The highly praised and sought after American dream occupies a prominent space in the Latin American imaginary, with the depiction of the United States as the land of opportunity having captivated the desires of many. The American dream is often thought about as an aspirational goal encompassing good work with a fair salary enabling a decent life and the possibility of sending children to good schools, acquiring a house, and so on. However, as we will see in specific cultural products about undocumented immigrants from the beginning of the last century to today, there is another side to this story. This article will first consider the point of departure of the American dream not as a path toward a better life but as a running away for survival. Second, the article will reflect on the face of longing central to the American dream immigration story, in which what is craved is not the aforementioned material goods, but instead the embrace of a husband, a father, or a mother gone long ago, as well as regaining a sense of identity, family, and belonging.

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