Undocumented immigrants: limits to the American Dream

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Annales corrigées
Classe(s) : Tle ST2S - Tle STI2D - Tle STL - Tle STMG | Thème(s) : Espaces et échanges
Type : Écrit LV2 | Année : 2017 | Académie : Pondichéry




Pondichéry • Avril 2017

Séries technologiques • LV2

Undocumented immigrants: limits to the American Dream

document 1 Citizenship issues can cause stress on families

The first time Carmen tried to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States she was a newly married 16-year-old. She was the youngest of the dozen or so who were attempting to leave their homeland for a future of uncertainties. Her husband had already made the crossing to get her to the promised land of Texas.

“We were crossing through a drainage pipe1 but were caught,” she remembers of that harrowing night in 1993.

The four women in the group were put up in a hotel, with no food until the next afternoon. When they were released, they waited until dark, this time with the understanding that a few individuals would sacrifice themselves and be caught, the distraction giving the others in the group a chance to disappear quietly into the darkness.

Now 35 and living in northwest Arkansas with her husband and four American-born children, Carmen can still recall the memory of her first crossing. She is not alone. Countless others of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. have similar tales to tell of a risky, if not life-threatening, escape to America. Twenty years later, the stakes remain high2 for Carmen and her family. She and her husband keep the family afloat3 doing construction jobs and housekeeping. But the imminent threat of deportation of her husband keeps her awake at night.

“When someone knocks at the door, I am afraid they have come for him. I worry about my children and I want them to stay here where there is food and they can get an education,” she said.

From Alessia Schaefer, February 21, 2013, www.arkansas-catholic.org

1. A drainage pipe: a pipe to evacuate rain water.

2. The stakes remain high: survival is still difficult.

3. Keep the family afloat: support the family financially.

document 2 Rejecting the American Dream, Mexicans reintegrate back home

Mexico City native Nelly Lozano lived what some might consider the American Dream. Lozano had a college education, a high-paying job at Boeing that paid for an “almost brand-new” car and a quiet, comfortable home in Renton1. Meanwhile, she actually dreamt of returning to Mexico.

“What are you doing here?” she asked herself. “Why do you live here if you’re not happy – if you’re not completely happy?” So in 2011, she left.

Thousands of other Mexicans, across classes and ages, education levels and legal statuses take the same plunge2 each year, opting to return home from the U.S.

“People may think, ‘What are you doing?’ if you move back,” Lozano said. “Like, ‘you’re stupid. You have a good job. You have school for your son.’ All of these good things, right? All of these opportunities.”

“But if you’re not happy,” she said, “and you’re just fulfilling other people’s points of view, then that’s not good.”

About 90 percent of the approximately 1.4 million Mexican immigrants who returned home from the U.S. between 2005 and 2010 did so voluntarily (rather than through deportation). Some found less economic prosperity in the U.S. than they imagined. Others experienced irreparable alienation. Some, like Lozano, say they just missed their families and culture.

She got a job as a sales assistant at Neuronix Medical. It paid less, but she could work less and spend more time with her son.

From Alysa Hullett, March 26, 2015, www.seattleglobalist.com

1. Renton: a city near Seattle, Washington.

2. Take the same plunge: make the same decision.

Compréhension 10 points

Document 1

1 The following statements are true. Justify by quoting from the text.

1. Carmen emigrated from Mexico.

2. She was quite young when she arrived in the United States.

3. She joined her husband in the United States.

4. She was dreaming of a better life.

2 True or false? Justify by quoting from the text.

1. Carmen and her friends swam across the Rio Grande.

2. They were stopped while trying to enter the United States.

3. They decided to try again at night.

4. All of them finally arrived in the United States.

5. Millions of immigrants are living illegally in the United States.

3 Pick out a quote to show how dangerous the crossing was for immigrants.

4 Pick out in the text the following information:

1. Carmen’s age.

2. her place of residence.

3. her family members.

4. Carmen and her husband’s jobs.

5 Find two reasons why Carmen is still worried. Explain in your own words. (about 20 words)

Document 2

6 Copy the sentences and fill in the blanks with the appropriate elements.

Nelly Lozano is a woman who was born in (city) ................................. and emigrated to (country) ........................................... . Now she lives in (country) .................. .

7 Find three elements in the text to show that Nelly Lozano was successful in the country she emigrated to.

8 True or false? Justify by quoting from the text.

1. Nelly Lozano had a successful life in the United States.

2. Nelly was satisfied with the life she had.

3. Some immigrants preferred going back to Mexico.

9 In the following list, choose the three reasons why people go back to Mexico:

1. they don’t like American food.

2. they feel isolated.

3. they miss the weather.

4. they don’t see their families.

5. they haven’t become rich.

10 Focus on the last two lines of the text and say whether Nelly is satisfied with her new situation. (about 20 words)

Documents 1 and 2

11 Complete each sentence with the correct name: Carmen or Nelly.

.................. is afraid of being sent back to Mexico.

.................. is disappointed with the American lifestyle.

12 Choose the title which applies to documents 1 and 2:

1. Discrimination against Hispanics in the United States.

2. Illegal immigration to the U.S.

3. Limits to the American Dream.

Expression 10 points

Choose ONE of the following subjects. (150 words)

1 Nelly Lozano is being interviewed on CBS Radio News. She speaks about her experience and gives her reasons for leaving. Write the interview.

2 If you had the opportunity to do so, would you like to live in a foreign country?

Les clés du sujet

Document 1


L’Arkansas Catholic est le journal officiel, depuis 1911, du diocèse de Little Rock, capitale de l’Arkansas.

Pour en savoir plus : www.arkansas-catholic.org

Résumé du texte

Carmen, jeune femme mexicaine qui a immigré clandestinement aux États-Unis, se rappelle les conditions dans lesquelles elle a rejoint son mari, lui-même immigrant clandestin installé au Texas. Comme elle, des millions de Mexicains ont risqué leur vie pour traverser la frontière et craignent d’être renvoyés au Mexique.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Citizenship (titre) : citoyenneté ; an issue (titre) : un problème ; harrowing (l. 7) : éprouvant ; to release (l. 9) : relâcher ; countless (l. 15) : innombrables ; life-threatening (l. 17) : qui peut être fatal ; housekeeping (l. 20) : ménage.

Document 2


Le Seattle Globalist est un quotidien en ligne qui se donne pour mission de relier Seattle, dont un quart de la population est d’origine étrangère, au reste du monde.

Pour en savoir plus : www.seattleglobalist.com/about-the-globalist

Résumé du texte

Beaucoup de Mexicains qui se sont installés aux États-Unis se sentent poussés à revenir au Mexique, le rêve américain ne leur offrant pas l’accueil, le bonheur et la prospérité qu’ils espéraient.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Brand-new (l. 3) : flambant neuf ; to fulfil other people’s points of view (l. 16) : (ici) accomplir les rêves des autres ; alienation (l. 22) : mise à l’écart.

Les points de convergence

Dans les deux documents, les immigrants clandestins aux États-Unis, confrontés au rêve américain, sont incités à retourner au Mexique, que ce soit par la force (document 1) ou parce que le rêve américain ne leur apporte pas ce qu’ils en attendaient (document 2).

Le sujet d’expression 1

Une direction possible

Pour Nelly, les biens matériels apportés par le rêve américain ne suffisent pas à son bonheur, qui ne passe pas uniquement par la réussite sociale et matérielle. Elle est maintenant heureuse d’avoir plus de loisirs, même si son nouveau métier est moins rémunérateur. Par ailleurs, sa situation d’immigrée clandestine l’empêche de se sentir intégrée à la société américaine, qui se définit pourtant comme « une nation d’immigrants ».

Key ideas

Americans do not always understand why some immigrants are disappoint­ed with the American Dream; material things are not the only things that matter in life; you have to feel at home in the country you migrate to.

Le sujet d’expression 2

Une direction possible

L’expression « vivre dans un autre pays » mérite réflexion : s’agit-il de passer un certain nombre d’années à l’étranger ou d’envisager une émigration définitive ? Il faut donc plus qu’une « possibilité » : soit cette décision est imposée par des circonstances politiques ou économiques, soit on est attiré par une culture, un mode de vie, etc.

Key ideas

A careful decision to take; it is not a matter of mere opportunity; you have to think things over; a decision motivated by political and economic reasons; to feel the appeal of another culture and way of life.