Friday, 18 Jan 2019

"Do not cry, it'll be worth it."

Martha Aguirre, a 20-year-old psychology student, speaks in her apartment in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, where she lives alone and attends a private college – all paid by parent cooks outside of her home. Baltimore. She is proud of them. His father's recipes were the menu of the seafood restaurant where he worked. But she misses them too. He sent her to Mexico City to study at university before President Barack Obama created a program to help Dreamers stay like her in the United States. (Raul Vera / Raul Vera)

ISLA, Mexico – The day the caravan invaded her hometown, Martha Virginia Aguirre seized a bunch of Tamales remains from the Day of the Dead Day and handed everything to the Central Americans camping in their homes. street.

She thought of her immigrant parents from Maryland, her aunts and cousins ​​from California.

For years, Aguirre was a "dreamer," an undocumented immigrant to the United States who arrived as a child. His family moved to Maryland, but at the time, the university was illegally expensive for American students. In 2011, his parents sent Aguirre and his big brother home to Mexico to finish high school and graduate.

Less than a year later, President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action Plan for Child Arrivals, which would have let him stay. Since taking office in 2017, President Trump has tried unsuccessfully to end DACA.

A federal court of appeal said Thursday that Trump could not immediately stop the program that protects the deportation of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country while they were children.

Aguirre, who is now 20 years old, has relearned Spanish, graduated from high school and enrolled in a private college in the state city of Veracruz. But she has not been hugging her parents for seven years, because if they leave the United States without papers, they may not be able to return.

In Maryland, they work long hours at a seafood restaurant and send money home to cover their education and rent. His brother, Salvador, 23, has completed high school and has not gone to university; he is a bartender in Cabo San Lucas.

When his parents miss him, his father gives him a telephone conversation over the phone.

"Do not cry," he told him. "It'll be worth it."

But in a small cottage near Baltimore on Thursday, tears flowed in her father's eyes. He has not seen his own mother since 1999. His father died in 2007.

He and his wife, who asked not to be identified for fear of being deported, held two jobs for years in the United States. She is 41 years old and is suffering from arthritis. He is 47 years old and his arms are marked by long burns caused by cooking oil.

Although Mexican migration is declining, they remain the largest immigrant group in the United States, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based research organization. Most live in America for nearly two decades and many are undocumented.

Even before Trump's election, more than a million people returned home and Aguirre said he was somewhat relieved to be away from an increasingly hostile environment. Trump called the Mexicans criminals during his campaign and promised to build a wall at the expense of the country.

"I know that I am in my country. I know I'm at home, "she said in English. "I know that if I go outside, I do not have to worry that someone will come away from my family."

Trump made similar criticisms of Central American migrants crossing Mexico and heading for the United States. But Mexicans along the road would not have it. They showered them with gifts, clothes and food.

On November 3 in Isla, as hundreds of migrants crowded into a community center and spilled into the street, Aguirre's grandmother, Martha Ascanio Dominguez, ordered Aguirre and her aunts to make them coffee and serve sweet bread and tamales left after the day of the dead. Party.

She let a long line of women use her shower and waved at them when they offered to pay. She washed their clothes and dried them. They slept on his porch.

"I did it with all my heart," said Ascanio Dominguez, pointing out that she had not seen three of her eight children since arriving in the United States in the 1990s. "When I felt sick I had such a desire for my children. "

The next day, Aguirre returned to his university town.

On her wall, she has pictures of the family trip to Lake Tahoe from the moment they lived in California. She and her mother watched the "Polar Express" together every Christmas. They are now watching him on the phone, from home.

"It's difficult because sometimes you want to go home and you want to find your mother or your father.

"You know," she said, starting to cry. "You never stop needing it in fact."

In Maryland, his father says he wants to be able to travel freely between the two countries.

"I have always worked in this country," he said with a deep sigh, noting that his original recipes were already on the menu of the restaurant where he worked. "I am very grateful to the United States."

But he said he intended to return home after finishing his university studies in psychology, probably in 2020.

"It's like his dream," said his daughter.


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