ColumnsViews from Abroad

America is a land of opportunities

OR.is it? In any case, people have often wondered how America has been able to provide variety of opportunities for upward mobility to its citizens, particularly the im­migrants who adapted to the society. Also, I have often wondered, like many other immi­grants in the United States of America, why America is so strong in many aspects and could provide with consistency an abun­dance of amenities to its citizenry. What makes the American systems—the politi­cal and economic systems—so strong and resilient? Though there is no utopian system in the world, yet the American experiment, with some of its imperfections, has proven to be the best in the world. It has stood the test of time. Today, America is the strongest economy in the world and that may be why it has attracted many immigrants.
Given a choice, many people from Afri­can countries and other countries around the world, would like to immigrate to the United States. The evidence of this phenomenon can be found in the number of undocumented people in the United States. Some of the aliens overstayed their visa and a vast major­ity of the undocumented immigrants simply crossed the border illegally into the United States for a new lease on life. According to Pew Research Center, “There were 11.3 mil­lion unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014 and Mexicans make up about half of all unauthorized immigrants (49%).”
However, in her article, “The Challenge of Accurately Estimating the Population of Illegal Immigrants,” Nancy Bolton noted that “Estimates of the size of the illegal alien population currently living in the U.S. range from about 12 million to over 20 million. The lower number is based on Census Bureau estimates of the foreign-born population in various Census Bureau surveys. The larger number is based on methodology that is not reliant on a respondent’s candor. While the Census Bureau makes a Herculean effort to get a complete count, it is virtually impos­sible to get an accurate count of populations who are resistant to being identified. Given the problem of porous borders and incentives to avoid detection, the higher estimate is not unreasonable. The most definitive conclusion is that determining the size of the population residing illegally in the U.S .is subject to very large inaccuracies.”
Regardless of the accuracy of the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, many people flood to America for a better life. They come hoping that America will provide them with sure opportunities to enhance their lives. But living in the shad­ows and constantly fret over being picked up by the Immigration Officials is the most difficult life one can imagine. It is just like sleeping with eyes wide open.
The cliché attracts differing opinions. Edwin Nwachukwu, who was the bureau chief for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York chimed in, “America as popularly referred by many as the land of opportunity, to my mind, remains a phrase that suggests a place that presents many possibilities for people to earn a well-to-do living, although this depends on where one is coming from. For those who grew up in America, schooled and graduated, worked hard and obeyed the rules, could get ahead to enjoy the opportunities in the U.S. But for those looking for greener pasture without the prerequisite to function as citizen, it is all a story of woes and suffering. Too many of these people, “this land of opportunities” becomes the land of hardship as they take to “under the table’’ jobs to survive. Many men who had left their families back home for the so called land of opportunities either become cab drivers or security men due to lack of work. As a News Agency of Nige­ria, Bureau Chief at the United Nations and North America Correspondent in the U.S, I remember meeting these persons complain­ing about jobs and payment of bills, then where is the land of opportunity?”
Similarly, Prof. Charles Mambula stated, “There are many good things to say about American society in terms of opportuni­ties, freedom, hope, justice, and others, but again there is no society that is perfect. As it is said, perfection can only be realized in Heaven. What strikes me about America is the Justice system. There are no ‘sacred cows’ in America. Nobody is above the law and money cannot buy justice. That, and equality for everyone as the same, and protected regardless of class, background or status is worthy of admiration. America emphasizes on quality, in everything, to very high standards. Another thing that I value in this regard about the USA is the speed and integrity with, which things are done. You would be compensated for jobs not done to your satisfaction or delivered at the expected time of need. The only thing I don’t quite agree with in America is the high level of freedom, which leads to self-indulgence, and which could be destruc­tive. People are free to anything they like, without restrictions as long as they feel they want to do it.”
Chief Basil Onwukwe, a resident of Mas­sachusetts opined, “There is a cultural con­flict between the immigrants and the larger society. This conflict is because of the un­willingness of some immigrants to abandon some of the core beliefs we carried from our native country to this nation. It has also made it a little difficult for some us to in­tegrate easier and earlier, into the society. The conflict is real considering the saying, ‘it is difficult to learn the use of left hand at old age.’ As a result, many of us are un­able to take advantage of the opportunities this country offers.” “I agree that America is the land of opportunities,” Onwukwe concluded.

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