Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
During World War II, just before the American forces disembarked in Sicily, General George S. Patton harangued his men in his inimitable, incisive style, with this caustic oration: “When we land, we will meet German and Italian soldiers whom it is our honor and privilege to...
1: Amid the Shadows
My life in the shadows began some seventeen years ago. It was a hot April night in Tijuana, that border siren that lures both migrant and tourist with promises of boundless prosperity and unchecked lust. That night I joined a numerous army, an anonymous army. Under...
2: Of Things Lost
My father lived a very short life. He died at the height of his youth, at twenty-two, just days after I was born. He was an artisan. Had I been more sensitive during my youth, I would have done everything to preserve the sun-shaped mirror he had crafted with his...
3: My Adult Education
When I arrived in Chicago, one of the first things that caught my attention was the absence of life out on the streets. Life in the United States, I would soon learn, is lived indoors. And it was there, secluded in the intimacy of distant relatives’ houses, still bemused...
4: The Song of the Cicadas
Ask any undocumented driver what, on a regular workday, he fears most. He will likely tell you he is afraid of being pulled over. After work the shadow of illegality creeps out of factories and kitchens and rides on highways. I, however, was spared this risk for a good number of years...
5: At Work
Browsing the Internet, I read the headlines: Arizona passes law criminalizing every undocumented immigrant within its state boundaries. Last year, I read that a great number of undocumented workers in the American Apparel factory in Los Angeles had been fired...
6: The Day I Got Counted
“How about Samoan? Can I be Samoan?” My girlfriend is filling out the 2010 census. She is trying to answer the race question for me. The questionnaire came in the mail today. Ten years ago, when the previous census arrived, I glanced at it and tossed it in the garbage...
When I got word that my book would be published, I knew I’d have to add to it. The previous chapters were written between 2008 and 2010. It is now September 2012. A final and more current chapter would give me an opportunity to write about crucial developments...
About the Author, Further Reading, Production Notes