If you’re interested in reading it…
118/1+2 (see blackboard/beamer)
We did a listening comprehension (An Immigrant’s Long Journey, transcript below) and read some parts of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol as well as in Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.
HOMEWORK: Please check the vocab (False Friends) pp. 5&6 and read / finish An Outpost of Progress until January, thank you.
[c] An immigrant’s long journey, part 2
How did you travel to the US? How did you cross the border:
on your own or did you have to hire a ‘coyote’?
We came to the US on our own with the help of my cousin,
Chava. I had to leave behind the things I loved most (aside
from my mom): my friends and my fútbol. There were 10 of
us who took the bus from Mexico City to Tijuana – a
3-day trip. When we got to Tijuana, we tried to cross the
border but there were too many of us that they caught us
and sent us back so we had to split up. The boys (my brother,
cousins and I) stayed behind and slept on the side of the
railroad tracks. The girls (my sisters and cousins) crossed the
border on their second attempt with Chava and then took
a plane from San Diego to San Francisco. We tried crossing
the border two more times unsuccessfully. It wasn’t until
the fourth time that we were lucky because it was during a
change of guards, 5 a.m. We walked for one day until we got
to San Diego.
Once you had arrived in the US, did you have to stay in
hiding all the time?
When we were in San Diego we had to be careful because la
migra was all over the place. We just tried to walk normally
and casually so as to not attract attention. We were so
hungry that we had to beg strangers for money. We were able
to collect $ 53 but the next morning la migra caught us and
brought us back to Mexico. With the $ 53 we ate something
in Mexico and tried to cross again the next day. We were able
to cross on the first try and we walked to San Diego again.
We felt lucky though because we met a Mexican family who
let us take a shower in their apartment and fed us breakfast.
Then we kept on walking and a Mexican restaurant gave
us some burritos to eat. After asking for more money from
strangers, we were able to stay overnight in one hotel but
the employee told us to get out early because he didn’t want
any problems with immigration. The following day we put
on some clothes that the Mexican family gave us and took a
plane to San Francisco – my cousin bought the tickets for us
and no ID was needed to travel back then. To this day, I find
it very difficult to deny anyone money or food when they ask
for it. I give to anyone who asks because I’ve been there and I
know that it’s not easy.
There has been a discussion in the US for some time now on
how Hispanics see themselves – as whites, as a minority in
the US, as still belonging to the people of their home country.
How do you see yourself?
I am a Mexican. I never knew about the word Hispanic until
I went to middle school in the US. In California, I did not
feel like a minority because Watsonville is full of Mexicans,
so I felt at home. Here in McLean, Virginia, I do feel like a
minority because there are mostly white anglos that live
here. I’m not saying that I have anything against them, but
that’s the way I feel.
How do you feel about anti-immigrant groups like the
Minutemen in Arizona who want to seal up the border and
make it totally impermeable?
They want to implement these laws but they don’t want to
work in the jobs that we risk our lives to cross the border
to do – work in the strawberry fields, bent over all day long
from sunrise to sunset earning $ 5 an hour with no insurance
or benefits; work in the canneries, poultry farms, and other
agricultural areas – lettuce, raspberries, mushrooms, things
like that. I knew one American who worked for 30 minutes
picking raspberries and then stopped and demanded his
pay. He couldn’t stand getting scratched up by the thorns. La
migra should spend their time trying to catch criminals who
hurt other people rather than trying to catch people who
only want to earn a decent living doing a job no one else
wants to do.
I don’t think politicians really want to legalize illegal
immigrants for a few reasons. Right now illegal immigrants
have taxes and social security withheld from their
paychecks. But because they don’t have a social security
number, they never see that money again. If the government
were to legalize these undocumented workers, they would
have to refund them what they earned. Also, it would be
very difficult to find documented workers to work the jobs
that illegal immigrants work in because once they get their
papers, they move on to better paying jobs with better
working conditions. The jobs that undocumented workers
do are really more like slave labor. People don’t complain
because it’s their only source of income but once they see a
way out, they take it.