Emotional Stress

Before the start of this unit, I didn’t know all of the struggles that undocumented immigrants faced emotionally while in America. Watching the movie I Learn America and reading the article about Monique Ngombo gave me better understanding as to what emotional problems they faced on a daily basis. Monique Ngombo was a refugee from the Central African Republic, and attends a local public school called Patterson High school. She is the only one that speaks her language at her school, has no friends and doesn’t even know which bus stop to get off in order to get to her own house. In the movie that we watched in class, the students all went to the International School in Brooklyn. Brandon, a 16 year old from Guatemala, left his native land and walked in the Mexican Desert for three days, and came to America on Christmas. Brandon has a lot of pressure from his parents because he is not doing very well in school, never doing his homework and only playing soccer in his downtime. His parents take him out of school and make him get a job, but at the end they give him another chance to do something with his life that his parents never got the opportunity to do. With many undocumented immigrants like Brandon, there is constant pressure put on to themselves to do well because if they don’t succeed they will end up with a low paying job just like their parents. Even though we were only given one example of an undocumented immigrant that failed and had to go back to working in a low paying job, I’m sure that many people are in the same boat as Brandon. One bad choice can put you in the same shoes as their parents, or even sent back to their native land. Brandon was scared of being deported back to his country, since he came here illegally. Every time someone knocked on his door at his house he was scared that someone would take him away.

Since Monique lives in an area familiar to me, it puts her situation into a perspective that I can see easier than someone from out of the state. The area of Patterson High school isn’t the best place in town, and even though I don’t know where she lives, she lives in the Baltimore City district, which can be a hard place to live. Being an immigrant, she doesn’t have the most luxurious life. Although I will never be able to experience the emotional stress and pain that she goes through on a daily basis, her living in Baltimore city as in immigrant puts her life into better perspective.

Just living with the fear of being sent away and losing everything that you have worked for is scary and something people like us will never have to experience. We are so blessed to be able to go to a private school like Friends School, and have a safe roof to sleep under and to always have a meal on our table to eat evernight. A lot of these kids have to worry about these things daily. I knew before this unit that just from an emotional standpoint, life is harder being an immigrant than a documented citizen in America, but I didn’t know that emotionally, being an immigrant is as hard as it is.