The following sample essay on Note to Self Imagine going into a new country in hopes for a better life. As Latinos call the migration to the United States, the American dream. But then realizing it is not as easy as everyone imagined. In the book Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez, he expressed the connections that many Latinos went through in this country. The colonization of the Spanish, the Mexicans being cheated out of their land, the separation along the Rio Bravo, and the Bracero Program one that my grandfather was as part of.
To begin with, many Latinos living in the United States face many identity problems. As Gonzales states, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are both native born, but no matter how far you go back in history stating facts, in this country you will always be an illegal alien. Even when the numbers say otherwise. Top sources state that Mexicans have the most legal immigrants in the United States.
In this book there also is the Canales family that came into the new world in the 1640s from Spain. They settled in Monterrey. Many family members established in this new world called Mexico. They quickly founded cities along the Rio Grande, with many criollos and mestizos with the hopes of power and money they convinced the mestizos with land. These new settlers had fertile lands and were self-sufficient. Many of the canales family members alongside Escandon went on a colonization expedition, with great victory.
Then of course with all this land, in the 1820s immigrants from the US, Ireland, and Germany started the Mexican war in dispute over the Nueces strip.
Unfortunately, after 150 causalities came the Treaty of Guadalupe, Mexicans gave up the strip. Now there was the Rio Grande that divided these 2 nations, the United States and Mexico. The land that was once belonged to Mexico, now taken, with new laws for lands, taxation, registration and inheritance and a new language. The new change was made by the Anglos, the white English-speaking Americans. And if you dared challenge the Anglos you were considered bandidos, also known as bandits. The Anglos believed that the Mexicans that lived in south Texas to be an obstacle to progress and were cheated out of their land. Eventually, the great depression hit, and unemployment skyrocketed, more than 500,00 Mexicans were deported during the 1930s many of them were also us citizens. But it wasnt until the onset of WW2 when there was a reversal on US policy towards Mexicans. The united states and Mexicans reached an agreement on a new program to import Mexican workers. This program was called the bracero program.
This brings me into the topic of my grandfather. My grandfather was part of the bracero program. He was hired during crop season, to work in the united states with a visa. Make a little bit of money and once the season was over, they would send all the workers back to Mexico, until they were needed again. Many of their workers found their way to stay in the US illegally. Because once your visa expires you are committing a crime, living in this country with no more permission. My grandfathers name was David Lule. He was a very hardworking man, leaving his 10 children and wife back in Mexico to make some more money for food. My mothers family was very poor back in Guanajuato, Mexico and this was a great opportunity for my moms family. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away 3 years ago, and to be honest I never really spoke to him about his journey to the US during the bracero program.
But I do remember his hands so rough and so wrinkly. I would ask him what happened to them and he would always tell me that I would soon find out. He would avoid any conversation related to his job. He was a serious man. I dont know if all those years of hard work tired him out, that all he wanted to do was smoke outside his apartment. Because of all those years working in the united states my grandfather worked his social and received a good amount for his pension. But he wasnt one of the braceros that stayed here illegally. One of my aunts; his daughter fixed his papers and then he came here legally. Then my grandparents settled in Watsonville ca. Even though I didnt get to talk to him much, I hear his stories from my aunts and uncles. I might not know much about his journeys, but I know they are not completely forgotten. That in these English books there is a little piece of what he did.
Even after written stories, history books, movements, battles, America still cant accept immigrants and the United States as one nation. Mexican and Americans are constantly being divided by the way our president speaks about Mexicans and what they bring in this country. Then there is a huge border that is making great controversy. Once again history repeats itself, like the time the Rio Grande divided the two new nations. In Harvest of Empire, he states no other Hispanic group has contributed more to the nations prosperity than the Mexicans, yet no one makes America more uneasy about the future (96). So, yes Mexican Americans can bring peoples salads, they can build the biggest sky scrappers but in this point in life are and will just be illegal Immigrants.