In the book of “The Unknown Americans” by Cristina Henriquez is a long novel inwhich Henriquez expresses the american dream and uses it as a symbol throughout the novel. Arturo and Alma are Maribel parents, they are from Mexico and came to Delaware for a new start for their 15 year old daughter Maribel. They immigrated to the United States for Maribel and not for the reasons many readers may assume. They are not struggling immigrants, Arturo owns his own company backin Mexico. They came for the betterment of Maribel.
The american dream is the idea that immigrants can find a better life for their family and children in the United States. The american dream has the basic concept of “if you work hard, then you can be successful”. Arturo completely embodies this concept by managing a successful company and owning land in Mexico to being a mushroom farmer in America, all of i for his daughter Maribel. The novel’s setting in Delaware breaks our stereotypes of the immigration story. Henriquez’s characters live on the outskirts of town in an unsettling apartment building. The apartment buildings are very isolated, very empty and unattractive. The Riveras did all the paperwork, waited for the proper approvals, packed up their belongings in plastic trash bags and cardboard boxes, and 30 hours after crossing the border in the back seat of a red pickup truck, arrived in Delaware to begin their new life. The Riveras soon meet a lot of their neighbors, including the Toros, Panamanians who are full-fledged American citizens, and who love the United States deeply. Rafael and Celia Toro have two sons. The older, Enrique, is away at college in Maryland, while the younger, Mayor, is 15 and a sophomore in high school. The Toros and the Riveras become fast friends, with Mayor instantly falling for the radiantly beautiful Maribel, and being very patient with Maribel’s learning disabilities. The Toros at first did not know anything about the Riveras, but they soon find out the main reason why that have came to the United States. The rest of the families throughout the apartment complex soon later find out and they have realized themselves that they as well came for the betterment of their children. At first they were unaware of the reasons as to why Arturo and his family came to Delaware. At one point they even thought that the Riveras had papers and were in the secret service.
Latino immigrants come from Mexico, Central America, South America, and islands in the Caribbean. A few of the motivating factors that bring Hispanic immigrants to the United States include a lack of resources and opportunities in their home countries, abuses of their government, extreme poverty. Each individual might have different circumstances leading to his/her immigration to the United States, but most immigrants have the same general purpose to make better lives for themselves and their families.
Not only are Latino immigrants who have come to the United States greatly affected by the negative image that American society casts on them, but they are also affected by the various laws that are enforced against immigrants. Young undocumented immigrants can legally attend school, but they do not have the opportunity to work, vote, receive financial aid, or even drive in most states. This makes the few opportunities that they do have difficult to achieve. People consider America the land of opportunities, a new beginning to a new life in which they can strive and succeed.
America is known as the land of the free where if you have the motivation you can achieve whatever you want. However these laws are only mandatory to a certain race and gender. Throughout the novel a lot of people believed the Riveras came for money and stability. The American dream seems a little more difficult to attain when the American dreaming is a member of a minority group living in poverty. This is not to say that the dream of success and money is unattainable for certain people. It is just way more difficult to achieve when one is faced with certain obstacles that others do not have to overcome. Although being from Mexico or even Panama Henriquez characters all had something in common, they all had a dream, that dream was the “American Dream”. In the present day the desire to achieve the dream hasn’t changed.