How Does Illegal Immigration Affect a Person’s Development? Final Paper

Kayla Rivas

Professor Polish

English 102

8 May 2018

How Does Illegal Immigration Affect a Person’s Development?

Many people that make up the United States have migrated here from other countries. This shows us how diverse our country is and with this diversity comes a lot of cultural problems. Some people struggle to maintain their true self while trying to fit in to their new countries societal norms. Others may have identity crises from migrating such as Anon in the play Anon(ymous). Anon is a perfect example of how kids and families are affected by immigration and how hard it is to adjust. Due to these effects, illegal immigration has lifelong effects on a person’s development whether its positive or negative.

Immigration nowadays is either seen as illegal Mexicans coming to the United States and doing “bad” stuff or refugees escaping Syria or Iraq. Many people from South America and Central America do travel through Mexico to get to the United States. The mentality that all of the people crossing through Mexico has to be abolished because immigration is something many people do and it’s not just one certain group. These stereotypes really affect the people that are migrating.  The immigrants might feel alienated and worthless which can really set them back. Without that support that they need, they may tend to lose hope and choose a wrong path. Some people may be resilient to these obstacles that they now face and be motivated to do so much more with their life’s, but the risk factors are so big that many immigrants are forced to live their life’s in fear instead.

With this fear that the undocumented Hispanic immigrants have to life with, comes their social life. Many kids also migrate here, not just grown-ups which is another idea people need to clarify. Some kids are sent alone by their parents because their families want them to escape poverty and get a better life which isn’t guaranteed but they’re willing to take the risk. According to an article by UNICEF, “Independent migrant children are significantly affected by the absence of protection and support from their families, and by the challenges of their new situations after migration.” This quote is crucial to understand because these kids are not only losing everything they’re used too but they are also left to face a new world all on their own. It’s almost unimaginable to think that an eighteen-year-old or younger can be sent to another country to help their family and themselves, however, this is happening. Not all kids come alone but they all face similar things, discrimination, identity crises, and some may even experience PTSD.

In Anon(ymous) we see how Anon was separated at sea from his mother. This was the part that shaped the whole play. Anon was very young and can’t find his mother now that he’s older. Throughout the play Anon seems depressed and with a very low self-esteem. Anon even refers to himself as “nobody” and is constantly changing his name to fit in. Anon went as far to call himself “nobody” which is really powerful. Anon feels like nothing because he lost everything he knew and loved which is what many undocumented immigrants feel as well.  These are all examples of how immigrant kids can find it hard to relate to others and fit into society. This is one side effect that immigrant children go through.

On May 7, 2018 a law was passed in regard to illegal immigration; people who come into the United States with underage kids will immediately be captured and separated. This is another huge obstacle that kids face now. Families no longer have that chance to send their kids to this country in hopes of a better life. The border patrol is inhumane, and they don’t realize the harm they are doing. Even though they keep making laws to prevent immigration, the Hispanic people have too much hope to stop. There will be people that will still try to come to reach for their dreams. Kids who were here before this law change and came with their families may be given an education compared to the kids that come alone. Although they get to go to school it may not all be as perfect as people think. The kids can experience bullying because of their nationality, they may have to learn the language of the new country and this can set the kid behind academically. Some kids may be put in special education classrooms because of things such as language. The kid may not want to speak or socialize, or they may also be traumatized so they are put in those classrooms.

Nowhere in the play did Anon go to school, he was too busy trying to survive and figure out what he should do next and where his family went. This can be relatable to the immigrant kids as well, deepening on their age. If a teenager or young adult goes to a new country they may have to work as soon as they get here instead of finishing their education.  This is another factor as to why many Hispanic undocumented immigrants find that going to college is a huge risk and struggle.

Kids may also face lack of reinforcement from their parents due to the language barrier or fear. Some families are made of many different legal statuses’ which is known as “mixed status families” according to Luis H. Zayas and Mollie H. Bradlee. This doesn’t mean that the kids don’t have motivation from their families, support can be given regardless of the language. What does affect the kid is not having their parents as involved in their academic life as native parents may be to their kids. If the parent is illegal they could be fearful of being caught and separated so they decide to stay inside their area of comfort.  It is clear to see that kids with undocumented parents have more struggles compared to kids whose parents are from the country.

In the play Anon(ymous) we can see many things that were mentioned previously. Not only did Anon lose his mother during their immigration journey but he fits in with the group of kids that end up alone. Anon has to face the world alone and due to his traumatic past, he doesn’t know who he is or if he’s even worth something. Anon is bullied by people in power which can be a factor of his low self-esteem. This is common with undocumented immigrants as well; people with power tend to abuse their position and abuse the immigrants. Undocumented immigrants can’t even complain if they don’t get paid the right amount because they have no papers. Going to the police is a chance of being deported to them. The only option they have is to go alone with it like Anon did when he got called “monkey” in the play.

Anon(ymous) was a play that really touched upon many issues in our society whether it be illegal immigration or people in power taking advantage. Due to my research I was able to dig deeper into Anon(ymous). When I first read the play, I didn’t get the same impact as I did after realizing what the play was actually trying to convey. After many discussions and research, I was able to see the underlying factors of the play. Illegal Immigration is just one tiny topic next to the many that the play touches upon. Immigration is a crucial part in the play and in Anon’s life. Anon struggles throughout the play because of all the negative things that come with immigration. Anon’s experiences are very relatable to those of Hispanic people that migrate to new places.  Many people are on the same boat as Anon; each with a different story but they all have one thing in common: hope.


Works Cited:

Johnson, Hans and Laura Hill. “Illegal Immigration.” (2011):18 pages.

UNICEF. “Migration and Children.” 1 page.





Anon(ymous) was a very creative artwork. Before I actually started this research, I was not aware about all the topics that were included in the play. There are many topics imbedded in the play such as illegal immigration, abuse of power and depression. I learned more about all these topics during my research. It was very interesting to learn how all of those topics relate in a way and how these topics actually happen to people in real life. Many undocumented immigrants go through similar experiences like Anon’s. During peer review I got feedback that helped me with my argument and my paper as a whole. I learned to be more specific when dealing with what immigrants I was talking about. I choose Hispanic immigrants because they are one of the biggest numbers of people that migrate to the United States. I also wanted to shine a light on how difficult it is for them after they come to the country because many people have a stereotype of them and don’t bother to care about them. This is one reason why I wanted to speak about Hispanics, but I also thought that Anon may have been from Latin or Central America. Some of the fruits mentioned in the play are made in Hispanic countries therefore I came to this conclusion. Overall, this experience has been a great learning experience. This project taught me more about how to read things in more detail because many things have underlying factors.

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