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American Soldier

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Immigration Experience Paper
Nicholas Georgeson
University of Phoenix
HIS/120
Christina Winn
May 17, 2013

Immigration Experience Paper
This is the beginning of what is bound to be an extensive journey. Between the poor state of the economy and the growing oppression of the Italian government I have had enough. There are rumors throughout the town about America, it sounds amazing. We are able to be free and make something of ourselves. This is the chance our family has been waiting for. They say that people in this land are able to not only be free but can choose a religion of their choice. The families in the area have been feuding of the Lutheran/catholic sides for too long. I want to move and be free to choose for myself.
We are poor and have only the availability of steerage tickets. There were horrid rumors about these spots on the boat. They all ended up being true. We had no eating places, only salt water to wash and drink with. People were crammed into places that no human should have to live in. We were constantly worried about any of the sick on the boat and constantly saw death all around us. The trip felt like it would never end. I had the luxury of seeing the people above us in the other classes as I was boarding. They had enough room to fit five people in one part of their room. They had nice living and dining arrangements and we constantly pampered throughout the trip. We were left to fend for ourselves until the ship landed. The whole trip we had to entertain ourselves with music and dancing in what little space we had. They set up groups for us to prepare for the interview when we would arrive in Ellis Island. I was lucky enough to already speak a little English and became significantly better on the trip thanks to the others helping me practice.
As we drew closer to Ellis Island the rumors became stronger and louder about rejections and getting sent back to Italy. Everyone was worried and tensions rose the closer we got. The rumors all died down when we first saw the statue of Liberty for the first time. It was a sign of better things to come. When the ship first pulled in we were all told to stay where we were so we could be examined. They walked around testing and checking all of us for hours and did not finish until the sun was already set. They let the other classes off on a different path to us and walked them all straight off the island. They were gone from sight before any of us were even at the interviews. We waited for a long period of time just to get a view of the outside of the ship.
When we finally arrived in Manhattan we all left the ship and exchanged the money we brought for American money. We then went to our housing in New York. It was good to be in our new home despite how cramped it was. I had already lined up a job in a factory for extremely low pay. We will struggle but will succeed in fulfilling our dream. The people here treat immigrants as though we are lesser people. They talk down to us and disrespect us with every chance they get. This is not what I pictured for my family when we were first planning on moving. We will have to make the opportunities for ourselves with hard work and dedication.
The factory is dangerous and loud. The people are mean and treat the immigrants with no respect. We have to earn our place in this society. We will make the best of this. This is what we wanted. The hours are long anywhere from 12-16 hours a day and the pay is low, Barely enough to survive. I will continue to work hard and establish roots for my family to strive.
My children will have the same opportunity to succeed that I did. However with the attitude of the locals and the low pay we are receiving I fear that they will be doing the same thing that I am.

References
Clark, H. L. (January 8, 2010). Ellis Island Immigrants: Italian, Irish and Polish. Retrieved from http://ellis-island-immigration.com/ellis-island-immigrants-italian-irish-and-polish/
The Immigrant Journey. (2008-2012). Retrieved from http://www.ohranger.com/ellis-island/immigration-journey

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