Why Undocumented Immigrants Matter
I can’t discuss immigration without getting upset. There are times that the topic makes me want to cry and/or flip a table over. When people refer to “illegal immigrants,” they are referring to my family, so it’s much more than a political issue for me. And I’m not ashamed to appear “too emotional.” My parents left their hometown to escape poverty. Growing up in desolate rural Mexico, they were only able to obtain a sixth grade education, and when they got married, there were very few jobs available. My paternal grandmother told me that my family was so poor that sometimes they would eat nothing but beans for weeks at a time. Out of desperation, my parents crossed the border in the trunk of a Cadillac in 1978.
My parents first arrived to Los Angeles where an aunt and uncle already lived. My father worked as a bus boy at the Brown Derby in Hollywood. My older brother was born soon after they arrived. Life in LA proved to be too hard so they quickly moved to Chicago where my mother’s brothers lived. In Chicago, my parents worked as laborers. My dad worked at a cheesecake factory for many years and then later at an industrial filter factory where he is now a supervisor. My mother worked at paper packaging factory. It is repetitive, brutal, and dehumanizing work…
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