An Immigrant Story; Is it ‘Self-deportation’ or ‘Controlling your own Destiny’?

The following is a story of real people: The narrator is a person we know through life and work, the friend he writes about is also someone we have known for years. The following is from their journal entries which begin with the struggle; the impossible decision of whether to stay or go. I am sharing their story so that you may get a glimpse into that process, and what follow-through may look like.

Immigration as a political issue is complex. Immigration as a lifestyle, as an identity marker, takes guts and commitment and strength and grit and resilience. These thirteen journal entries will help you get a sense of this complexity. Here is the beginning of my friend’s story:

NOTE: Through-out the story the author, refers to both his immigrant friend and the 2 friends that helped them make the trip. For sake of clarity the immigrant is often referred to as mi Carnal, a term similar to my best friend or homeboy.

Immigrant Story 1:

The last two weeks have seemed like an eternity; that is when my friend announced that he believed it was time for him to return to Mexico.

It had not been a rash decision. I think it began November 10, once it was clear our President would be a person who had won based on fearmongering and scapegoating of immigrants–especially Mexicans and Muslims.
But the final decision came after a month of the new POTUS administration. The news was out: unintended persons, if caught up in a raid, would be deported. ICE was coming to job sites, detaining mothers, dreamers, and ordinary workers; it was hard to tell who would be next and word was that this scourge was coming to our city as well. There had been ICE raids at some construction sites, ICE was seen around town, and while our sheriff talked from one side of his mouth as an ally, POTUS threatened Sanctuary Cities, and we really didn’t know what would come next.
My friend announced that he felt he needed to go. We determined that driving was the best option, so that he could have a much needed vehicle if he were to work and have any prospects of success in Mexico. A couple of other friends announced they would be willing to make the trip with us. They would help with the driving, and be extra eyes, ears, and hands to keep us safe from the cartels along the way. They cleared their schedules and arranged with their families. I had to find a window of time that would work in the near future and also convince and calm my wife. While initially angry and frightened, she soon came to see that after years of friendship and sharing life as deeply as we had, we could not leave our friend to himself, at the whims of the US government, to flee from a country which for years had offered him shelter, now that a new wind of anger was blowing against hardworking migrants who had given so much more to a country than they had ever taken.” …

Immigrant Story 2

I began to grieve and prepare; mi carnal began to re-evaluate. The re-evaluating had to do with checking all his options: 1) Could he find a way to stay? 2) Is there a better place to move? 3) What did family members, both here in the US and in Mexico, think was best?

It was initially frustrating to me. I had made plans and begun preparations. I needed information to continue planning, but now he had withdrawn from conversations about the future.

‘Don’t pressure me! I need to talk to family and think.’

I just wanted information–but as I thought more deeply I realized he was making a life altering decision. There was no way I could even begin to understand the gravity of the decision he was facing for his future.

And so, for the next week we kicked the can down the road–waiting, wondering. I watched in prayer and quiet support as he withdrew more into sadness and frustration. Anger would quickly arise out of nowhere, and even though it would happen for some unknown reason at a work site, and even though it would often be directed at me, I knew the anger was not rooted in me or the job we were undertaking, but rather in the frustration in recognizing that our society was changing and we had no control over where it would take us. A decision loomed from which he could not walk back.
After the consultation of family was done, I stopped by his place one evening and we wrote out a pro/con chart (para salir/no salir; to go or not go). When I left, the short lists were on his coffee table, and he was still thinking. The next day, on our way home from work, NPR was on the truck radio in the background of our conversation. We were making small talk about the job, but I was distracted by the story they were sharing on the radio. An undocumented man in Houston–well-loved from his taco truck business; a family man–was detained and getting deported after ICE picked him up. He had an order for deportation from 1993–24 years ago! He hadn’t left then, and now he was facing almost certain deportation.

While mi carnal is quite competent in English, I wondered whether, with volume so low, he had heard the story. I hesitated. By directing his attention to the radio story, would I be adding unnecessary fear to his life, or giving him valuable information? I realized I should NOT be a filter, only a conduit. I asked if he had heard the story. He hadn’t. I explained the situation of the houston worker facing deportation.

Mi carnal shook his head. Shortly after he began to speak of us leaving in the concrete–as absolute. He had made his final decision.”

Immigrant Story 3

Over the last few days, my emotions have been shot.

I tear up as I enter our work site, or get angry at the littlest things. I have been grieving the loss of a friend and been angry at friends and family who voted for the man who is bringing this curse on us all.

I am heartbroken that with all my privilege–of birth; something I could never control–my best friend is being excluded for his accident of birth–for nothing he has done.

Yet underneath it all, I feel a ting of excitement at the prospect of a 40-hour road trip; excitement of once again being with the family of my dear friend in his home village in southern Mexico. I had visited once, years ago. It’ll be good to see them, and I like the idea of traveling Mexico from top to bottom.

I feel guilt for being excited about a trip based on such political horror.

Finally, I am a little nervous. I hear tales of kidnapping and robbery and know that, while I feel safe with my friends, we are not immune from the crime that is rampant in a country where the economy and society has been damaged by both internal and external forces–many of which started with decisions made by the USA.

It sucks. Getting work arranged for people. Saying goodbye to the people that you can. And wondering who you can trust to tell the truth about the trip we are about to take. Last night I delivered a check to a guy who subcontracts with us. He’s Latino. He and his wife are just finishing up their house. They have 3 grown kids–all college graduates. Both are undocumented.
These friends were surprised, but not shocked–especially considering mi carnal, as to his decision to self-deport. He has no kids or wife and thus less human reasons to stay, or legal connections for that matter.
This couple teared up as they realized there was no other option and we really needed to go.

The wife offered, ‘Let’s pray.’ She took my hands, bowed her head, and called on the Lord to protect us from accidents, from cartels and other peril, and protection from border patrol within the 100-mile border region. They encouraged us to be wise and safe. They advise that weekends are sometimes safer, as the cartels are partying then and don’t go back to ‘work’ until Monday. I mention that we plan to cross into Mexico on Tuesday. His wife reminds him and us… ‘We won’t worry; we have prayed!’

Today I also met with our other subcontractor who will be working while we travel. He also tells us to be safe. I ask him, ‘Do you have any advice on what that looks like? Being safe?’ He said, ‘Use your mirrors a lot. Watch to be sure no one is following you. If you feel they are, then go somewhere public. Or, try to lose them. Also, don’t use US money (dollars) in Mexico.'”

Immigrant Story 4

I sent a picture of mi carnal’s ID to the broker for vehicles at the border.

Hopefully, when we get there they will have the paperwork ready for us to transfer the truck and cross the river/border into Mexico.
One of the crazy things is how much mi carnal has to leave behind. Between the Mexican import taxes and the issues with theives, he is leaving his best truck. Nice car. He is leaving his furniture and most of his tools. Today, as we were loading up, I asked him if he was taking the stand for his TV and games. He got angry. ‘How many times do I have to tell you? I have to pay extra for anything I bring back!’ I know it wasn’t so much being angry with me, but frustration with the system and situation.

We’ve been pushing hard to get to the border. Hopefully the paper work on our vehicle will be processed so we can get the inspection done and be on our way. After a late dinner at a Texas Roadhouse, we are back on the highway. It is 11pm. Mi carnal has now started to have his farewell conversations with friends. Goodbye calls and texts from the road are easier emotionally than face to face.

My daughter came to age with mi carnal in her life–almost like an uncle. In many ways, he has been more a part of her life than some of her biological uncles. She and her husband had planned to be out of town on our departure date. Before they left last week, they stopped by a work site to see mi carnal and say goodbye. My daughter called from the road with sadness in her voice, ‘I’m not sure why, but it really hurts. I’m so sad that he feels like he has to leave.’ Luckily, we were delayed in leaving. They came home a day early and so, before we headed out, they stopped by for a picture–my daughter, her husband, their new baby, and her tio, mi carnal.

Families are being separated by broken systems. Not only blood related and legally designed families, but also chosen families–those deep friendships that have spiritual, emotional, and economic interdependent connections.

We’re in the truck; I’m riding in the back. I tell mi carnal and our two US citizen friends who have taken time away to help, ‘You know, few men can count one good friend who will do whatever to help in a time of need. Thank God we all have many.’ Mi carnal smiles thankfully, knowingly. The pressure of deciding and preparing to leave the US now dissolves into the process of the journey home.”

Immigrant Story 5

Is it self-deportation, or
choosing your own destiny?

I have to stay strong. As we are almost to the border Mi carnal is sleeping in the front. I’ve driven almost all day. Now I’m in the back. One drives, two sleep. I get caught up in emotions. I just read Kali’s first posts. Even though it’s my words they scrape the callous off this wound.

Mi carnal is a Mexican man. Macho. Not given to show much emotional pain. I’ve learned it is a survival tactic. On the flip side, I’ve learned that my white male sentimentality is in some ways a result of living a life fairly isolated from pain. I’ve never wondered if I would go hungry, day after day. I’ve never wondered if I could find a safe place to stay, or a job, or money for my basic needs. Those are the struggles that led mi carnal to the USA, and through them he learned to value friendships, God’s provision, and his own initiative.

The struggles of life also taught him you can’t waste energy or time crying or feeling bad about what you can’t change. He asked me once, ‘¿porque eres muy sentimental? (Why are you so emotional?)’ But in the last weeks I’ve watched this macho Mexican man’s eyes get wet and red during the hugs and farewells. It’s hard. It sucks.

I’ve always known that men need to show emotion. But at this time I need strength to keep mine in check. I don’t want my grief and sorry to detract from his. Mi carnal, my brother. My homie.” …

Immigrant Story 6

Had lunch at Whataburger. Then, we took a few minutes to see where we can get the ’emission test’ Mexico requires. Nowhere near us; just in Dallas, Houston, and Austin…. crap. The title broker service in Laredo says they can get us one for just $150. Yet, there are no authorized emissions inspectors in Laredo? Normally the cost is $25. Welcome to bribe-country. We just left San Antonio. We have to be at the broker’s office before 4pm to get all the paperwork and inspection done. Then we can cross tomorrow morning. Hopefully these guys are clean and haven’t sold us out to a cartel looking for a truck? I’m not too worried, but the thought is there.
Last week I woke up one morning thinking it would be nice if we could make the truck look more beat up than it is. Thankfully it is covered with road salt. Looks pretty shitty now. My friend said, ‘we ain’t gonna wash it. This is our camouflage to sail by ladrones.’ (theives) Lol. Thank God!
We made it to Laredo. The place I found to be our broker for legalizing the truck was a camping trailer from the 70’s we could hardly find because they shared the lot and address with a used car dealer.

We weren’t feeling super encouraged about this being a legitimate business that had gotten our paper work going on the truck permit. If not done right, you have to wait 72 hours from the time you get the sticker and when you can cross into Mexico. But once we got there the guy was super helpful. We had been calling them throughout the day so they were ready. We had to run to the bank to get over $3000 cash to pay the fee.
As we were getting pictures and counting money the broker told me, ‘We don’t get many Americans calling to legalize vehicles to bring into Mexico. So I wanted to be sure you were legitimate. So we Googled you. I saw you were against the wall and for Mexicans and immigrants. So we trusted you’
Says something about what we base trust on. I was suspicious of them and they were suspicious of me. I risked blind trust out of necessity; they Googled me before they could be sure.” …

Immigrant Story 7

“We are finally heading into Mexico.

The 2-3 hour wait to get the truck legal turned into 6. As we waited at the old FEMA trailer-turned office we seriously began to wonder if we would see the truck again. But eventually, he showed up. He had pictures to show us as proof that he was delayed because of all the traffic at the border crossing. He even presented me with a bolt, to replace the one we lost earlier in the day when we were removing the topper.
After a trip to the bank, getting cash transferred and filling up with gas we headed out to the crossing. Mi carnal insisted that he drive. We crossed fairly easily. After unloading everything and paying a small fee for the gifts my friend had bought for family back home–blenders, a microwave, some clothes irons, and a chain saw.
We headed out from the inspection thinking it went well. But we had forgotten, or never really knew, and we were never told, that us Americanos needed to get a permit to enter. We didn’t find out until we were 20 miles in at the immigration check point. So, we headed back to the border. For some unknown reason, the immigration official there filled out our forms and sent us on our way. Not sure why he didn’t ask us to pay the $20-30 dollars. I even ask if we needed to pay. No? Bueno. Gracias. So now we are on one of the best highways I’ve seen on the whole trip. Mexican engineering.

Last night was a blessing. We got into Monterey about 10pm and although it had been 14 years since I had visited this family, I was able to get us right to the house. They were my first Mexican family; they taught me to appreciate Mexican hospitality and food. They had always said ‘Mi casa es tu casa’; that was not just a saying for them, it was a reality. Their house is ours. Mi compa was immediately relaxed and more open to talk now about how the political realities of the USA were making it difficult for many migrants–people who have been a significant part of the fabric of the society for years.

I first met my Monterrey family almost 30 years ago, and have been a guest in their home many times. They shared that they knew of other people who had family members in the USA who were nervous as well, and some who were planning to, or had already returned.
We shared a simple meal before going to bed. We had as much conversation as possible, knowing we were getting up at 5 am to hit the road and beat the traffic. Mi compa was the first up. He never is up first, but there’s an excitement about getting home. He was ready. We loaded up. The señor of the house prayed for us, gave us directions, and we were on our way.” …

Immigrant Story 8

A story of Godly love and human friendship:

“While the last few days of driving have blurred into a massive group undertaking, this morning I was emotionally awoken from the stupor of 3 days of driving to the reality we would soon be separated and a new life for us both would begin.
Our compa from Mexico City took us to find a good hotel where we could park the truck with security. Then we walked to get some of those legandary DF tacos.

We were right at the spiritual heart of Mexico. The Villa de Guadalupe. In the distance we could see the Cathedral and the original basilica that were built in her honor after she appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec man, just 20 some years after the Spanish conquest and humiliation. Mi Carnal asked me to recount this story to our two friends who had accompanied us on this long journey–now pilgrimage.
Our friend from Mexico City met us in the morning and then we walked up to the basilica de Guadalupe.

Mi carnal is not religious, but has strong faith. He rarely attended church, but he knew the prayers of his Grandmother, who, when he was a child, had been his primary care giver. When I visited her years ago I went to the village church where a candle had been maintained for years, representing the prayers she was offering for mi carnal. His safe passage to the USA, his ability to leave the life of street gangs without consequence, our serendipitous meeting years ago, the successful company he built…. we realized all of these are gifts from a wise and caring God.

Mi Carnal doesn’t live a religious life of talk and pious acts. He lives a life of action and love. To me his life of faith in a Jesus of the people was an example that preserved my faith after living years among the pious–those who worship their doctrines and comfort, rather than walking in faith.
On the way to the Basilica our friend from DF asked me my thoughts about Mi Carnal leaving the USA. We talked about the fear that the new administration has launched in the hearts of Mexicans. The reality of deportations of non-criminal, tax-paying workers. He shared with me how sad it is but then said, ‘no hay mal, que por bien no venga’ (there is no bad, that does not come for the good,) he shook his head… ‘that’s what I believe’
I know Mi compa lives by this same faith.
When we got to the basilica we followed the tourist line through to see the image of Guadalupe. Then we realized a mass had just begun, we found a seat near the middle, the music and pageantry were beautiful. I’ve been to enough masses over the years to understand and participate. Mi Carnal knows the liturgy well. Our friend from DF informed us the presiding priest is the archbishop of Mexico.

As the mass progressed I watched the altar boys and girls carrying the gifts, candelabras, and crucifixes. I saw elderly men and women bent over from their harsh years, who, judging by their clothes, were from the countyside. Poor and accompanied by children and grandchildren on this pilgrimage to the spiritual birthplace of Mexico.

I thought about the hopes and dreams of over 500 years of a people. Crushed by colonialism, brutal rulers, abusive power structures from both the church and state, internal corruption and the neo-colonialism of their neighbor to the north.

We started to sing the chorus, ‘danos La Paz.’ I opened my mouth to sing and tears began to sneak down my cheeks. ‘Give us peace..’ What peace? I thought about the reign of fear Trump has unleashed in the US. Both the migrants’ real fear and his followers’ fear based on his hateful narratives. I thought about the suffering poor here in Mexico and around the world while the wealthy seek to accumulate and keep others away.

Mi Carnal laid his hand on my shoulder. “It’s ok.” I looked towards him, fighting back tears. ‘No estoy llorando solo por ti, ni por nosotros, es por todo.’ (I’m not crying just for you or us… But for everything)

He nodded and smiled compassionately.
Over the years I’ve been to a handful of masses with Mi Carnal. He would come and pray, but never go forward for the sacrament, the communion. Strictly speaking by the church’s teaching, one should have confession before taking the sacraments. And so he never felt qualified. Strictly speaking, non catholics shouldn’t partake either. But for this, possibly our last mass together for years, we went forward together. We believed God knew we had gone through enough together in his gace to partake together in this symbol of His love.”

Immigrant Story 9

South to the sea.

“After our short time of exploring the area around the Basilica and lunch, we headed back to the truck and started to work our way out of Mexico City. We all wish we could have had more time to explore this ancient city—over 700 years old and one of the largest in the world. However we needed to make it to the city near the home of Mi Carnal before nightfall.
While we have had no problems or seen no danger, we were trying our best to not travel across the countryside during the night. Many with awareness had informed us that late night travel in desolate areas posed the most risk of being robbed or kidnapped. As we came down out of the mountains surrounding Mexico City again we were impressed with the wide, beautiful highways and the lush green trees, many evergreens along the way. It looked much like a mountain road through Colorado. However, after a few hours we were soon on a broad, smooth, divided highway with few exits, houses or towns visible. These would be the mountain passes that could, during the cover of darkness, be a great place for Cartels or thieves to make their move.

However with the bright hot sun and the steady traffic we felt great. Soon we entered the large city where some of Mi Carnal’s cousins and uncles live. We got to their home and received a warm welcome with lots of hugs and embraces. Mi Carnal was quick to have us unload the truck and especially the gifts he had brought back for family members. Bringing gifts from the USA is a tradition that goes back to the old days when migrant workers crossed back and forth with ease, there were much fewer restrictions at the border and workers from Mexico have a long history of supplying labor in everything from farming to construction.
Years ago a student I worked with, who as a child moved to the Chicago area with his Mexican parents, told me of how he remembered his dad and other men in his village would leave for work in March of each year. They would return to the same areas as the year before, work and then then return in December to celebrate Christmas and the new year with their families. He told me about how there was always a huge party when the parents would return and they always brought gifts for all.
Somehow, the USA has seemingly forgotten this friendly relationship of needed workers, and open exchange with Mexico. However, the tradition of bringing back gifts continues; there were gifts of Microwaves, Blenders, Clothes Irons and even a chain saw for the uncle who keeps the farm land in the village. After a nice meal, and great conversation, we made our way to bed. Tomorrow would be the final day of our journey to “el pueblo” the village and the family home in the country side near the pacific coast.” …

Immigrant Story 10

Going Home
“After coffee and some breakfast we went and got the truck from the secured lot where we had parked it the night before. No one in this city leaves their cars on the street over night. But not far away was a mechanic who had space in his yard to secure trucks, buses and cars for a small fee.

We loaded up and headed out. Mi Carnal and our two friends were in the truck, I road with tio in his car, as he would guide us across the city to the road that would take us to the village. As Tio and I led the way up the mountain and to the coast of this large city, I asked him about the violence and the presence of the cartels. He shared how violence had gone down, but the Narco’s (cartels) were still very much in control. He explained to me that they collect monthly fees from anyone selling goods, from food to toys along the street, and that all the taxi drivers are forced to pay as well. But he explained, you keep to yourself and they don’t bother you. It made me wonder about the impact of US official travel advisories?

This is a state targeted by an US State Department travel advisory, yet the homicide rate is lower than Illinois. Why is there not a travel advisory to Chicago? How does the lack of tourism to this lush and beautiful city negatively impact it’s poorest citizens?

On the far edge of the city, in very affluent area, we stopped to stretch and get a photo, I asked a young man sitting there if he would take our picture. After taking the photo, I realized he was selling sunglasses, and that his foot was slightly de-formed, and most of his calf-muscle was missing. I wondered, if in such a wealthy area the cartel still controlled the street sales? I asked Tio, His answer surprised me. “No the cartels don’t make the handicapped pay fees”

Mi Carnal is moving back to his home, but this is a place with very different rules and customs from what he has come to expect after almost 18 years in the USA.
Mi Carnal, came of age in the USA, He grew up learned how to make it here in the USA, While he knows the Mexico of his childhood and early teen years, so much has changed since then. In addition, the manners of life and business he has learned to expect through his years in the USA will not always apply here.

I am sure some of his silence in this long trip has been trying to make sense of what exactly this long drive has meant. It is more that just the most massive road-trip any of us have even undertaken. It is a hand-off, a semi-gradual transition, it is a meeting of his US family and his Mexican past and future. It is a collision of worlds, it is the direct culmination of hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric and the votes it garnered. It at times feels like the collapse of a dream, yet we are here in part to assure that new dreams can arise from the rubble of the old.” …

Immigrant Story 11

The road was no longer a freeway, but a 2-lane paved road through the countryside. We would wind through small towns and at time catch a view of a spectacular valley or the ocean coast. We stopped for some fresh coconuts to drink, and filled up with gas, which is significantly more expensive ($3.50 USD / GAL) than here in the USA, even while the average annual income is MX is only $12,000.
As we made our way into the village the excitement was growing, the goal of our journey was in sight. Long-lost embraced family would soon be embraced. The new chapter was soon to begin. We pulled up in front of the family home, Mi Carnal jumped from the driver’s seat to open the metal gate surrounding the yard, his elderly grandmother, his caregiver since birth, was quickly scurrying across the patio with keys in hand, she unlocked the padlock, the gate swung open and they locked in a long embrace.

We were able to stay together 4 more days before we had to return to our own families and jobs. At one time one of Mi Carnal’s aunts made the comment, “It is not normal for a person to have such great friends as these who came with you.” He is very aware of that, The other two men who made the trip with us have young children, wives and jobs they had to leave behind for the 9 days of this journey. But over the years, we had become a band of brothers, carnales, through work, play and struggle.

Mi Carnal had lived in one of these guys home. His wife was like an adored big sister and his children became like his own. Mi Carnal treated them as princesses. The other man is slightly younger than mi Carnal, also married with small children and a demanding career. We had spent hours with him as well, at times working together, but also just hanging out , often at his home for food and bonfires. He is ethnically 1/2 Mexican, and is striving to raise his children in a way that they can stay connect to and respectful of that heritage. These are men we know we can count on for anything, there is a deep shared sense of respect and connection. When Mi Carnal announced it was time or him to leave, they all knew this is a journey they wanted, and needed to make.
Perhaps the most powerful thing about our relationship is that our bonds, our interactions, are mutual. We would all say that we receive more from this friendship than we give.

On our last evening Mi Carnal and I gave his mama a gift that had been given to us for the journey, a rosary blessed by Pope Francis. She teared up and began to thank me profoundly. His mom and grandmother were both there thanking me for “taking care” of their son. I accepted their thanks but quickly worked to point out that we did not “take care of him” he helped care for us as well. I wanted them to hear loudly that with all of the “social power and class disparities” that they may feel are between us, their son is our equal. He helped US all, he taught us so much, he shared so generously, he challenged us to live life more deeply and we are all better off emotionally and economically because of their son, Mi Carnal. He had through his hard work, wisdom, charisma, and industry created a business that over past 6 years had generated more than $700,000 in sales. That’s lots of money to local sub-contractors, material suppliers, and taxes, local, state and federal. His name is on all the documents of the company, from the state registration to the IRS taxpayer ID. For the purposes of income generation and taxpaying the US government welcomed him. But because a wave on anti-immigrant fear spread across the nation, his contribution and participation is now rejected.

We live in a nation who has decided that scapegoating the most defenseless is easier than solving complex problems, and so he has chosen to leave, taking one of his trucks but having to leave so much behind.” …

Immigrant Story 12

The Penultimate
“Mi Carnal wanted for us to see and experience the best his village has to offer. We visited 4 awesome beaches in just 3 days. Ate fresh and spectacular ceviche, lobster and fresh caught fish. It was his village’s annual celebration of their patron Saint and so there were fireworks, bull-riding, dances and lots of great fun. Everywhere we went people were warm and receptive. We were among family, where mi casa es tu casa.
At one beach we met a group of young men who were impressed that we (the 3 from the USA) were so courageous in the waves, they expected Americans to be soft and cowardly, wanting a safe, still pool of water. At another beach the young men commented on how they respected us from when we first got there because they could tell we didn’t look down on them and that we saw them as equals. It really made me think about how Mexicans view Americans, is it mainly from self-absorbed tourists, US movies, or the experiences of friends and family who live in the USA? Later in the week I learned about the spring break American youth who were chanting “Build that Wall” while on Mexican beaches. While some seek American “Greatness” I think the world would welcome a little American humility.

Almost every conversation turned to a curiosity about the newest issue in international affairs, Our new President and his policies and rhetoric on immigrants. Over and over we were asked our opinion, but rarely did their opening question assume that we were opposed to President Trump’s policies. Once they learned our thoughts and feeling there was a new openness to share with us their true feelings.
Multiple people asked “HOW could this happen in the USA?” Part of our answer was always an assurance that his anti-immigrant policies do NOT represent the majority of Americans, and we would frequently go into a brief explanation of how the electoral college operates in presidential elections.
Almost everyone we met knew of people moving home, or already deported since the new administration has come to power.

It was sobering to see the chilling effects a New York Billionaire can have on fishermen and mango farmers on the Mexican coast. But the poor in Mexico have never learned to trust in their government, and so in someway their resilience stood as an example of hope for the future and resistance to evil government.

Most Mexicans strongly dislike their own president Enrique Peña Nieto, he is extremely rich, viewed as being out of touch, and corrupt; a laugh-lines of dark humor we frequently heard was “Ahora Los Estados Unidos tiene mas en comun con Mexico; los dos tienen presidentes pendejos…” (Now the USA and Mexico have something more in common. we both have and idiot (asshole) for a president.”)

Immigrant Story 13

The Final Chapter

“Mi Carnal did not chose to self-deport, he chose to maintain control of his own destiny.

He is also from a long line of resilience and resistance. He will be ok. We will continue to work together to help new dreams rise from the ones that have collapsed, but also, we here in the USA will also continue to be strengthened and encouraged by his example and the example of other Mexican, Latinxs and all immigrants.

“LA LUCHA SIGUE” Is a common closing, in a sense also farewell, but in reality a parting blessing, literally it means “THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES”

I believe this is what the Apostle Paul meant in the letter to the Galatians when he wrote. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

La Lucha Sigue!”

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