'I Am Always Looking Over My Shoulder'
"I come from a very small town in Mexico, where I was living with my wife and three children until my father became very sick," said Marcario. "We were going through very difficult and rough times and didn't have enough to make ends meet financially." Marcario's parents were also living with his family, and they were financially dependent upon him. This prompted him to make the decision to immigrate to the United States. His family incurred a debt of $5,000 for the trip. Once in the U.S., Marcario was able to stay with friends who also came from the same town in Mexico. At first they let him stay on the couch but when two other families also moved in he had to sleep on the floor. "We all slept at different times, since some of us worked during the night while others worked during the day. We had to be very careful not to make any noise so we didn't wake each other up."
Marcario found that the most difficult things he experienced after coming here were learning English and trying to get a job. He now holds down two jobs and often has very little time to eat or rest in between, since he travels from one directly to the other. "I am always looking over my shoulder because I don't know when or if an immigration or police officer will show up," he said. "I'm very concerned and scared because of these large raids occurring all over the country. I'm also worried and sad because my family has gone through some difficulties and I'm not there to help them out. But I am sending them money and we are able to save."
"My life here is very simple. My main support is the church I attend and the friends I have found there. My dream for me and my family is that I would be able to save enough money to return to Mexico and start a little business, so that we could go back to living together as a family. I hope that the United States is able to recognize the contribution in labor that we as immigrants do and that many times we are not even well-paid. We are not here to harm anyone and just want to work."
Juan Daniel Espitia is a pastor in Solana Beach, California.
This account is taken from Voices of Immigration, a campaign of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) aimed at highlighting the stories of immigrants in our country. Believing that every person is made in the image of God, we seek to restore the human element to the conversation around immigration reform. Each day this week a new story will be highlighted on God's Politics, with additional ones posted throughout March at CCIR's Web site: www.faithandimmigration.org.