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  • Kenneth Park

Quiet Lives

Adolfo* has been working for the same employer for over 15 years. He is reliable, attentive to details and is proud of the work he does and the fruits of his labor. He has never been arrested, has never been in trouble of any kind, loves his son and nieces and nephews, and lives his life, quietly.

Esteban has a family. His wife joined him 14 years ago, about a year after he came to the area, and they decided to make their lives here. He has been a steadfast breadwinner for her and their four children. The oldest son just received an award in school for academic excellence. His wife provides care for other families, and has integrated into the community through providing a needed service. They live their life, quietly.

Marta and Daniel met, fell in love, and were married 11 years ago. They went through some hard times, but have settled into a steady routine of working, caring for their two children, and preparing for the birth of a third child in the near future. Marta’s sister and brother in law, their children, and her father all live in the area, all living quiet lives.

While each of them are special to me and my family, they are not unique. They are not the exception that proves the rule.

The overwhelming majority of the folks I have come to know are simply focused on one thing: making a go of it. Making a life for their families and themselves. Being responsible, caring, good neighbors and good citizens. They are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work, to live, to take care of their families in an environment that is economically and socially viable for them.

They are happy to live in a place where they don’t have to worry about Drug Lords sending terror into their neighborhoods, where their employer respects their work and their efforts and pays them a living wage, where they can depend on electricity and water and sanitation, and good roads. Where they can occasionally splurge, and take the kids to the beach or to a theme park.

They have come to this place and have decided to give the best of their abilities: their youth, their strength, their effort, to anyone who is willing to hire them and give them that opportunity.

Most of them are here without proper documentation. They would have, if they could have, GLADLY gone through the process to obtain those documents, but the system is not conducive to that. The work that they do, the jobs they fill, are ones that native born citizens are unwilling to do, or there are not enough people willing TO do that work.

So they keep their heads down, and live quietly meaningful lives.

Kenny Park

*All names have been changed

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