Buenas Tardes mis amigos,
Yes, I has been a while since I last posted anything, and I apologize my friends! As you may have noticed, my greeting is different from the usual. I have opted for my native Spanish greeting instead for the usual French, but I do it for to celebrate my Hispanic Heritage Month.
I am Latina above anything; so today’s posting will be about a very important topic to me and for the majority of America– Latinos and immigration. In the up in coming race for the nomination to the presidential election for the United States, immigration has become a hot topic, as always. Though, many candidates for a nomination have already made their stance very clear in where they stand on immigration policy. Some have gone as far as singling out a group of people as undesirable immigrants, I will not name names nor point fingers (insert head roll towards a certain hopeful presidential candidate). I repeat, I AM LATINA, and 1st generation Mexican/Central-American. No longer will we keep quite; no longer must we keep quite, we have been called out. A response is required! I have never felt as proud of my heritage as I am today, I have a response for many candidates over their views and allegations over Latinos and Hispanics in the U.S. I hope you hear me loud and clear.
My parents immigrated here in the early 80s with the same hope as others who came before them; the hope for a better future. My mami, a single mother of one and younger siblings who depended on her income to survive, left Mexico to arrive in Houston, TX hoping for a better opportunity and in search for work. She came here to the U.S in hopes of a better survival rate for her young son. A wall didn’t stop a mother from seeking a better future, nor did a first touristic visa denial on her first attempt. She was denied a stamp in the morning, and returned in the evening for another attempt. Permission granted. Passport and bus ticket in hand, she boarded for Houston.
I’ve asked her so many times about that decision, I can almost see her facing that difficult decision once more. In many instances she has recalled the moment she last held her infant son before leaving him behind with her mother. She tells me “en ese momento, sabía que estaba perdiendo a mi hijo” (In that moment, I knew that I was losing my son.) The need was so great in her household, that the sacrifice needed to be made. It was the choice between watching her son grow up in awful poverty or providing a better future for him while he grew up at a distance from her. She was 23 years old. I couldn’t imagine having to make that type of decision at any age, let alone have to live with it for the rest of my life. Mi mami arrived to Houston with eleven dollars to her name and a small blue luggage bag holding her clothes. I look at that small bag and compare it to the daily purse which I carry now, my purse is far larger. She jokingly says that “esa es tu herencia” (that is your inheritance), I look at her and admire her. I will be proud if all that is left to me is that blue bag as my inheritance, I will probably pass it down to my daughter, God willing.
Mi mami worked long hours as a live-in housekeeper in wealthy upper middle class household near the world’s largest medical center. She would save almost all of her earnings in order to send them to the family she missed. Years of sacrifice later, she was able not only able to feed and support her son, but also her siblings, and was able to build a roof over their heads. So many year’s of routine, and solitude paid off. Her goal had been met, the family she had left back in Mexico where living much better and with a brighter future, thanks to the American dollars she was earning. The wage of 50 dollars a week, where able to sustain a family of at least four in Mexico. Not only did it sustain, it built and progressed a family in Mexico. It would be years before my mami could see what she had been able to build, since she had over-stayed her visa and could not afford not to return to the U.S. She was a prisoner in the country of opportunity. It would take a president with enough cojones to pass an amnesty and ease residency/citizenship for her to finally be able to hold her son in her arms again.
Thankfully, my mami met my papi, who shared the same immigration status as she did. Two different motivations, two visions filled with shared hopes and dreams, and two over-stayed visa later; led to a beautiful team that would build and create a family of their own in the land of opportunity. I chose to share my mami’s story first, because it was her story that I had the most trouble understanding. Making a choice of separating from a child to migrate to another country in hopes of something better, was something that I could never imagine facing. I could never imagine having to come to that choice, because I have never faced what my mother faced at 23. I have never faced the desperation of a new mother who was struggling to feed her child, and could foresee the awful future that would await them if drastic measures had not been taken. The strong woman who has raised me has been the source of my inspiration and drive. All that she was able to over come in order for a better life not only for herself, but for others who depended on her, has left me in awe. There is no way that I can’t achieve anything; I have a strong, beautiful and intelligent Latina who is my greatest supporter.
I had a full intend of going further into analyzing the views of immigration and the problem with sticking Latinos with this negative image of criminals for the simple dream to work towards a better future that our countries of origins cannot provide. As I began writing some of my mother’s story, I realized that this isn’t something that can be done in only one posting. It deserves full attention, so I will break it down into several pieces and publish them here. I promise that I will analyze the problem of how immigration in the U.S has been handled and offer another point of view. All I ask is for patience and understanding. Until tomorrow!
Buenas Noches, que descansen!
❤ ❤ ❤ Adriana Elizaveth
p.s. Keep in mind, that we are all american.