My mother’s journey of legal immigration

My mother legally immigrated from Mexico to America. My mom and her family were very poor, but they persevered and made it. It’s kind of shocking that her story and how her life began is completely different than mine. It shows the long term benefits of legally immigrating to America and why so many people want to come to this country.

My mother’s childhood was not pleasant in the slightest. She worked a lot when she was little, and lived in a little shack in Mexico. She ate things that I could never imagine, like field mice and grubs. When I compare how she lived to how I live now, I’m inclined to think about the benefits that legally immigrating provides.

In Mexico, my mother lived in a poor town, and lacked things that I consider basic necessities. She had no shower, no running water, no TV, no road, and no floor in her house. Her family had to wash their clothes at the river, and again, ate things like field mice and grubs. Then they went through the long process of getting the money and the sponsors to come to America, and even though they were still incredibly poor, their life was much better.

In America, my mother grew up in Oakland. She lived in a poor area, but she had running water, a roof, a floor, and a TV. The thing my mother said she was most happy about was the fast food. She discovered a whole new world filled with KFC, McDonald’s, pizza, and and Chinese food.

I consider all of these things normal and often take for granted the fact that I can hop on my bike and ride to McDonald’s to pick up a Big Mac. I take the fact that I have running water every day and a roof over my head for granted. I’m grateful that my mother and her family immigrated, and that I get to experience the life I have now with all the luxuries she didn’t have when she was little.

She and her family did it the right way. They came here legally, got all the necessary papers and documents and became citizens. They didn’t have to worry about being deported or being caught for fake Social Security numbers. They just worried about getting a job and making their life better in their new home.

Legal immigration, these days has become more paperwork-intensive that’s for sure, thankfully places like are not hard to find when you need legal aid. The benefits of legal immigration can not be overstated, not only for the people immigrating, but the descendants of those immigrants.

One thought on “My mother’s journey of legal immigration

  • September 29, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Thank you for this lovely piece, which gives tribute to your mother. It is also moving how the contrast between your lives helps you appreciate the life you have been given here. I would like to say that your mother was fortunate in being able to immigrate legally. At this point in time, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for most people to immigrate to the U.S. But many people in Mexico still live in the same difficult conditions and/or live with the threat of violence every day. So the impetus to come here is the same; the fact that you prefix every reference to immigration with “legal” seems to separate and distance yourself from the many of our neighbors who have had to come without legal permission. To my mind, they deserve sympathy and support also. They are the hardest workers I know, and often still have difficult lives. Please, do not let us be divided against each other. That is painful and unnecessary. Together we can accomplish a lot and keep this country great!

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