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Immigrant Women

            Many immigrant women that migrate to another country for a better life often fail because there are many barriers in their way. These women encounter these special barriers when they want to achieve economic support and self-sufficiency. Three of the many barriers that women face are language, cultural conflicts that affect adjustment to life in the new place they migrated too, and legal barriers in their efforts to get out of poverty.
             A main barrier is language. Participation in almost every aspect of society requires some degree of proficiency in English. The ability to communicate with the mainstream also contributes to an immigrant women's sense of identity and belonging in this country. Nilda, the protagonist in the novel Nilda by Nicholosa Mohr uses her knowledge of the English language to obtain an identity in the United States. Nilda, in a way feels a sense of home in New York because she was able to explore it by learning the language. She is the only one from her family that knows English the best and she uses this ability to help her family receive aid and to establish themselves in The Barrio. However, in many families women are not encouraged to participate in English language training or other services because of their childcare or family responsibilities. The mother in this novel one could see just does not have the time to learn the language because of her other responsibilities due to her family. Sometimes, intergenerational conflicts arise in immigrant families because of different rates of language acquisition among family members. Parents or grandparents may suffer from loss of self-esteem because they must rely on children for translation and explanation. Nilda, is always the one that has to go to the welfare office with her mother to explain the family's situation. At times she hates doing this in fear that she might explain something in the wrong way and ruin their chances in getting any help.

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