Last week Marketplace Money, a public radio program focusing on business and the economy, highlighted the positive effects immigration has on our nation and our economy. Two immigrants, Mario Escobar, originally from El Salvador, and Jose Luis Zelaya, from Honduras, described the trials they have gone through in their pursuit of the American dream.
Escobar, now a 35-year-old father of two, was unable to receive student loans since he had not yet been granted political asylum after fleeing the violence of his home country. In order to put himself through college at UCLA, he juggled multiple jobs and still continues to do so to this day. He currently is working as a translator and managing his own small business as a book publisher.
Zelaya left Honduras after the death of his brother. He was a homeless teenager before he came to the U.S. with a unique skill, crocheting. By crocheting and selling his products online he made enough money to put himself and his sister through college. He is now a graduate student at Texas A&M.
Claudia Koelker, the author of “The Immigrant Advantage: What We Can Learn From Newcomers to America About Health, Happiness and Hope,” writes in her new book that too often we fail to see all of the positive benefits of immigrants in our community. Apart from diversifying our community and bringing new cultures, foods and hope, they also bring new, innovative ideas and a passion to succeed.
You can learn more and test your immigration knowledge with the Marketplace Money podcasts below.