Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This week, We Are America features various stories of immigrants struggling to make a living in the United States while facing significant barriers. One of them is Getachew Mengesha, an Ethiopian taxicab driver who received political asylum in 2002. He was working in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2006, eventually losing his job and finding his way to Prince George’s County, Maryland where he became a taxi driver in an extremely exploitive industry. He joined the Taxi Workers Alliance to lead a fight to update the county’s taxi code. Says Getachew, “When I came to the United States, I thought I came to a free country… but when I get into this industry, I was like a volunteer slave.” Listen to his story here.
Miguel is a Guatemala immigrant who came to the United States to make money so that he could help his sister who is very sick. He can’t travel home to visit his family because of his status as an undocumented worker. He talks to his mother three or four times a week and dreams of getting to see his family again one day. He says, “I would like to be free in my country, just as you are in yours.” See pictures of Miguel and listen to his story here.
Carlos Morales is one of many Latino immigrants who has been a victim of abuse in Suffolk County, New York. Many are too afraid to share their stories or give their names, but Carlos told his story to researches from the Southern Poverty Law Center who released the report “Climate of Fear” in late 2009. Read his story here.
Another Mexican immigrant, Teresa Mina, came to California looking for work after her husband left her alone with three children to support. She became a janitor and was able to send enough money home to pay the bills, but then was fired earlier this year when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanded that the company fire her and 473 other workers who lacked legal documents. Without a job, she’ll likely have to return to her home town of Tierra Blanca to try to find work in the fields. Read her story here.
Finally, we continue to publish certain stories or “testimonios” in Spanish, including one of our featured videos which now appears with subtitles. Aqui es el testimonia de Montserrat Arredondo.