Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Teen Immigrants: the Push and the Pull

Though Annette and I work mostly with middle class families, we've met many people who felt they had no other choice but to risk it all and immigrate to the U.S. But unlike all my relatives who left their homes in Scotland, Holland, England or Germany looking for a better life in America, these kids won't pass thru Ellis Island or register their names on an immigrant roster. They are forced to sneak in, fearing for their lives, and praying to Jesus or Mary that they won't get caught...that they will find a job and be able to send some money home to their families.
"It's Horatio Alger with a Latin American dream," said Jo Anne Adlerstein, an immigration attorney in New York City.

While these immigrants may be gone for years — or forever — they're not forgotten. Every day, villagers [across Central American and Mexico] see the fruits of the labor of these teenage boys and girls who left to work in the United States.

In Vasquez, there's the house with the new, fancy red door paid for by a girl who has worked in Houston for a few years. There's the adobe that replaced the mud walls in one mountainside home — an upgrade paid for by Santiago, a 17-year-old dishwasher in a Houston restaurant. There's the big new room for his home-based business that Luis Pretzantzin, 44, built with the money sent home by his son, who has worked in Houston's Mexican restaurants since he was 15.
Click the following link to read more about Indigent families rely on teen immigrant workers from the

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