What Was In My Parent’s Souls

Dear Congressman Hunter, after reading your assertion that it “takes more than walking across our border to become a citizen, its whats in our souls”,  I thought I’d introduce you to a couple of people I know pretty well.  See, I am a child of undocumented immigrants.

My parents were brought here by their parents when they were young children.  My Grandmother carried my mother in a shoebox into the United States.  As children, they worked in the orchards of California picking fruit and attended school when possible. They learned English by working alongside native-born Americans, this was the depression, after all, and even formerly well-heeled Americans found themselves picking lettuce for 14 cents a day.   They eventually moved to a barrio in East Los Angeles and worked in restaurants and warehouses to make ends meet.  My father saved enough money to buy a truck, then two, and began hauling produce up and down California’s highways.  WWII provided an opportunity to serve and become a citizen, and my dad fought the Japanese in the Philippine Islands.

The G.I. Bill put my father through college, and he earned an accounting degree at night school, since he had a family to support during the day.  My mother rented a small building and spent her days rolling taquitos which she sold to workers on their lunch breaks.  Her business grew, and she soon had employees that worked the counter for her.  She sold that business to her sister, who parlayed that small taco stand into one of the most successful Mexican food restaurants in the San Gabriel valley.  My mother returned to school as well, earned her degree, and worked at a college until she retired.  She also studied U.S. History, and Government, and eventually applied for citizenship.  She wasn’t to become a citizen for another decade, because she was warned that if she pursued it, her mother would be deported.  When my Grandmother died, my mom became a citizen.  It took almost 50 years.  It was her proudest day.

So, Congressman Hunter, I know all to well that it takes more than walking across the border to be an American.  I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that my parents lacked something “in their souls.”  Any man that would seek to deport native-born children for ANY reason deserves to have the content of his own soul called into question, if you ask me.  Oh, yea, and go read the 14th amendment if you haven’t done so.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “What Was In My Parent’s Souls

  1. Thanks for these powerful stories about your parents. They were Americans long before the government said so.

  2. Avi Poster

    Poignant and moving … you should be exceptionally proud of your parents and I am proud to call them fellow citizens. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Thats a great point, John.

  4. Señora López

    Wow, your parents are nothing less than amazing and this message is so powerful. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. The Missus

    John is right they are powerful stories. I think
    “American Dream “stories are great. They start in so many different countries and end in the U.S. I like our “melting pot” country, what a great idea, equality. Shame it has to be ruined by bigots.

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  7. Pingback: ‘I am a child of undocumented immigrants’ | Speak to Power

  8. Thanks for sharing your family’s story. There is something completely lacking in the souls of conservatives who want to decide who is and is not a “real” American.

  9. After reading this, I am even more proud to say that I am their granddaughter. I commend you, Grandpa and Grandma, for going through such a struggle to become a citizen. =)

  10. democommie

    Bravo, Mack, bravo!

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