Real Immigrant Stories

photo by Celal Teber, via stock xchng

photo by Celal Teber, via stock xchng

Becoming Visible is telling the real stories of immigrant families in Alabama that are being impacted by HB 56. Whether they are “legal” or “illegal,” they are all suffering. So are many “native born” farmers, teachers, and small business owners. Please share links to this page and forward these stories via email to raise awareness as part of the Becoming Visible campaign. Each story has been edited from emails and news stories. Some of the names have been changed to protect honest immigrants from prosecution.

I AM DANIEL*
My wife and I left Mexico 16 years ago with our daughter. We arrived in Alabama and began picking plums, pumpkins and strawberries. I was a baker back in Mexico, so I started making bread to sell at home. Eventually I rented space, got a license, and paid taxes. My bakery is called Cordova Vesa in Jameson, Alabama. It was the first Hispanic-owned bakery in the state. But now, because of this law, I can’t run my business. That means no bread for my customers, no job for me, and no taxes for the state. I would become “legal” if I could, but I would have to go back to Mexico and lose my business. We all need to pull together to fix the economy, but it seems that “illegal” taxpayers and business owners are invisible.
*This real immigrant story comes from an email, and the name has been changed.

I AM ROMAN*
We immigrated illegally to Alabama 10 years ago. I’ve grown up in Birmingham, and I like hunting, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Alabama football. My friends even call me a Mexican Redneck, and I don’t mind. I was just two months away from graduation, but now I’m afraid to go to school. I was so close, the new Alabama immigration law kept me from graduating. It means that a simple traffic stop could lead to deportation. Our blinds are drawn and our bags are packed, ready to leave. My parents gave me the option to stay but I told them, “we came as a family and we leave as a family.” Once I’m gone I wonder who will miss me. Am I invisible?
*My name and my story are real. Read more about me in this interview.

I AM AURA LEE*
I’m 27, and I immigrated to Alabama illegally 11 years ago. My husband and I can’t move because I’m almost 7 months into a high-risk pregnancy. But everyday we stay we risk deportation. We are not stealing anything from anyone, we just simply ask to let us work. You know what I would say to the people that passed this law? I’d say “Don’t be selfish. We all have an want an opportunity.” But they don’t see me. They don’t see my baby. Am I invisible?
*My name and my story are real. Read more about me in this interview.

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