The Promised Land

So proud: I came to the United States during Ronald Reagan's presidency, and luckily I had the opportunity to get my citizenship back then. Many nights I cried alone hearing people refer to me as "the maid of so-and-so," and at 16 years old, it did matter to me. Back then I was taking care of a baby in Zapata, Texas, close to the Laredo border, for the grand amount of $40 a week.

It was not until my third year there that I realized I was under a terrible depression, that my life was never to be any better than living in Mexico, and it was then that I told myself that if I was to stay in this country I had to better my life and break the stereotype of Mexicans. Back in Mexico, at least, I never felt humiliated. I had to make a big decision to give up any possibility of going back to my country in order to prove to myself that when one has determination he can do anything he wants.

The humiliations and the three to four years of no freedom (can you imagine not going out of a house for months, just looking out the windows?) gave me the courage to better my life and to be a better person (was I ever bad?).

As an American citizen (now), I did march on Sunday thinking of representing the thousands of immigrants that felt the fear of participating and instead they stayed quiet, whether it was at home (or what they call home) or at their place of work.

I am hurt anytime I hear comments about immigrants; tears come to my eyes, because in a way they are talking about me. Even with proof that I am a citizen, no one can deny their blood. The funny thing about this is that the ignorance is such that people think of immigrants as Mexicans who have all crossed the Rio Grande on foot and are uneducated, when immigrants are from all countries.

People need to understand that we do not take their jobs; we apply for them and go through interviews as well, and it is up to the employer to hire the best-qualified. I have worked as a babysitter, at fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, several years within the medical field, and now I hold a professional job within a well-known international corporation.

I have achieved the "American Dream" and own my home, drive a nice vehicle, have no debts and feel so proud of what I have achieved. I am one that crossed the Rio Grande in a small launch. Please understand I did not take anything from anybody. I am now 37, had no "teen" years, no friends when I first came to Zapata or Dallas, the place I now call "home."

Many of my friends don't know my story, but I felt like sharing with you after I read your article ("Southern Hospitality," by Jim Schutze, April 13).

Linda Lopez


Let's make a deal: Thanks for another great column. Something actually political happening in this city is indeed as exciting as it is shocking.

For the longest time I, too, wondered what was going on with the supposedly large (hard-working, by the way) Mexican-American population. There were so many people coming across the border...couldn't something be done, I wondered? And then I find out, fairly recently, that it is illegal for a U.S. citizen to hold a job in Mexico. That Mexico, culturally, looks down on outsiders even more than Canada or France. At least their government does. I thought, maybe the U.S. isn't the problem...

Well, the Republicans sure are. No, we're not kicking these people (Mexicans or Republicans) out of our country...but making friends with our neighbor to the south might be a pretty good idea. They can start by learning English if they're going to live here (and why is that construed as a racist statement, anyway? I speak Spanish when I'm in Mexico, don't I?), and I'll start by voting out any politician who values capital gains over his fellow man. Deal?

Good thing there are term limits for the president. This is the kind of thing neighboring countries go to war over--at least historically. It's a good thing history never repeats itself.

Adam Woodyard


We can't handle it: I read every article you write and almost always agree with your points. I feel that your immigration march story is one-sided, however, and does not portray the macro effects of immigration on Dallas. Maybe you wrote it on the spiritual high you got from being at the rally and immersed in the moment. But if you break down the effects of this epidemic, I think you will come to the conclusion that Dallas simply cannot sustain the influx of population via social services, education, medical care, etc.

No matter what you say, Dallas is still America. And while one of the most compelling reasons for independence of the United States was "taxation without representation," I now see "representation without taxation." I appreciate your reporting and agree to disagree with you this time. I wish I could spend more time on this and elaborate, but I have to go pay 33 percent of my salary to the government before Sunday--I can assure you that they will come looking for me if I don't. Thanks for your reporting on all things Dallas.

Andy Norman


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