Alvaro was forced to leave his wife and three children behind in Mexico when he immigrated to the United States. He made the decision after the land he was farming produced less and less over the years, despite the hard work he put into it. To help pay for the trip, his family had to sell two cows and two horses, and also take out a loan. "I asked the people at my church back home to pray for me during the trip up north. I believe that God answered their prayers and mine," he said. Alvaro's trip was dangerous and required him to jump over fences and run throughout the night.
"What's been hard for me is that people look at me and treat me differently," Alvaro said. "I don't speak English and want to learn, but it's difficult since I don't have that much time because of work. What has helped me the most is my faith, the awareness and knowledge that God cares for me. What worries me the most are the immigration raids and the police. If I'm planning on going to a store but see a police car outside, then I don't go in because I'm afraid they are going to catch me and deport me back to Mexico."
Alvaro currently has two jobs and is able to send money to support his family back home. "My family life is very limited here and I have to find my family in the church," he said. "What is discouraging to me is when I see or hear about Latino people being abused. I would love to have enough money to buy our own house for my family and return to my country of origin. I hope that God touches the hearts of Americans, and they would be able to see that immigrants are here to offer our hands and our work. That's all I want. I don't want to hurt anybody and didn't come here to be a delinquent. I hope to learn more from God and the Bible."
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.