From the start, the author clearly expresses her intention of figuratively illustrating the existent vices in the American immigration process. Bharati Mukherjee, in her short story Two Ways to Belong in America contrasts the national treatment of two sisters Mira and Bharati based on the ideals they choose to adhere to. The story is told from a first persona narration of Bharati who stands out as the liberal sister and consequently more favored by the American immigration rules (Mukherjee, 1996). The author vividly exemplifies the biasness and flexibility of the immigration regulations based on nationality and race.
To point out the skewed application of immigration regulations, the story tells of the difference in resident status of the two sisters attributed to the spouses they chose. Mira got married to an American of Canadian descend whereas Bharati got married to an Indian student in her university. A disparity in immigration rule application where due to the Canadian descend of Mira’s husband, she is able to surpass labor-certification in that she is not even vetted. On the other hand due to the Indian descend of Bharati’s husband, she is subjected to the process and is successful in obtaining a green card assuring her of employment and residence although her movement is confined to one state (Mukherjee, 1996). This exemplifies the racist tendencies of the immigration rules since countries and races considered more elite are not vetted and are favored irrespective of academic certificates in possession.
Additionally, the American oppressive inclination is inevitable to notice in the story. At the time the author was writing the story, there were efforts geared at removing government benefits from immigrants regardless of the nature of documentation they possessed. To make it worse, these rules would be applied to all immigrants irrespective of the time they obtained legal residence. The fact that Bharati who had worked for 30 years, contributing enormously to the welfare and advancement of the American nation, was about to have her benefits taken away is oppressive. Having devoted the productive part of her life to serving the nation, changing terms from the original regulations to remove the benefits of employment as well as residence is manipulative and extremely biased. The story seeks to show the inconsiderate nature of the government on the immigrants who had followed all the rules they were subjected to by the American nation yet without mere recompense or appreciation.
The story sets Canada as birds of the same feather with America, where Mira recounts in retrospect her life in Canada with and without a green card. The nation voted to eject immigrants especially those from south Asian bring forth a racist agenda. Evidently, it was only a matter of time, since prior to the ejection, Mira possessed a green card but was never fully embraced by the community. Through this, there is a sad notation, where having abandoned her cultural beliefs and practices to embrace those of another nation, there is no proportional response from the nation. This can also be used to contrast the attitudes and extent of acceptance by the American nation on the two sisters. The American community through its immigration rules is more responsive to immigrants who will willingly self-transform by denouncing their descend cultures as illustrated by Mira. Bharati is given the option of loosing the employment and resident benefits or wholly becoming an American citizen (Mukherjee, 1996).
Two Ways to Belong in America conclusively symbolizes optional paths to American citizen ship where the demarcation is based on race, nationality as well as the ease of denouncing descendant cultures. From the story, it is evident associations with certain races and nationals can ease acceptance while others can impede it. The author presents a divert view of the influence race has on application of American immigration regulations.
Mukherjee, Bharati. “Two Ways to Belong in America.” New York Times 22 September 1996. Print.