Don’t Blame Me, or My Parents for America’s Immigration Problem
February 10, 2016
My family arrived to this country from Mexico on my fifth birthday in 2000 and settled in a small rural town of about 1,000 residents.
My parents immediately enrolled my siblings and me in the local school. Somehow, we were immunized, had clothes to wear and embarked on our very own American journey.
I don’t remember English being a struggle for me; If anything, I communicated very well with my peers and teachers.
I spent nine years at the same school — the only one in town.
But unbeknownst to me, my parents toiled, from early hours in the day till darkness in freezing temperature and broiling heat, pruning or harvesting crops in many Central Valley farms while I sat in a warm or refreshingly cool classroom every day.
We were let out of school everyday at 2:30 p.m., and the walk home was the usual — children filling the sidewalks and empty roads — free of cars and adults. We made it home to empty homes, for yet a long wait before our parents could fulfill their obligations before they could come home to their families.
Fridays were the best. It was payday and at 5 p.m., when my parents came home with the week’s pay, we enjoyed the chips, soda and much candy when our parents came home and served us our weekly dose of treats and love.
But what I loved was not the money, or candies or what money could buy.
What I loved was that my parents were able to provide just enough for my family to get by — enough food, clothing and had enough to pay our rent and bills.
I just wanted to know that my parents were satisfied with what little money they were able to reel into our household, because they had honestly earned it.
I never thought of our family as being less deserving than any other. We worked twice as much for everything we had and made immense sacrifices.
There are people out there who want me to point my finger at my mom and dad and blame them or my undocumented status. Those same people believe that only undocumented immigrants who are in school or have tons of degrees deserve to live in this country.
They are wrong, and I will never blame my parents for the blunder of an imperialist American nation.
On Dec. 8, 1993, former president Bill Clinton signed into law a disastrous bill — the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA].
That piece of multinational legislation fell short of placing any kind of human value; this decision ruined so many lives.
Many Mexican teachers, farmers, small-business owners and women and children who were displaced by the capitalist machine that is the U.S. government are the very people who, like my parents, have been working hard in this country to make a living.
So I will not look at my parents, who continue to work tirelessly in the vast Central Valley fruit fields and blame them because I — and they also — are in a situation of 12 million others living in the U.S. with no documentation or a paper that says I am a citizen of this nation.
That is divisive rhetoric and anyone who chooses to live by it is unfit for much of everything.
This country has too many uneducated politicians who sit around composing anti-immigrant policies that benefit nobody, and not a single mention of the fact that people like them are responsible for the post-NAFTA havoc.
Yes, we live here. It is safe to say that living here was not our first choice but simply because we are displaced. It does not mean that we should be criminalized and prioritized for hate.
As I study in college, my parents continue to work every single day.
Every morning, my family wakes up, knowing well that three brothers are now living in the very country we were displaced from; they were taken away by the evil and toxic force that is Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE], which has shamelessly let innocent people into prisons and county jails.
My family, like millions of displaced families will not be criminalized; I will not accept that the very people who are instilling fear and criminalizing immigrant communities continue to ignore their own mistakes.
This beastly government has grotesquely immense power on a global scale and they sometimes use it to perpetuate family separation, devaluing human dignity.