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Immigrant Families and Their Life in a Foreign Land

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Humans have been migrating from a very early age when civilized life started evolving around the world. The first ever-human migration started 60,000 years before from Africa (Maps of Human Migration, n.d, para.Since then, humans have been scattered around the world in

order to find a better life and opportunities. Even in the modern age, many immigrant families can be found around the world. These families have gone through profound transformations throughout time.

What are 3 (three) things you know about this family type that you did not know before?

First, I did not know that immigrant families have been integrating parsimoniously and ethically into their migrated country for a long time. According to the article “Children of Immigrant Families,” one of every five children was a child from immigrant families or at least has one immigrant parent in the United States (Shields & Behrman, 2004, para. The data reflects that in coming years the world is going to depend more on children of immigrants. Regardless of what current United States immigration policies are, they are going to rely more on immigrant children in the near future, as these children have become the citizen, already growing and living on the land they believe, belong to them. So, they will have a high influence on a nation’s social and economic environment.

Next, I was unaware that children of immigrant families are helping to build the connections between already settled immigrants and the rest of the population with their language skills. According to Statistic Canada (2017), One-third of the children speak one official language in their household. “Children are agents of linguistic integration for their parents, either because parents encourage them to speak the language of the host country at home to help them do well in school or because the children introduce these languages into their household through school and friends” (Statistic Canada, 2017, para. 18).

Finally, I was surprised to find out that 30% of Canadian respondents believe that immigrant families increase the crime rate. (Zhang,2014, p. 2) However, the Canadian immigration system is different. Canada is not only a welfare state, which helps new immigrant families financially, but also their immigration policies include a complete criminal background check, at the border deportation policy, and they are including more educated immigrant families into the influx (Zhang, 2014, pp. 2-6). Therefore, it is less likely that an immigrant with the best educational background will involve in criminal activities and so there is limited evidence of a relationship between crime and immigrant families.

Identify at least four (4) of your biases and/or stereotypes you possess about this family type? Describe what may be the source of your assumptions.

Immigrant families are mostly labeled as an illegal and terrorist community. My first bias is that immigrant families bring peace and affinity to the country. Unfortunately, propagation of anti-immigrant trends, hate speeches, and culture of intolerance is the part of new immigrant’s culture. Immigrants came to these countries to build a sustainable life for themselves and their families. But, as an immigrant myself, I do not believe that people who had left their comfortable life in their own countries would migrate with the intentions of the destruction of their new home. Therefore, it is unfair to call everyone a terrorist or illegal migrant based on what they see or hear.

Another bias that I carry is that immigrants are the economy boosters of their migrated countries. This is especially true for the Canadian economy. The data show that the prices are falling due to less economic activity in regions like Alberta they have a lesser immigrant population (Gazette, 2016, para 2). Most Canadian immigrants are highly skilled workers and they are valuable to the Canadian economy. Moreover, many Canadian immigrants have come to Canada as business entrepreneurs. These immigrants have also established their businesses and have created multiple jobs for the Canadians, which is an important contribution to Canadian Economy

My next preference regarding the immigrant families is that they face racism at some point in their migrated country. According to my observations and readings, natives consider immigrant families poor and unemployed intruders in their land. Canadians have a fundamental belief about immigrants, which is stronger in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Montreal (“New Immigrants,” 1985). Children of immigrant families often bullied at school over skin color, language barriers or cultural differences. Furthermore, about 28% of landed immigrants reported that they were discriminated against a person in authority. (Nangia, 2016, p. 6). Discrimination promotes racism and if the authorities foist a racist behavior against an immigrant, then it will increase class conflict and immigrant families will embark to lose faith in the system (Nangia, 2013, p. 6).

My next bias about immigrant families is that they face the employment issues once they land in another country. My stereotype developed when I experienced that many family friends were leaving the country because they were not able to find jobs in their own field. And few of them ended up working at low paying jobs like warehouse jobs and coffee shops. As Dune (2016) talks about immigrants like Chug and Wei who have found difficulties to get a job because they have been considered overqualified, as both are foreign qualified.

Another bias that I share about immigrant families is their linguistic difficulties to integrate into a new culture. I have this assumption based on newspaper articles and statistic Canada. According to a research by Statistic Canada (2017), “In the 2016 Census, more than 70% of immigrants reported a language other than English or French as their mother tongue, and less than 30% reported English or French” (para.2). I consider that despite the language requirements to migrate to Canada, many immigrate cannot speak English well and their children suffer from this barrier as well. Studies show that every third child out of ten who need an ESL class was born in Canada. Linguistic obstacles have also created issues for immigrant families to integrate into the Canadian labor market (Ernst & Procaylo, 2017, para. 15).

Has the research changed your way of thinking?

First, before making a decision to migrate to another country, I believe that it is important to gather the facts and figures about that country as you are going to consider it as a new home. My assumptions are mostly based on what I read in newspapers, listen to the stories around the immigrant families and locals, and learn through TV on how our government policies are shaping new and existing immigrant’s status. Therefore, my research did not swap a lot of what I have observed as a stereotype, in an immigrant integrating society in Canada. My thoughts were not different when I read the article, “Wanting to change my country-Canada”, which tells that Canada is diverse and multicultural. It has been integrating different values and norms that the new and existing immigrants have brought with them. They call Canada home (Sheikh, 2008, para. 10). Unfortunately, other countries like the United States have encountered terrorism sometimes. But the fact is that their society and government policies are just less tolerant than that of Canada for immigrants.

Second, immigrants are the real contributors to any country’s economy. Immigrants have been active patrons who have been working tirelessly whether there are low paying jobs or may be at most demanding positions. Gazette (2016) has mentioned that economic activity is fastest in areas like Toronto and Vancouver where foreign-born workers are dense in population; so Canadian economy already has reliant exclusively (para. 3). What Gazette has revealed in his journal approves my assumptions.

Third, I believe that immigrant families are suffering a great deal of racism in other countries like the United State, France, and Australia. But, my prejudices about immigrants facing racism have rather contradicted in the light of Canadian multicultural settings. With my research, I comprehended that Canada has more of an acceptance on official and social grounds than any other country. Sheikh (2018) has described her experience in her journal “Wanting to Change My Country-Canada”. She is a born Canadian to immigrant parents in Canada. After reading her experiences, I have understood that Canada has much more to offer like education, health and identity to its immigrants than just to emphasis on racism and discrimination, which has improved a stereotype in me about racism towards immigrant families.

Next, employment is one of the most concerned issues when immigrant families are involved. It is a known fact that immigrant families face problems to find jobs when they start job search. According to my research, the real struggle in all immigrant families is to find a job according to their fields and experiences. In Canada, this issue is most discussed topics. Dunn (2016) has analyzed that Canadian experience is a priority for every employer when they offer a job. These Canadian employers often overlook the high-qualified immigrants because their experience is foreign-based. This push the Canadian immigrants to work in low paying, unstable jobs systematically. And worst part is that they get a little help to get out of this system. The lack of experience and low paying jobs are making Canadian job market distant for immigrant families which prove my biases.

Lastly, my prejudice has changed with the fact that acceptance is more important on equal grounds in cultures when immigrant families endeavour to adopt and integrate into a new culture, regardless of what language they speak. I will share my personal experience when I visited my son’s writing club in middle school; I saw that my son, who is exceptional in language, was using a sign language to communicate with a recently migrated boy. It appeared that they both developed it at some point to communicate with each other. Inclusion and acceptance at every level are some of the key factors that help immigrant families to assimilate in any culture and society.

Does the research challenge you socially (interactions with others), culturally (norms, values and beliefs), emotionally (How does it make you feel? – Frustrated, Sad etc. ) If so, why and how?

I understand that biases and stereotypes are norms in any society and they will last in society and will challenge the facts. Emotionally, I feel sad about the challenges that immigrant families face when they move to a new country. The stress of moving and adjusting to a new country can lead to anxiety and depression. But Canadian immigration policies being very welcome to newcomers gives me a positive feeling. When I migrated to Canada, I was very pleased to see that all my legal work was done in no time. The diversity of Canadian culture aids the newcomers to merge into the flow with rare substantial concern which makes me feel great.

I think that cultural differences can have a huge impact on immigrant families. I have experienced that my family has to work on my own religious and festival days. I feel that culturally, some of the things that are traditions and values for me like not shaking hands with men, and staying at home, being a woman, they are normal in the new culture that now I am a part of. But at some point, my religious beliefs do not allow me to integrate easily into a mixed society where men and women blend without hesitation. After research, although I have learned many positive aspects of immigrant-driven cultures, I can feel that, I cannot break that stereotype in me when I talk about my religious beliefs. But I feel relaxed that in a society where I live, no one forces me to join or adopt the culture. And, I can continue what I carry as a part of my cultural and religious belief, which is a beauty of a multicultural population.

Mingling with people of a different race and culture is also a new experience for immigrant families. The language barrier is one of the cardinal difficulties that outset when immigrant families meet with officials at airports or borders. After my research, I feel that the prevalent fear for an immigrant family is to connect and make an easy-going links with natives. As a newcomer, it was stressful for me to convey on behalf of myself effectively at my children’s schools. Moreover, living in a multicultural community is like living between two worlds. Socially, it challenges me because it can baffle the role of a person in society. Children pick up the lifestyle quickly and they can interpret for their elders in a situation but communicating with a doctor on behalf of an elderly person will be confusing for a younger individual and the language barrier will always challenge the new immigrant in the to communicate effectively. So, my research was challenging culturally and socially than what I experienced as an immigrant myself.

With the identified awareness of your biases and/or stereotypes, list four (4) strategies you can use to overcome your biases so that you can provide support to this family type currently or in your chosen profession.

My first strategy to overcome my own biases is to get involved in the community. One of the optimal ways to incorporate the communal is to begin volunteering at the local events to understand better about the blended community around you. Community involvement is the best way to develop skills and built a network of multicultural people to understand one’s own biases. It will be helpful to get a deep insight into how a community works with different cultures to minimize the racist biases while meeting the natives and local residents of the area. Lawson and Kearns (2009) elucidate the importance of promoting mutual support and solidarity among local groups, as they are great resources to empower the regeneration of a cultural society and reshaping the stereotypes (p. 21).

My next strategy to overcome a stereotype is to get educated. Learning more about a problem increase the awareness of one’s own biases. Difficult questions can pose challenges, but asking questions about the problem will benefit to modify the prejudices. Maybe, taking a course on overcoming biases can reduce the gap in one’s own stereotypes. If an immigrant family is undergoing linguistic issues, then learning about their problems can help to support themselves more by finding language classes and community circles for them; getting an education also means to learn about the culture and their norms. By participating in their events, trying out their foods, and attending their festivals can open up the mind and help break the stereotypes.

In a professional working environment, social involvement is foundational in any multicultural community. It is highly important to practice the professional work ethics and not let the biases dominate the work environment. By getting facts and practicing to respond the actual target can help to become a less stereotype in judgments. It is easy to develop a bias based on skin color about anyone. More biases are raised against black immigrants and Arab immigrant families as they are scrutinized deeply under the lenses of legalization and terrorism. By gaining the authentic insights can help to distinguish between the culprits and innocents, improve the split-second judgment and not getting under control by implicit stereotypes.

My last strategy to overcome my biases is to practice mindfulness. It regulates the attention towards acceptance and openness on situations and prejudice. Mindfulness helps to improve the pro-social behaviors, minimizes pre-judgments about any object, and motivates to learn new things to reduce the stereotypes (“How mindfulness,” 2012, para. 8).Furthermore, practicing mindfulness can also reduce the implicit biases as these biases influence behaviors with a less realization about a situational factor. Whether I possess positive or negative biases, these strategies will help me support immigrant families either in their current situation or at the workplace and it will maintain my position in middle of two extreme stereotypes in a multicultural environment I call my home.

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