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How Uzbeks live in America and where the diaspora settles

Few people know the exact number of those who left Uzbekistan over the past 15 years. I haven’t met any statistics yet. But it is known that most of all citizens of Uzbekistan are seeking to leave for the United States, South Korea, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Фото: Depositphotos

About 70% "new Uzbeks" live in the United States illegally, since the term of their US visas has long expired. Most of them entered the United States on a tourist visa such as B1 / B2 and filled out an I-94 form, which is also called a “white card” here. This is the main document regulating the stay of a foreigner in the country. It is filled by the border service, which decides how long you have the right to be here officially. Upon expiration of the “white card”, each of its owners automatically enters the category of illegal immigrants and in the case of leaving the country can be denied the right to re-enter it for up to ten years. Now these rules are being revised because the INS (Office of Citizenship and Immigration) has been transferred to Homeland Security.

Many of the Uzbeks who came to the US find different ways to legalize themselves. And do you think the majority is acting? Get married and get married. Or rather - enter into a bogus marriage. They find themselves American women (most of whom can be safely called “grannies”), get married and after some time receive a “green card” - the right to permanent residence.

Фото: Depositphotos

Says a young Uzbek living in New Jersey:

- I came here three years ago. I work in the store. The visa has expired. I can not go back, because they will not let me back in. And what should I do then? After all, I am the only breadwinner of the whole family left in the homeland. I married two sisters, I became a father, only I had to leave before the birth of my daughter so that the visa would not expire. Gradually hired a lawyer and asked him to help me legalize. A year ago, he found me a wife in Ohio, and we entered into a fake marriage. She 52, I 25. It cost me a lot of money: $ 8000 must be paid to a lawyer for completing all the necessary documents and for finding a suitable candidate. And what to do? I had to turn it all up so that later there would be no problems with entering and leaving America ...

Next to the state of New Jersey is the state of New York with the same city. New York is one of the largest megacities. How to get around their attention, because this state is home to representatives of different religious denominations and ethnic groups. Every former Soviet man knows what Brighton Beach is. Being in New York and not visiting this legendary place would be an unforgivable omission. Brighton can be reached by metro line Q.

The central part of Brighton is Brighton Beach avenue. This is a street running parallel to the coast where all the key objects of “little Odessa” (as the Americans call this area) are located - shops, snack bars, restaurants, Millennium concert hall and other objects with signs in Russian. Over the greater part of Brighton Beach Avenue runs a subway line, on which from time to time there are noisy trains. Perhaps in the spirit of Brighton Beach - these are the seventies-eighties years of the Soviet era, transferred to America. This spirit is felt in the manner of people dressing, talking, signs on the buildings and design of shops.

In order to stroll through Brighton Beach, it is not necessary to speak English. After all, among those living in this area, Russian remains the main language of communication. Over the past 15 years, former CIS citizens have managed to settle in Brighton.

Photo: Pavel Terekhov

My next companion is Dildara, who works as a saleswoman in a local pizzeria:

“Time passes so quickly ... I have been living in the USA for five years now.” Before that she lived in Tashkent. She was married and raised two children. Then my husband and I stopped understanding each other, and I divorced him. And, thank God, that divorced. She would still be sitting in a concrete house and would not see anything in this life. Arriving here, I started to earn money. I bought an apartment on a mortgage, a car. In short, I got up on my feet.

A hundred meters away from the Dildara pizzeria, Durdona works in a bag store. She is also from Tashkent. She moved to New York three years ago and got married:

“My grandfather has been living here for a long time.” He comes from Uzbekistan, but for a long time he lived in Urumqi. And later he moved to live in America. I have many relatives here. My sister recently got married, and later the turn came to me (smiles). Now I live near the store where I work. I bring up my daughter, who is one and a half years old, and I work during the day.

Being hungry, I decided to have a bite and went to the Kashgar cafe, which I was advised. Kashgar is the name of a city in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of western China, bordering Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, where ethnic Uzbeks live and their sister ethnicity, the Uygurs. On the street in front of the cafe there is a billboard with the inscription “Uzbek cuisine: osh, lagman, manti, samsa, barbecue, etc.”. This cozy cafe is always packed with guests. Yulduz Usmanova's song sounds loud inside. You enter here - and as if you get to the Uzbek wedding. All inbound are greeted as guests, according to the Uzbek custom, proclaiming "kelin-kelin" ("come in, come in"). After making the order, I looked around: almost all visitors were former citizens of the USSR and the CIS. At a nearby table, a group of drunk Uzbeks excitedly argues about something, swearing through a word.

A waitress who came up, an Uzbek woman of forty-five, putting a teapot of tea in front of me, said in a whisper:

- I am ashamed of our men. Hear how they behave? Almost every day they drink here. They have wives and children who are waiting for them. And here they sit and drink. They probably came to earn money to help the family. And here earned on drunkenness descend. I'm sick of them. A shame! Only know how to tongue wag.

After spending about an hour at the Kashgar cafe, I travel to Manhattan to stroll through the evening New York. Here is Time Square, Rockefeller center.

Photo: rockefellercenter.com

On Broadway I talked with a couple of guys from Uzbekistan who sell paintings here:

- Students we. We study here. Studying a lot of money is worth it. On credit they took money for study. Now I would make money on textbooks. Heavy.

Seven hours by bus from New York - and I am in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where, as they say, many Uzbeks work. And everyone is working for one company headed by Poles and Jews. In general, Pittsburgh is a major US trading and financial center, one of the most important centers of heavy industry: ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, heavy engineering. Electrotechnical, radio electronic, machine tool, glass-ceramic, chemical, printing, food industry. Universities, Carnegie Institute of Technology. Picture gallery.

Most of the Uzbeks living here have been working in local hotels as attendants for many years: dishwashers, laundresses, housekeeper (maids), toilet cleaners, in a word - laborers. The firm that hired them serves 16 hotels in Pittsburgh and its surroundings. Hotels pay $ 10 per hour to the company, the company pays $ 6-6,5 per hour to its employees. Most Uzbeks live here in the Green Tree area, which they themselves called the “makhallya”.

Where you can’t look here, you will definitely see an Uzbek or a representative of other Central Asian republics. They rent an apartment and live in it for five or six people - so it goes cheaper. Everyone pays for housing about $ 125 per month.

Every morning at five o'clock three minivans from the company transport people to hotels and hotels. At the same time, they pay the fare from their own pocket ($ 1,5). The drivers of these cars, at other times carrying guests of hotels, are also from the CIS. Local Uzbeks say that additional jobs can always be found in Pittsburgh.

They work an average of ten hours a day. But there are those who work and 16 hours in a row. Moreover, these are elderly people already. The place where it is possible to stay for a part-time job after the main job is the Radisson Hotel, which is located in the Monroeville area. This hotel is my interlocutor called the "police", and some even - "the Gestapo." The reason for this is the very rude, and at times cruel, treatment of American staff with migrant workers. So, each employee of the hotel, as I was told, constantly monitors any step of the employee, checking whether he adheres to the rules established for the staff (it is forbidden to talk on the mobile phone in the hotel, you can only go outside at a set time, etc. ). The guilty may immediately dismiss. The American staff itself ignores these rules, although they also apply to it.

Junior staff calls this hotel "zone". I was hurt to hear how small managers of kitchens and warehouses put out their anger and irritation by loud swearing at the migrant workers who did not understand English.

- Americans talk about human rights, they are considered the most democratic people in the world. But where is this democracy? Do you know how they mock us? They didn’t like any trifle, and they kicked you out right away. I do not remember when I last heard the word "thank you".

There's a manager in the kitchen - Jim. If you only knew how stupid and angry he is, if you only saw how he treats us. I just have no words! In stock another Cerberus - Carmela. He always believes that he is right and will never even listen. I was also struck by the fact that all the staff here are following each other and gossiping. Only discuss each other. It is even disgusting to talk about it, - said the interlocutor, who wished to remain incognito.

The girl who cleaned the hotel rooms, also asked not to tell her name, told me:

- All days of the week, except Sunday, I start work at 8 in the morning. I need to have time to quickly remove the 15-rooms. Clients usually leave a tip. But we do not get the money. An employee of the mini-bar, Christie, who delivers drinks to the numbers in front of our work, bypasses all the vacant rooms and collects our tips for herself. I already got used to it and put up with it. Alas, I now know who the Americans are ...

Working time has expired. Someone stayed for a part-time job at the Radisson Hotel, someone went to other hotels. Uzbek migrant workers return to spend the night in rented apartments, where they can discuss the past day with their own. For some, he was unsuccessful, but someone brought additional income. I was invited to talk to myself two women (seemingly over fifty). The two of them live in the same room: a kitchen, two beds, newspapers in the Uzbek language and a small fan - that’s all life and time. A stuffy and hot evening in Pittsburgh is a little like this kind of Uzbek heat.

Perhaps this sets the tone for such a sad story of my interlocutors:

- We did not come here from a good life. There was not enough money. This is the main reason for coming here. Would we have left if it were possible to live a normal life in Uzbekistan? Look at us, it's time for us to sit at home and nurse the grandchildren, enjoying life. And you have to do foreign work in a foreign land. But here you can improve your financial situation. Someone as a result will be able to help their children get a good education, someone to ensure a normal life for the family ...

Фото: Depositphotos

My next interlocutor, Kamila, is a girl who lives in the “makhalla” next door, where mostly young people live (Poles, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Russians). Camila came to the US two months ago. And now regrets about his arrival:

- Do not go to America to work. It is better to be nothing, but at home, than for someone from “these” to work. It is better to do this work at home.

- Kamila, and at home would you be able to earn at least one third of what you get here?

- A man, if he really tries, can find a job ... In general, I don’t need this America for free ... And I am very sorry that I came here. I lived there very well. I had no shortage of anything. The question is, why am I here?

Neighbors began to call on Camille. And having learned that I was a journalist interested in the life of immigrants, they immediately entered into a conversation:

- Now we will express everything! And about Uzbekistan, and about America! Recently, the number of people who want to go to America has greatly increased, but not everyone manages to get an American visa. And they go not only to America, but to other countries. We have good relations with each other, we live normally. Recently, it has become even more active to communicate and make friends. If not gossip that spoils everything. Some guys have become interested in faith here and read namaz. Very often, among ourselves, the Hadiths are discussed and are looking for, so to speak, the right path in life. And everything would be fine if they had not begun to reproach each other about their behavior. After all, to pray or not - everyone decides for himself. Why impose your opinion and reproach others? Here I, for example, live with my Uzbek neighbor. Every day I read the notation, as he believes, of spiritual content. And once I began to prohibit my nails from being cut at night ... - a guy from Kazakhstan complained.

- Guys, what, in your opinion, is the difference between the laws in America and in Uzbekistan?

- The law is the same everywhere. If you take the laws of Uzbekistan - they are, in principle, normally developed. But the question is, who lives according to these laws? In America, every citizen listens to the law. If something is not recommended, then do not. And why is this not possible in Uzbekistan? It always hurts me so much in my heart when they say that cotton and gold are the wealth of Uzbekistan. Where is the wealth? Who sees him? They say: the president worries about his people ... I can not say that he thinks about his nation. If he thought about his people, then everything would be different. Do you think that the president does not know what people are saying about him? He knows it very well. Why are his daughters worthy to drive in good cars, dress cool and have what they want, but the common people are not worthy of it?

- Do you often read about the situation in Uzbekistan? What can you say about the events in Andijan?

- The Financial Times newspaper published articles about Andijan events for two weeks in a row. In one of the issues of the newspaper there was even a caricature of Islam Karimov with an ax in his hands. It is said that the death toll is 169 people. But we think they were much more.

By the way, after all of America learned about the Andijan events, the Americans began to be interested in us, ask about our loved ones whether any danger threatens them.

We talked for a long time and on various topics. And I was increasingly getting the impression that somewhere deep in the soul each of those who spoke wanted to return to their homeland. But only when everything changes. When the president resigns, when customs officials stop extortion, traffic cops will wiser, and the judges will be honest. But when it comes - none of the speakers did not undertake to predict. "... Maybe this will never happen at all?"

* * *

Especially for Fergana.ru The material was prepared by the correspondent of the Uzbek service of Radio Liberty Samandar. The names of some respondents were changed at their request. Some simply refused to call themselves out of concern for their own well-being.

* * *

An interesting fact: in the US, representatives of the Uzbek diaspora, as written uz-rek.com are the most law-abiding: out of almost 56000 Uzbek immigrants in the United States in 2013, according to the latest census, almost half live in New York.

“About 12000 Uzbeks live in Brooklyn. Immigrants from Uzbekistan come to New York via the Green Card Lottery. The State Department issues 55000 Green Card annually and in 2014-15 there were 4,368 lottery winners among Uzbeks, ”the newspaper notes.

In New York, Uzbek-Russian newspaper Vatandosh (Compatriot) is published for Uzbek-Russian residents.

In the period after the Second World War, several Uzbek families arrive in the United States; in 60 — 70, the number of Turkestan families in the United States reaches over a thousand. Most of the Uzbek migrants arrived in the United States from Turkey, and in the 80s from Afghanistan as a result of the Soviet intervention in this country. Starting from the 90-s to the present, there is a tendency of migration of ethnic Uzbeks from Uzbekistan to permanent residence in the United States under a contract or green card.

Most migrants are engaged in business, science, work in various institutions and enterprises. Part of the Uzbek diaspora is involved in government institutions, schools and colleges in the country, in areas such as the bar, aviation and medicine. Others hold positions of responsibility in the executive structures of US states. In America, according to law enforcement, representatives of the Uzbek diaspora are the most law-abiding and rarely violate the law. Among them are many exemplary families. Over the past 5 — 6 years, annually around 1000 — 1800, citizens of Uzbekistan have won the green card lottery and settled in America. So, more than 20 thousands of ethnic Uzbeks today are US citizens.

Famous Uzbeks in the United States: Sylvia Nazar - economist, writer and journalist, professor of business journalism at Columbia University; Alexey Sultanov - famous pianist; Alik Sakharov - film director; Varvara Lepchenko - professional tennis player; Milana Weintrub - actress; Nazif Shahrani - professor of anthropology at Indiana University; Margarita Volkovinskaya - actress and model; Nargiza Zakirova - singer.

Miscellaneous immigration Our people adaptation Uzbeks in the USA

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