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Immigration: Building a Bridge to a Family’s Future

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In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. – Alex Haley

I wanted to thank my great-grandparents for crossing the border into Laredo, Texas in 1906. I know it was not easy leaving everything behind in central Mexico, but they were looking for a better life here in the United States. What they did on that hot day over a century ago had a ripple effect over time that could have never been imagined. Little did my great-grandfather know how powerful his walk across the border would be.

My grandparents were carried over the border as babies by their parents.  They grew up to be very hard workers. They had a great work ethic. My grandfather was a route salesman delivering sweet bread or "pan dulce" for a local Mexican bakery. My grandmother used to shell pecans. She also worked as a maid and picked cotton with my dad, who was a boy at the time. Nothing was handed to them. Their house was located in the barrio of San Antonio. They rented the house, of course. My grandmother made all the necessary repairs to it. While my grandfather worked, she would upholster the furniture, fix sinks and toilets, and paint the house.

My dad was also a hard worker, and dedicated to his family. He did all kinds of work, from street produce salesman to steelworker, parking garage attendant to bus driver. He finished his work career as a director of building operations for the local utility company. My mother worked a for the phone company for a bit, then became a stay-at-home mom. I was one of nine kids. Nothing was handed to us either. We were poor growing up, but as kids we don't know what social class we belong to. We did not know if we were rich or poor.

I know it would be very difficult for my great-grandparents to cross into Texas today. The United States border patrol is extremely active and high-tech, with surveillance cameras everywhere. Texas Governor Rick Perry has committed 1,000 troops and $135 million for border security. Aerial drones, high-tech cameras, and the controversial border fence are all part of this policy, which will help curb the drug cartels from spilling into Texas.

I am sure that if my great-grandparents or grandparents were alive today, they would be pleased with the end result of their sweat, strain, and hardships. They would see that all of my brothers and sisters are professionals here in Texas, operating nine different households. We have a lot of professions covered. We are bankers, policemen, teachers, and insurance adjusters. By the time we all retire, we will have contributed millions of dollars in taxes. We exercise our right to vote. In the current economy things have not been easy for my brothers and sisters, but we are surviving.

I am the end result of that border crossing in 1906. My brothers and sisters and all of our families are the rewards. I hope that I am making my great-grandparents and grandparents proud.

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About Rene Arguello