What is the American Dream for U.S. immigrants today?

Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 06:08 pm

It’s more important than ever to celebrate immigrants living in America.

More than 42.4 million immigrants live in the United States, far from loved ones, to pursue opportunities and dreams. Over the past 2 years, immigration has elevated to the national agenda like never before, and hateful, uninformed misconceptions have dominated the conversation. It’s time we speak up for the immigrant community and confront this wall of misguided rhetoric.

If we pause to reflect upon the deep motivations of our immigrant communities and the financial and cultural value they provide to our country, we can restore the path towards building a fair and just immigration system for the 21st century, one that includes all of the children, dreamers, and workers those who seek only to achieve the American Dream.

Is the American Dream still alive and possible to achieve?

Our vision is to transform the lives of immigrants and their families by providing the most trusted financial services. In pursuit of this vision, we’re deeply invested in understanding immigrant communities and their needs so that we can better advocate on their behalf. We want the world to see what we see: that they are heroes, working hard to help their loved ones who rely on the money they send as a lifeline.

As such, we took a deep dive into one segment of this population—first-generation Latin Americans. We conducted our inaugural Immigrant Sentiment study to help us uncover attitudes and experiences after coming to the U.S. about their pursuit of the American Dream.

The results are enlightening.

Nine out of ten immigrants in the U.S. still believe that the American Dream is possible to achieve. How that dream is defined depends on the individual, but it’s wonderful to see such optimism and hope despite our current political climate and the threats they face daily.  An overwhelming majority of immigrants believe that with hard work, success and happiness are attainable, and 60 percent would still recommend relocating to the U.S. to their friends and family.

While most respondents cited the distinct advantages of moving to the U.S. were access to education and higher standards of living (49 and 47 percent respectively), immigrants do face numerous hardships.

When asked if, given the chance, to make the choice to move to the U.S. again, 25 percent of Mexican immigrants would not choose to stay in the U.S., and nearly one out of five Puerto Rican and Venezuelan immigrants (18 percent) expressed the same.

Stories of immigrants pursuing their American Dream

Remitly was created to assist immigrant communities in their efforts to provide a better life for themselves and their families back home. We are inspired by the endless sacrifices that immigrants make every day to ensure the safety and security of their families. We recognize that their experiences not only shape who they are, but who we are as a nation, and that they leave an undeniable footprint on our society.

Chef Ronaldo Linares

A prime example of this is Colombian-born Chef Ronaldo Linares. His journey in America hasn’t always been easy, but his pursuit of the American Dream has always been worth it.

In honor of the International Day of Family Remittances, we asked Chef Ronaldo to take over our Instagram and share more stories of individuals who came to the U.S. in pursuit of their American Dream.

Luis O DeLaHoz

Through my work in New Jersey as a chef and restauranteur, I meet many fellow Latino entrepreneurs and business owners. One is a man named Luis. Here’s his story about his pursuit of the American Dream. – @chef_ronaldo_ “I came to the U.S. from Manizales Caldas, Colombia. I left Colombia in early 2004 because of the socio-political and economic situation taking place there. When I came to the U.S. my dream was to open my own business. Today I’m living part of that dream through generating porvenir (future) wealth for the Latino community through entrepreneurship. Being in America gave me this opportunity, education, work, support, and the general opportunity to pursue my dreams and thrive.” …………………………………………….. Today and every day we thank migrant workers and their families for the sacrifices, hard work, contributions, and the positive impact they make on the world around us. In honor of the @unitednations annual International Day of Family Remittances, @chef_ronaldo_ will share the stories of these incredible individuals like Luis’ story here over the next few days so be sure to tune in!

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Carlos Ruiz

Eddie Garcia

“I’m from Los Angeles, but was raised in Mexico 🇲🇽 as a kid. My parents left their homes in Mexico to make a better life in the United States. I didn’t know anything about the United States when I came here; it was a culture shock. Coming from a place of very little upward mobility, I always heard my parents talking about the many opportunities available in the United States. I was scared to leave Mexico and cried because I left my friends behind. As an adult, I learned what my parents meant when they spoke of opportunities. I grew up to become the first member of my family to graduate from college with both a Bachelor’s and Masters degrees, started my own business, and made videos online for a living. Each opportunity has opened up doors to do something new and exciting. My dream is to grow my business and be able to hire people in my community. The main opportunity America offers me is the abundance of resources and networks. It truly is about people helping each other — and pay it forward.” – Eddie Garcia @omgitseddieg ……………………………………… Colombian born @chef_ronaldo_ Ronaldo is taking over our page this week to share a series of stories about immigrants in the U.S. and their pursuit of the American Dream. Stay tuned each day for new stories.

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Jose Resendez

“I was born on the border of Mexico and the US, in the small cross-border town of Laredo, Texas. My father is from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas in Mexico 🇲🇽 and my mother is from Trapiche Abajo, Jutiapa in Guatemala🇬🇹. My mother migrated from Guatemala but reached a dead end at the Mexico-USA border, where she met my father. Eventually, my parents married and crossed the American border in time to give birth to me on the Texas side of Laredo (versus “Nuevo” Laredo). I lived in Mexico some of my infant years, was raised in Port Arthur (outside of Houston) and then moved to Miami and later Los Angeles. My mother ran away from poverty and my father fled crime. Both on the hunt for the American Dream; a dream that I also dream. Guatemala and Mexico; both full of violence, crime, drugs, poverty and little opportunity. Both countries are beautiful and unique but my parents knew quality of life could be better. My dream has always been to be successful enough not only for me but for my family; to help my parents so that they know their struggles weren’t for nothing. My mother wanted a better life for her future family. Collectively, our American Dream is to have equal opportunity to prosper, give back, help support our families back in Latin America. I dream the same dream as always, the same dream as my parents, the same dream of MLK. My dream now is about education, that having a job that’s more than just work; a career that’s impactful, makes my community proud, builds a legacy for my family, and spreads positivity and love. Like MLK, dreaming of a better world, world peace, equal opportunity, zero racism, no walls, and positive evolution. America gives you the opportunity of education, work force, government assistance, and safety. America is full of innovation, technology, science, and support to help us. Might not be perfect, but it’s what you make out of it.” – @thejoseresendez Colombian born @chef_ronaldo_ is taking over our page this week to share a series of stories about immigrants in the U.S. and their pursuit of the American Dream. Stay tuned each day for new stories.

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What’s your story of pursuing the American Dream? Please share with us so we can highlight more inspiring stories of brave individuals who work hard to pursue their dreams and better our country.