This one’s a tough one for me to write. That because it’s going to seem like it borders on the political. And I’m totally an agnostic when it comes to politics. I don’t want to hear about it; I don’t care about it; I find it very annoying.
The story I’m about to tell is more of what I would call a human story. I just feel that it needs to be told.
Saturday I walked over to the mercado and the sidewalk market here in Chapala to get some of my favorite salsa. I asked the vendor at the booth beside me the price of some of her items. She had trouble understanding my less-than-stellar Spanish and I was having trouble understanding her.
A young man standing nearby stepped in to help. Obviously Mexican and with very good English skills. After I’d completed the transaction, he and I started talking.
Turns out that he’s from the States. Some twenty-five years ago he emigrated illegally to hopefully find a better life. And he did. After a series of stops and locations, he ended up in one of the “square” states where he built a life. Found steady work as a skilled laborer; married an American; had three children.
And he recently decided that the time had come for him to become a legal immigrant. So he began the process. And part of that process is that he had to return to his country of origin in order for the process to go forward.
That was almost two years ago, and he is still waiting for any answer.
So here’s a man who came clean. A family man. A contributor to the American economy. And he’s exiled from his life and his family.
Could he have been simply telling me a story? Sure. I don’t think so. No apparent reason comes to mind for him to do so. I can’t help him in any case.
Now, I’m not saying any of this for political reasons. I’m simply listening to this man and also remembering stories from other friends of mine who tried to enter the U.S. legally and how cumbersome and burdensome and long the process was and is.
It gave me pause to think about this from “the other side”.