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"Immigrants in Our Own Land," by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Author: Jimmy Santiago Baca

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We are born with dreams in our hearts,
looking for better days ahead.
At the gates we are given new papers,
our old clothes are taken
and we are given overalls like mechanics wear.
We are given shots and doctors ask questions.
Then we gather in another room
where counselors orient us to the new land
we will now live in. We take tests.
Some of us were craftsmen in the old world,
good with our hands and proud of our work.
Others were good with their heads.
They used common sense like scholars
use glasses and books to reach the world.
But most of us didn’t finish high school.

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Apr 8
IWEEN GENTY (Apr 08 2019 10:59AM) : Why are there old clothes taken away from them?
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Apr 8
IWEEN GENTY (Apr 08 2019 11:01AM) : Why are they given shots for?
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May 8
ARIEL LIZ (May 08 2019 2:07PM) : diseases more

you dont know what they have

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The old men who have lived here stare at us,
from deep disturbed eyes, sulking, retreated.
We pass them as they stand around idle,
leaning on shovels and rakes or against walls.
Our expectations are high: in the old world,
they talked about rehabilitation,
about being able to finish school,
and learning an extra good trade.
But right away we are sent to work as dishwashers,
to work in fields for three cents an hour.
The administration says this is temporary
So we go about our business, blacks with blacks,
poor whites with poor whites,
chicanos and indians by themselves.
The administration says this is right,
no mixing of cultures, let them stay apart,
like in the old neighborhoods we came from.

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May 15
IWEEN GENTY (May 15 2019 1:42PM) : ''Our expectations are high'' more

When jimmy says ‘’Our expectations are high’’ I think he meant that the immigrants thought everything was gonna be different in this ‘’new world’’

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May 15
KEEBA POLIUS (May 15 2019 9:45AM) : Questioning more

Why should they make an immigrant work the jobs no one wants to do? Then even to make matters worse they are working for an incredible low wage. 3 cents cant buy anything at all. How are they suppose to support there selves. this would give them even more reason to wanna migrate.

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May 15
KEEBA POLIUS (May 15 2019 9:43AM) : Red Flags more

The fact that they segregated the groups should of been a red flag from the jump. if this is suppose to be a new world all things like segregation/ racism/ financial status shouldn’t even exists.

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We came here to get away from false promises,
from dictators in our neighborhoods,
who wore blue suits and broke our doors down
when they wanted, arrested us when they felt like,
swinging clubs and shooting guns as they pleased.
But it’s no different here. It’s all concentrated.
The doctors don’t care, our bodies decay,
our minds deteriorate, we learn nothing of value.
Our lives don’t get better, we go down quick.

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Apr 8
IWEEN GENTY (Apr 08 2019 11:11AM) : I think when Jimmy Santiago baca talking False promises he was trying to say he came to America thinking he would be able to go to school and have a better life but that was all a lie.
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May 8
ARIEL LIZ (May 08 2019 1:55PM) : Rebuttal more

I agree with this because it seems like ppl told him that he would have a better life.But I think that the coyotes help them or sometimes tell them that life overthere is better so they can get money

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May 15
KEEBA POLIUS (May 15 2019 9:40AM) : Feeling more

I can tell that the poet feels as though migrating there was a terrible decision. He expresses that where he is just as bad as where he came from.

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My cell is crisscrossed with laundry lines,
my T-shirts, boxer shorts, socks and pants are drying.
Just like it used to be in my neighborhood:
from all the tenements laundry hung window to window.
Across the way Joey is sticking his hands
through the bars to hand Felipé a cigarette,
men are hollering back and forth cell to cell,
saying their sinks don’t work,
or somebody downstairs hollers angrily
about a toilet overflowing,
or that the heaters don’t work.

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May 15
IWEEN GENTY (May 15 2019 1:52PM) : Bad conditions more

This whole paragraph shows bad conditions. The sinks don’t work, toilet overflowing and heaters not working. The immigrant are probably going through worse then what they was experiencing when they was in Mexico.

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I ask Coyote next door to shoot me over
a little more soap to finish my laundry.
I look down and see new immigrants coming in,
mattresses rolled up and on their shoulders,
new haircuts and brogan boots,
looking around, each with a dream in their heart,
thinking they’ll get a chance to change their lives.

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But in the end, some will just sit around
talking about how good the old world was.
Some of the younger ones will become gangsters.
Some will die and others will go on living
without a soul, a future, or a reason to live.
Some will make it out of here with hate in their eyes,
but so very few make it out of here as human
as they came in, they leave wondering what good they are now
as they look at their hands so long away from their tools,
as they look at themselves, so long gone from their families,
so long gone from life itself, so many things have changed.

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"Immigrants in Our Own Land" by Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Immigrants in Our Own Land. Copyright © 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1990 by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp., www.ndpublishing.com. Source: Immigrants in Our Own Land (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1990)

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DMU Timestamp: March 07, 2019 02:52

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May 14
KEEBA POLIUS (May 14 2019 9:52AM) : Metaphor more

The poet doesnt actually feel like an immigrant in the place where he is, he actually means that he is in a place where he feels like he is imprisoned

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