earning where they have more money than the men. In such instances, the female may have authority as compared to men. This contributes to a change in the family operation in the newly formed family. In addition change in the economic situation of family members may lead to changing the family lifestyle. Sometimes families uphold some standards living because of their economic situation. In case the families acquire money becomes economically stable they can be involved in having a new way of life as compared to older and their relative families in the home country. In case the newly formed families have no enough financial resources they are sometimes assisted by family member’s relatives. In the country of immigration, there is not the availability of relatives. This makes the families develop some social ties between families of the unrelated households or individuals to come together and start new family ties which are unrelated. Therefore the economic circumstances of families can contribute in forming of the family ties of unrelated people for assistance purpose. finally, in the instances where there is no employment for immigrants family or ethnic business is viewed as the optional solutions for the new immigrant families having difficulties in getting employment in the non-ethnic labor markets. Ethnic business leads to having economic support to the families (Hollifield pp. 50). Therefore immigration leads to creating an ethnic business which helps in supporting a newly formed family in the country of immigration.
Moreover, immigration beings untold misery to the family members and its starts with the initials that take place when before one is cleared to move out of the country. Generally, before moving out of the country you will have to carry out numerous legal clearance procedures that may turn to be very unfriendly. In addition, you will to leave your job and be depending on your saving before you can leave. In cases, the clearance may extend to long durations hence making the immigrating families finish their savings that they may be surviving on. This may impact them negatively emotionally and physically at this point it will be quite a difficulty for the family to get good medical attention, therefore if a member of the family gets sick, and then it will have been dealt a big blow (Georgiades et al p.1580). In addition, the families have the stress of leaving their friends behind and moving on to complete knew environments that they don’t know anyone. This may prompt the family members to develop some behavioral disorders in extreme cases, especially by the thought of meeting hostile and unfriendly to the country one is moving to. In other cases, you may find that the family which is migrating has little knowledge about the language which is used in the foreign lands. Therefore, the family may need to enroll some of the family members to elementary schools to be taught the basics particularly about the language something that may not be an easy and viable task. This may also affect the family emotionally, more so if the family includes the old also moving to the new country.
New immigrants usually secure low paying jobs which may not be able to facilitate their expensive that they might be having back in their original families. Being in a new environment has never been an easy thing especially when in a completely new set up where no one regards or knows you. The uphill task comes in during job searching expedition. In new countries immigrants will generally have no option but take up very low paying jobs which have no medical insurance, if you happen to get sick at this time you might not like the move, all will never be well with you. You may find other cases where the family members cannot be able to communicate effectively, therefore when a family member visits a hospital he/she might not be able to communicate with the doctor effectively. Often, they will find it very hard to understand any prescriptions that the doctor might give them. This might prompt their health to deviate towards the negativity (Georgiades et al p.1586).
Rising up the children in a new environment is also a key challenge that immigrants come across. “The children usually get Americanized very quickly, and they may adopt new cultures that may be compromising their traditional cultures back in their original countries and therefore put the children at logger’s heads with their families” (Pumariega, p.507).
In addition, young children often tend to take up new languages faster their parents; this situation may prompt the children to utilize this capability to their advantage due to a developed parent-child rivalry. In other cases, the children may find it hard concentrating in school as they may not catch up with the language being learned in the school. Cases of discrimination have also been repetitively reported due to cultural differences. The children in other schools may be places various grades according to their ages and not necessarily to their intellectual capacity, those who cannot speak fluent English may find everything to be unfriendly and may force them to stay out of school (Pumariega, p.508). To make the matters worse, the parents of the children may be illiterate and therefore they may not be of great significance to the children when it comes to assisting in doing homework.
Immigrants not only find it rather the difficulty in securing a viable job but also in securing housing. The low paying jobs that the immigrants secure, may not be able to sustain safe and good housing facilities. The immigrants will, therefore, be forced to take refuge in the worst places which are marred with a lot of insecurity as they cannot be able to live in good apartments due to financial constraints. This may be too much for them and therefore prompt them to develop emotional complications, additionally; the health of those particular immigrants might be adversely affected as the environment in which they are living might not be that friendly. There are cases where immigrants are forced to live in groups; you will find two or more families staying in the same apartment. This may prove to be traumatizing.
The next big challenge is through transportation, immigrants, go through all sorts of challenges for them to secure driving licenses, in fact, it is extremely difficult for a variety of reasons. In the event the immigrants are allowed to take undergo driving schools, those illiterate immigrants will find it very difficult to keep up with the others. This is because they may need translators who might prove to be very hard to come by. In addition, it will be very hard for one to pass the driving test exam if you don’t understand English. Lucky families may get a single car, but that would not be able to sort out the transport challenge in all family members. In this case usually, the man keeps the car leaving the wife, children and any other family member at the mercies of their friends’ means of transport. This limits the family in so many activities and it will be very hard for students to attend extra commitments like the ESL classes as well as medical appointments (Pumariega, p.508). Since the immigrants are new in the place and are not familiar with the new environment they might not be knowing the directions of various places; simply not knowing the best routes that can lead them to where they might be going. This might force them to remain indoors even if they want to go for outings. In this case, the immigrants may be tempted to be thinking about their home countries something that may stress them to the extent of triggering depression in them.
Cultural barriers may hinder the immigrants from socializing with the people in the country. Usually, most western countries have diverse cultures and they very quiet are westernized something that might miss in their cultures from their home countries. The immigrants can find the cultures incompatible and may actually take a lot of time to accept it as part of their of their lives. The complete new cultures usually transcend each and every aspect of the immigrants’ lives. This may start with the language itself, different foods, and different social patterns among others. Even the dressing styles, the forms of religion may be very different from what the immigrants are used to back in their home countries. These challenges may even make the immigrants to lose their focus since when coming from their home countries they are usually promised of the good life, well-paying jobs as well as the low general cost of life but upon arriving at the foreign countries they find everything to be completely different. This fact may prompt many workers to live a very stressful life.
To conclude immigration has affected the families in the country of immigration. The family gender roles, structure and cultural aspects are affected by immigration. After immigrants have reached new country or country of immigration they experience nee environment having different cultural, legal, political, social and economic factors which affect the families. Immigrants are forced to start new families which has bicultural characteristics since there is no assimilation. The newly formed family have different cultural, economic and social structures as compared to home country family. Therefore immigration is involved in influencing the newly formed families positively and negatively in the country of immigration.
Booth, Alan, et al. Immigration and the family: Research and policy on US immigrants.Routledge, 2012.
Cohen, Steve. Immigration Controls, the Family and the Welfare State: A Handbook of Law,
Theory, Politicsand Practice for Local Authority, Voluntary Sector and Welfare State Workers and Legal Advisors. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001.
Hollifield, James, Philip L. Martin, and Pia Orrenius, eds. controlling immigration: A global perspective. Stanford University Press, 2014.
Georgiades, Katholiki, Michael H. Boyle, and Eric Duku. “Contextual influences on children’s mental health and school performance: The moderating effects of family immigrant status.” Child Development 78.5 (2007): 1572-1591.
Pumariega, Andres J., and Eugenio Rothe. “Leaving no children or families outside: the challenges of immigration.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 80.4 (2010): 505-515.
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