love immigrants because they are brave
They do this so their
children will have a greater chance at happiness. I love immigrants
because they invest in the future with the biggest thing they
can invest with: their lives.from
"At the Immigration Rally: Having an open heart doesnt
mean supporting open borders -Peggy Noonan
day started out so nicely. I was finishing an article by my favorite
writer/columnist, Peggy Noonan, describing how she would like
to go out and kiss the hands of immigrants struggling to become
legal citizens of the United States. My students were reading
William Faulkners A Rose for Emily. A cool front
had come through the night before, and the students were subdued
and on task.
something strange started happening. An office aide came to get
one of my students. I was told that he was leaving for the day.
A few minutes later another student was signed out, and another,
and another, and another. It suddenly dawned on me that all of
the kids leaving were Hispanic. I knew these students were not
citizens. What's going on?
received an email from my wife that students were checking out
of her school, too, and the authorities were outside the high
school waiting for Hispanic students. Then word came that some
businesses in town had been shut down by the federales.
rumor that immigration officials were here and pursuing all undocumented
Hispanics spread throughout the area like wildfire. Could it be
true? Were the authorities coming after women and childrenin
noon almost all of our Hispanic students had gone home or into
hiding. My God, I thought. What is happening? I began empathizing
with those scared children and their families. I could only imagine
how worried and fearful they were about being deported.
that could not speak English had hurriedly come to get their kids.
Elementary students were in tears and had such fearful looks on
their faces. High school studentsthat had started kindergarten
in our school districthad panic in their eyes.
reflected back on my early experiences with illegal farm workers.
In the 1960s a few hardworking Mexican men found their way
to my hometown. They were hard workers, working for low wages.
But they were frugal, and most of the money they earned was being
sent to their families in San Luis Potosi or Guanajuato. The workers
living in our barn mostly came from the interior of Mexico. I
helped them mail money orders and letters to their families back
home. Had I done wrong?
the early 1970s a beautiful family from El Salvador found
their way to my dads farm. I remember, as clearly as yesterday,
watching the mother balance a bucket on her head as she toted
water from the stock tank to the small shack behind the barn.
Her husband worked long hours, six days a week. He built fence,
grubbed mesquites, and did other manual labor chores. The toddling
little girl would stay close to her mother and baby brother. They
were a happy family. They were here to start a new life. Their
dream was to give their children a better life than the one they
left behind in Central America.
the mother, soon began helping my mother in the house. She would
bring the two small children, Myrna and Oshmen, with her while
she cleaned and helped in the kitchen. Inez and my mother became
the best of friends. Inez, a quick study, soon learned to cook
just like Mama. I swear, I could not tell which one of them had
done the chicken 'n dumplings, turnip greens, cornbread, or enchiladas.
started elementary school and soon zoomed to the top of her class.
She was a sharp young lady and rarely could be seen without a
book in her hand. Then, Oshmen began school and quickly became
Oshmen, the father, found a better job. Within just a short time,
they were able to afford a small house in town and move closer
to his work. Mama was lost without Inez at the farm. But they
managed to stay close friends and visited regularly. They shared
recipes and family stories. Inez would make special tamales for
our family. Mama would cook them pork roast, ribs, and chicken
Flores family grew over the years with the addition of Francisco
and Christina. They became faithful members of St. Marys
Catholic Church. Their lives revolved around their family, their
friends, and their church.
my dad became terminally ill, Inez was there. Although she had
two small children, she wasnt about to stay home when she
knew Mama needed help. She would come out to the farm and help
any way she could.
when Mama was sick in the hospital, it was Inez again to the rescue.
She came every day to bathe and visit her. She asked for permission
to pin a crucifix on her hospital bed. She prayed and comforted
Mama. She took care of her every needshe innately knew exactly
what my mother would have wanted and she did it.
my mother-in-law was in the last stages of Alzheimers, Inez
was there, again. My wife taught school and needed someone to
care for her mother. So Inez would drive out to our house five
days a week. She and my mother-in-law became special friends.
Inez was a guardian angel sent to us in our times of need. She
cared for this sick lady as if she was her own mother. Inez was
compassionate and always optimistic.
special touch with my family during their time of need was probably
predicated on the fact she never got to personally say good-bye
to her own mother. She was unable to go back to El Salvador and
care for her mom or attend her funeral. I believe she expressed
her love for her own mother by caring for her adopted American
Flores family has come a long way from those days of carrying
buckets of water on their head and trying to make a living on
the hot Texas prairie. Today, they are proud American citizens.
Their story is one of hard times, struggles, and accomplishments.
They never gave up. The oldest three children are now college
graduates. Christina will soon graduate from high school.
continues to be active in her church and care for her grandchildren.
The sun shines brightly on the beautiful flowers in her garden.
Love fills her home. Her broken English has become more fluent,
and she keeps her arms reaching outwardly trying to lend a helping
hand to anyone in need.
that dark day, veinticinco de abril (25th of April), my heart
ached for all those families that had to experience such a horrible
nightmare. Fortunately, the vicious rumors were squelched within
a few days. Unfortunately, the scars remain and will do so for
a long time to come. No one in America, whether a citizen or not,
should have to live in fear of being persecuted because they seek
a better way life. America is better than that.
agree with Peggy Noonan. Having an open heart doesnt mean
supporting open borders. My prayer is that these hard-working,
family-oriented people, working in an orderly legal manner, get
the opportunity to become full-fledged American citizens and enjoy
those inalienable rights Thomas Jefferson wrote about in the Preamble
to the Constitutionthe rights of life, liberty, and pursuit
of happiness. They, like the Flores family, should be welcomed
to our teeming shores.
B. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University
of Houston. He spent most of his professional life as a Chamber
of Commerce executive in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas. Walter
served as president of the Humble, Conroe, and Galveston Chambers
of Commerce, and later as Director of International and Domestic
Business for the Greater Houston Partnership.
Walter B. Jackson