Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of welcoming three very special guests to my office for lunch. A co-worker brought his mother, brother and nephew, whom had just arrived from Guatemala for a visit. Over the next hour, he and his family shared their compelling stories about family, and the hardships that come from moving to a new country and leaving everything behind.
He told us that it had been three years since he’d been able to see his mother, something that is unimaginable for most of us. And explained to us how hard it is to be living in a country without your family; something all immigrants, myself included, have to go through. Seeing him sitting next to his mother and brother beaming was a sight that I will not easily forget.
When I moved to America 12 years ago as a 10-year-old, it was very difficult to be away from my family, even though I knew I would be able to go back and see them. I am one of a few lucky immigrants who is able to do this.
He spoke about his longing to return to Guatemala to be with his family, but that helping less fortunate immigrants here in America is his calling. He also talked about how blessed he is to even be able to see his family from time to time, telling us stories of many immigrants he knows that have not been able to go back to their native home.
His brother then spoke to us about how he is thankful for his brother’s work because he understands the exploitation of immigrants that occurs daily here in the United States. My friend’s story is just one of the millions of similar stories from immigrants who live in the U.S.
Many of his stories remind me of ones I heard in the movie ‘Those Who Remain’, which I reviewed on this blog a few weeks ago. 99% of immigrants are coming to the United States to help themselves and their families. Their sacrifices should be commended not condemned. Their stories are exactly the same as the stories of the people who having been coming to the United States for over two centuries, so why should they be treated with any less respect? My co-worker finished his visit by talking about the future and the possibility of immigration reform in the United States. He said that he would love to bring more of his family to visit the United States so they could be all reunited again.
The immigrants who come to this country deserve this right. This dream will hopefully become a reality for some of the millions of immigrants who are living in the U.S. without their mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters.