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Illegal Immigrants: A Modern Day Grapes of Wrath Essays

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As depicted in John Steinbeck's novel Grapes of Wrath the 1930's was a time when migrant workers like the story's Joad family had to leave their homes, cross a perilous desert, live through the social injustices of the time, and work at jobs with low insufficient pay just to have a better life (Steinbeck). Seventy years later, the situations and experiences stay the same but the people are no longer native-born Americans but illegal immigrants who sacrifice everything to come to the United States to live a better life, as a result of that the 500,000 immigrants that illegally enter the United States through the Mexican border annually and stay in the country are the Joads of today (Aizenman).
In the Grapes of Wrath the Joad family had to abandon their home and memories and cross the dessert by car to reach to their new life and the jobs that wait for them. The journey was not easy for the Joads or for any of the other migrant workers; consistently the journey for illegal immigrants is no different today. Contrary to popular belief, not all immigrants crossing the border are Mexican; while the majority is Mexican the immigrants are also from the rest of Latin America. The second largest groups of immigrants that cross the border are from El Salvador, other countries include Guatemala, and Colombia (fairus.org). The migrant workers of the 1930’s had the benefit of cars, however since cars are too noticeable by border patrol an immigrant has to walk the whole length (García). Walking the desert between the U.S and Mexico is the hardest way of crossing. An immigrant has to cross when the heat is not as strong and walk miles without rest (National Geographic). All the walking without rest makes the immigrants very tired and dehydrated...


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...They left their home traveled the hot roads of Route 66, and arrived at a place where they were underpaid but made the best of what they had. The immigrants crossing the border into the United States had to leave the majority of their family, walk through deserts, swim through rivers, and ride on trains so they could work below the minimum wage, be looked down upon and be excluded from the benefits of the country they so dearly wanted to reach. Human nature is to survive and to look for the best, and as John Steinbeck wrote on the Grapes of Wrath “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments” (204). This quote, like the experiences and situations, remains the same for the migrant workers of the 1930’s and the illegal immigrants of the 21st Century.



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