Here From There: The Immigration Experience

Ms. Maroney’s Class Reflects

            Lady Liberty.  Her inscription can be recited by millions of Americans, new and not so new to the US.  “Yearning to breathe free.” “Tempest-tossed to me.”  “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”  These phrases resonate still from more than a hundred years ago.  And though that “door” is not quite as goldenly open as it was in 1883, it is a daily and controversial debate in this country. 48%-42% agree with Donald Trump’s initiative, according to Fox News but 51% to 42% disagree according to, and, according to a Quinnipiac poll on March 8th, 63% of illegal immigrants “should be allowed to stay in the US”, but 55% agreed that criminals should be deported.  With this debate percolating around the country, Ms. Maroney’s 8th grade class reflected on their readings from today and from past decades as part of the 8th grade Immigration Unit in English.  About the reflections, Ms. Maroney wrote:

“Throughout the 8th grade curriculum, there is a major focus on reading diverse texts around the topic of immigration. With this being said, this was an opportunity for all students in my class to share their own personal stories with their peers on what it means to be an immigrant migrating to the United States in search of a better future with more opportunities.  Through this writing assignment, students shined and felt truly passionate about presenting their experiences-- both positive and negative-- living and assimilating here in the United States of America.  Although this assignment was meant to be a simple "Free Write Friday", all students in the class wanted to hear and share actual stories about their peers’ journeys to America. By the end of this discussion, students truly established a family in Room 244.”

Here are some of their thoughts…

One of the hardest things for me here in America is leaving my family. It is so difficult to not be able to see them every day. The most positive part of being here, though, is my teachers who help me and the opportunities I have for an education. I will make a positive future for myself because that is why I came to the USA.

­-Gustavo Morales

I was born in Brazil and came to America when I was 13 years old.  In my opinion,

both countries are great in their own way.  America has a big strong economy, it is

safe, and the education here is 100 times better than it was in Brazil.  However, Brazil

is beautiful and the people all know each other and are “connected” by friendship…also the diversity of people that live in America.  In Brazil, I think it is safe to say that

99% of the people are Brazilians, and America has people from everywhere in the world…

- Eduardo Dudtra

What I think about America is that it is a great place for new people to come in and

enjoy their stay…a big problem is pollution and throwing trash in streets and even the

ocean which could destroy the food chain under water and could get people sick…

- Melvin Fuentes

The United States is a country with a lot of benefits and risks. Is a country without violence, a country with opportunities, with free education, with religion freedom, and freedom of speech. In others countries you cannot express yourself, and if you give your opinion you can be killed… America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country…

- Pamela López, 8th grade student who has been in the United States for two years

I was born in America so I never journeyed here. My grandparents, however, were

born in Cuba so they journeyed here. I like America because it allowed people to

be free, is not a communist country, and does not have monarchy or have dictator

leaders, has a good education system, and has freedom for women…

- Caitlyn Tupper

…Another problem with our country is that we're in debt of about 18 trillion dollars

and the government doesn't do anything about  it  and the only thing that they do is

increase the limit every year.

-Wendell Ramos

…I think that I should be proud that I am American and our country is, I would

say, the strongest country in the world. America has many things that other

countries don't have, positive and negative.

-Christopher Morandi

I think living America has a lot of benefits and a lot of detriments… our government uses three branches to balance all the power, so we don’t turn into a monarchy or dictatorship….

-Nick Iuvara

…When they [parents] came America it was hard at first to learn the language and to get a job, but they got through all of that. After about three years they were like this is a place of dreams and hope…

-Luis Nieto Granados

…In my view about America, America is a good country to get an education and opportunities in life. You could get a job, go to school and have freedom…

-Joseph Acevedo

America is a great place to live because we have freedom and are presented with more opportunities...

-Kristen Cox

…Another good thing is that we all have freedom of speech. You can go and protest whatever you think is right, but one thing that they shouldn't allow is crazy protests like when they burn cars and break windows and start beating people up just because they don't agree with what you think…

-Natalie Antunes

…This country has also been in debt for a tremendous amount of time, and the “money owing” (West Side Story reference) only seems to grow. While these problems may be in dire need of being addressed, the USA still has many terrific aspects. For example, most—if not all - Americans are supportive of one another and always do their best to benefit the greater good. We as a nation have collaborated and have been able to achieve amazing things.

-Maya Diaz

The benefits of sharing and accepting differences allow our nation to flourish and grow with improvements and choices. More specifically, it allows our people to have variety opposed to the same mundane thing. On the contrary, however, having so much diversity and contradictory beliefs and perspectives creates conflict and confrontation because closed minded people do not accept something that they are not familiar with.

-Ms. Maroney

I'm in my 34th year of teaching, 33 of them in Mineola.  I teach 8th and 11th grade English at the high school, and I am the adviser for the Question Mark, the high school newspaper.  I also am assistant director for the spring musical and the adviser for the Creative Writing Club. 

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