Who Appreciates America Most?

Last week we watched an Independent Lens episode on PBS. They always have interesting subjects. This one in particular we wanted to see because it took place where my husband partly grew up, in Salinas, California.

The show was titled East of Salinas and featured a migrant worker family who was filmed over a course of 3 years. One of the children, named Jose, was the only child born in Mexico so his future is uncertain. He has been in 7 schools in those three years as the family has to move a lot to either find work or escape gang violence.

One teacher, a son of a migrant worker himself, sees the potential in Jose who excels in math. He does his homework while the rest of the family watches TV. Even when he moved and went to a different school, his teacher finds him and still tries to encourage him in all aspects.

Parents work 12 hours a day in the lettuce fields and they want more for their children. But since Jose is undocumented, if he ever gets deported, he will probably not be able to return. The other kids went to visit Grandparents in Mexico but he couldn't go for that reason.

What I came away with about this story is not the whole debate about immigration, deportation, and building a big fence.

What impressed me about this little guy and many others is all they want to do is go to school. Such simple dreams. They didn't talk about fancy cars, big houses, or having the newest device. Heck, they have never seen the ocean even though it's only 20 miles away. I get angry when I read stories about spoiled rich kids in college getting drunk, falling out of their windows and dying. Either parents or the government is footing the bill and they are just shitting away their education.

Even younger kids here don't take their education seriously and appreciate the opportunity being given to them.

Kids like Jose are few and far in between as many more end up in gangs, jail, or dead. But I would still rather have this cute little guy stay and get his education and grow up to be a proud man, rather than waste education on little snots who are only looking forward to what's in it for them.

This is a picture of my husband when he was 18 in 1964 working in the fields. He only worked three summers before graduating from high school. His family weren't migrant workers, it's just where they landed when they traveled East from Boston.


Grumpy said…
That kid appreciates America, appreciates the opportunity and wants to learn. I am dumbfounded that there are so many people who don't want to give him a path to citizenship and have him contribute to our society. It's infuriating.

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