I grew up near the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, Ca. My parents are both from Tijuana, Mexico. My dad was adopted by my grandfather who was Puerto Rican and as such, an American citizen. I was raised by Immigrants, a father who had the privilege of living his youth on the northern side of the border and a mother who like most immigrants, crossed the border on a daily basis to attend school until she and her siblings were given permanent residence.
I am the first generation born and raised in the United States, Mexican American, Hispanic, however, you want to say it. I cannot begin to comprehend the emotions and fear that our Latinx counterparts are currently enduring due to our political climate. My heart goes out to them and I will continue to pray that justice is served for those who have been wronged, however, this isn’t a post about them.
I grew up in a home where my father was educated, spoke perfect English and my mom was a stay at home mom who attempted to take English classes at night. It wasn’t necessary, over the years she learned to speak English through her kids, while it’s not perfect, she has been speaking English for most of her adult life.
When I was young my family traveled a lot due to my dad’s job. We had the privilege of driving cross country and visiting every state in the process. We saw things and experienced new places in great part due to his perseverance and unwillingness to settle in his career.
We spent a few years living in Georgia and then in South Carolina, where I was known as the little Mexican girl. I didn’t care, I was from California and that made me the cool little brown girl from the west coast. I thrived on who I was even as a child. While all the local girls had blonde hair and blue eyes, I had long espresso colored hair and dark brown eyes.
There were other Hispanic girls there for the same reason I was but I found myself drawn to a different crowd. My African American friends, yes the black girls made me feel like I was just one of the girls! They fiercely defended me when anyone said anything about how I spoke or why I had an accent. (For the record the only accent I have is the one all Mexican girls have… it’s not really an accent, it’s just the way we talk.)
All our years of travel and relocation allowed me to grow up knowing that we are all different, we all come from different places and have different backgrounds. I have never disliked someone because of something that is out of their control. I am grateful for the job my dad held for over 30 years, I am proud of him for having the career that he did and being the man that he is.
In today’s society due to political outrage, my father would not be seen as such a hero.
My dad retired from The US Border Patrol last year and I am so grateful that he did due to the monstrosity that is immigration reform in today’s society. While I see him for the man he truly is other people may not have. I grew up in a time where having a father working in the Border Patrol was something I could brag about. What about now? What about these kids who have parents that are agents now? In today’s society where they are villainized, how can these kids not be afraid to say, “My parent is a Border Patrol Agent.” What about their spouses who do not know what their next shift may bring… I remember praying to God, on many occasions, that my dad would make it home safe. That was just normal fear and anxiety because I knew my dad carried a gun for a living. I’m sure all families that have a parent, spouse or relative in law enforcement can relate but now, today, the way things are, I can’t imagine.
Listen, I’m not blind or in denial. The state of our immigration situation is dire and I’m not a fool, not all agents are stand up but before you judge or before you say something that you don’t know too much about, remember these agents have families that they want to get home to. These agents have jobs to do and they abide by a set of morals we may never understand.
My dad told many stories where he was often called a “traidor” by his Mexican counterparts.
He also told stories of how they(Agents) leave basic necessities in the desert, like water and blankets for those who have crossed and find themselves in dire need.
Not everything is black and white. Things are very blurry in our political climate and it’s a scary time not just for immigrants but also for these men and women who have a job to do, families to support, mouths to feed. A government job is a job, a job with benefits and perks, isn’t that what we strive for?
My intent in this post wasn’t to upset anyone, I’m not in agreement with the way things are being handled or not handled. I just have a different perspective and a personal point of view. After all, we are all people with emotions and opinions. Speak yours as I have spoken mine.