Becoming an American: Il/legal Immigration to the usa. Diploma Thesis Brno 2015 Supervisor

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Masaryk University

Faculty of Education

Department of English Language and Literature

Becoming an American: Il/legal Immigration to the USA.
Diploma Thesis

Brno 2015

Supervisor: Michael George, M.A. Author: Bc. Nela Fáberová

I hereby declare that I have worked on this thesis on my own,
and that I used only the sources listed in the bibliography.

I agree that this thesis can be filed in the Library of the Faculty of Education at Masaryk University in Brno and made available for academic purposes.

Brno 2015 Bc. Nela Fáberová


Most of all I would like to thank my supervisor Michael George, M.A. for his time, help and valuable advice. Furthermore, my thanks go to the interviewees who shared their stories with me and thus made this thesis possible. Finally, I would like to thank my closest people who helped and supported me during the time of writing.

FÁBEROVÁ, Nela. Becoming an American: Il/legal Immigration to the USA. Brno 2015, pp. 80. Supervisor: Michael George, M.A.


This Diploma thesis deals with the immigration process of current immigrants to the USA. It focuses both on illegal and legal immigration and investigates the feelings of immigrants as well as the path of their immigration. The thesis presents an overview of the history of immigration to the USA and also gives a description of current immigration, including its process, reasons for immigration and the impacts. Moreover, the American Dream is discussed. Immigration and the American Dream are also described from a different angle, namely as it appears in popular literature and film. The research of this thesis has been done by interviewing seven current immigrants, which is followed by an analysis of their responses.

Key words

legal immigration, illegal immigration, immigrants, the United States of America, The American Dream, multiculturalism, integration, Mexican immigrants, Caribbean immigrants, European immigrants

FÁBEROVÁ, Nela. Becoming an American: Il/legal Immigration to the USA. Brno 2015, pp.80. Supervisor: Michael George, M.A.

Tato Diplomová práce pojednává o imigračním procesu současných imigrantů do USA. Zaměřuje se jak na nelegální, tak na legální imigraci a zkoumá pocity imigrantů a také cestu jejich imigrace. Práce poskytuje přehled historie imigrace do USA a také popisuje současnou imigraci, včetně jejího procesu, důvodů a dopadu. Kromě toho také rozebírá Americký Sen. Imigrace a Americký Sen jsou rovněž popsány z jiného úhlu, totiž jak se objevují v populární literatuře a filmu. Výzkumná část práce byla provedena rozhovory se sedmi současnými imigranty, jejichž odpovědi byly následně analyzovány.

Klíčová slova

legální imigrace, nelegální imigrace, imigranti, Spojené státy americké, Americký Sen, multikulturalismus, integrace, mexičtí imigranti, karibští imigranti, evropští imigranti


1 Introduction 7

2 The portrait of the immigration to the USA 8

2.1 History 8

2.1.1 Colonial Period 9

2.1.2 1820–1924 11

2.1.3 1924–1980s 13

2.2 Current immigration background 15

2.2.1 Multiculturalism in the USA and its impacts 16

3 The process of current immigration 19

3.1 Legal immigration 19

3.1.1 Path to U.S. citizenship 19

3.1.2 Integration 22

3.2 Illegal immigration 24

3.2.1 Reasons for illegal immigration 25

3.2.2 Impacts of illegal immigration 26

4 The American Dream 28

4.1 What is the American Dream? 28

4.1.1 Shaping of the American Dream 30

4.1.2 American Dream in the 21st century 32

5 Immigration and The American Dream in popular literature and film 34

6 The nationalities of the interviewees 41

6.1 Mexican immigrants 42

6.2 Caribbean Immigrants 43

6.3 European Immigrants 44

6.3.1 The specifics of Czech(oslovak) immigration 45

6.3.2 Turkish immigrants 46

7 Practical part 47

8 Conclusion 69

9 Works Cited 71

10 Appendix 78


The United States is a country comprised of immigrants. The first migrants arrived to the USA approximately 12,000 to 30,000 years ago and have not stopped coming ever since. Subsequently, such high immigration rate brought consequences and the immigration have become a common issue in the course of the American history. The USA had to deal with the flow of immigrants and began to apply restrictions that have been modified in profusion in order to best protect the country.

Nowadays, despite the laws, the United States continues dealing with a great number of immigrants including the undocumented. Every day, the U.S. government as well as the citizens keep addressing the impacts of immigration, for instance the illegal jobs, the resulting multiculturalism and the acceptance of the immigrants and their different culture. Even though, immigrants from all over the world decide to try their luck in the USA and live their American Dream. However, this famous notion of "living happily ever after in America" might be harder to achieve than how it is pictured outside the American borders.

This thesis will firstly present an overview of the history of immigration to the USA and subsequently, it will focus on the current immigration background including the reasons and impacts of immigration as well as the description of the American Dream. Immigration and the American Dream will be also discussed from a different angle, namely as they appears in popular literature and film. The research of the thesis will present the 21st century immigrants from Mexico, the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Turkey, both legal and undocumented and their life stories. The interviews with them will focus on their perception of the American Dream, their feelings of belonging and the journey of becoming Americans.

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