An immigrant’s journey: difficult, tragic, dangerous
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Immigration. It’s a word that has started many heated arguments over the years. Whether you’re strongly for or against it, the struggle immigrants go through to adapt to American culture is undeniable.
According to sophomore Britney Paola Perez, the only thing more difficult than the acclimation is the journey, which is why this story is being shared. Around 1990, Britney’s parents and her older brother lived in a two-story luxury villa in El Défé, a small town in Mexico. Life for the Perez family was great, but Mr. Perez decided he wanted to go to America in search of something better, and ended up in Boise, Idaho. Mrs. Perez followed soon after to have her twin daughters born as American citizens.
To support the family, Mr. Perez bought a taco truck to earn money for a house and his children’s education. It would have worked, but the business fell through. It didn’t help that the family knew little English, so they decided to move back to El Défé. The truck was left in America with family, and the Perez’s finished the construction on their villa and lived out their days.
Three years down the road, Mr. Perez decided to return to America and sell the taco truck so the family could begin anew. Soon after, Britney’s father left her mother after she found out she was pregnant with her. Since Mr. Perez was currently in America trying to better their future, Britney’s mom decided she wanted to have her daughter born in America.
She went out in search of a Coyoté–a man who helps people cross the border for hefty payment–and paid him to get her out of the country with a friend. Before leaving, Mrs. Perez sent her son to family in Tijuana until his mother had crossed the border and got to Boise. Britney’s sisters were already in California with family.
Once she was done paying the Coyoté, Mrs. Perez teamed up with one of her friends to make the journey to America. Both decided it was best to keep her pregnancy a secret, because she was afraid the group making the journey might not allow her to travel with them otherwise. The Coyoté picked up the people he was going to guide across the border and began the first part of their journey: an eight hour walk across desert plains, nearing towards a rest stop.
Mrs. Perez had been preparing for the rigors of the journey, so she wasn’t easily fatigued, but the group had to duck and hide numerous times from police cars patrolling the plains. Mrs. Perez once hid in a big sewer tunnel with a gaping hole while the police cars humming vibrated right above of them. The motor shook loose some rocks in the tunnel, forcing the travelers to keep quiet while rocks and dust fell around them, clouding their vision and breathing?.
This was one of many tragedies to befall the group. At some point the group heard Mrs. Perez’s friend had been choked and raped by one of the men in the group. Left unattended, the woman died and was abandoned. Though some were sad to know it had happened, it wasn’t uncommon and most expected such violence to happen sooner or later.
Eventually Mrs. Perez decided it was time to tell the group she was pregnant. Some were outraged and others were indifferent, but the Coyoté decided they were too far on their journey to take her back, and if she was left behind she would surely die.
Soon they arrived at the rest stop after eight hours of treacherous desert, and the man who owned the property decided Mrs. Perez should sleep inside the actual home due to her being with child, while the rest of the group had to sleep in a shed. So long as the people were sleeping far away enough, the man who owned the house could not be held accountable for harboring them.
While others slept in the shed of sorts, Mrs. Perez decided to cook food for the travelers in the morning as a way of showing her gratitude at their not leaving her behind.
In the morning once everyone was fed, most of the group piled into a truck, which took them halfway to the border. Mrs. Perez hid between the backseat and the trunk, so no one could find her if the police checked.
The group had to walk the rest of the way, and didn’t stop until Mrs. Perez reached Arizona, where she met an uncle who would drive her all the way to Boise–where her two daughters and son were waiting.
Soon after, Britney was born on April 25.
The family has been living here ever since 2001. To this day, the family makes frequent visits back to Mexico to visit some family they left behind.