Esperanza and Miguel imagine the United States to be a land of opportunity, where everyone gets a chance to succeed. Unfortunately, this dream turns out to be a wee bit idealistic. Sure, it looks like the United States is a prosperous place. With farmland extending as far as the eye can see, how could anyone starve in a place like this? But as it turns out, plenty of people in the U.S. are struggling with issues like poverty, exploitation, and racial prejudice. In Esperanza Rising, America is no utopia. But it's still a place with a better chance for making dreams come true.
America in this book is a big old bummer. Poverty and prejudice make persevering tough work for our characters.
The racial prejudice of American employers and the abuses of the immigration officials show Esperanza that working in the United States is no better than being a servant in Mexico. Mexicans in the United States are treated like "second-class citizens" (13.48).