Supporting the Supporters: Keeping Up with Far Away Families
During the pandemic, many people struggled with the physical distancing that we had to maintain for the benefit of all. The loss of that companionship and fellowship, however, must pale in comparison to the difficulties many immigrants face when they leave family behind to work in other countries around the world, to better support them. Here are some facts and tips from The Indy Property Source on the strengths and struggles of immigrants in this country.
A History of Hope
For hundreds of years, people have been fleeing other countries, leaving behind horrors for hope. The United States has historically been a popular destination for both permanent and temporary migration. The primary reason people migrate to the U.S. has been, and still is, to seek better opportunities, particularly employment options with better pay than they receive back home. Even when our economy here is struggling, it is still better than in most other countries.
Supporting Those Back Home
Sometimes family members in other countries decide who in the family should travel to another country to seek work that supports the entire family. In some cases, one or both parents go, leaving children behind with family members or even friends. They work in all types of industries; construction, food service, childcare, administrative, and production line work are some of the more popular jobs.
It is difficult for these immigrants to travel back to their homes frequently. Even for those here legally it can be cost-prohibitive, and for those here illegally it is simply too risky, as they may be unable to get back. Once cell phones proliferated, immigrants found it much easier, and more economical, to communicate with their families back home more frequently. Now, even with poor infrastructure, mobile apps allow immigrants to take advantage of video conferencing. More frequent communication and increased visual contact can ease the stress on families, particularly for the children.
Another important challenge immigrants face is sending the money they earn back home to their families; that is, after all, the number one reason for them being here. Many do not have bank accounts to send checks or wire money, and even if they did, the recipients may not have the means to receive and collect it. Some popular apps for sending money in the U.S. may have geographical limitations, and other wiring services can charge hefty fees.
Fortunately, you can send money quickly and inexpensively through Remitly. For instance, if you’re sending money to Brazil, the fee could be as little as $1.99. If you send over $500 to Mexico, there’s no fee at all!
Many immigrants have found that the best way to support loved ones back home is to start their own businesses. There are many steps involved in starting a business, including writing a business plan, finding funding, creating a marketing strategy, and researching your market and competitors.
For those of us who felt alone during periods of self-isolation, can you imagine that feeling of being “alone” every day of the year, with little to no hope of seeing your family for months or even years? By embracing and supporting immigrants in your community, you can significantly improve their lives.
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