From the Author
Writing about current events while the political landscape is rapidly changing sometimes feels like playing Whac-a-Mole. An executive order pops up and you whack it with a mallet, only to have a slew of Senate proposals appear, followed by contradictory House versions. Whack, whack, whack. As of this writing, it's still unclear if young people under DACA will be able to stay in the U.S. ornot, if they and their families will have any possible path toward becoming citizens or not, or what the future may bring to the millions of people throughout the world hoping for permission to legally enter the United States.
As a novelist, I get to respond to all this uncertainty by reminding my readers that this is a work of fiction.
Still, I prefer to stick as closely to facts as possible when crafting a story. Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario was an eye-opening source for me to learn about the treacherous path taken by thousands to attempt to enter the U.S. from the south. Thanks to Dave Goldwater and Chris Ruppert for recommending that excellent book to me. The Beast - Mexican freight trains carrying travelers north atop their cars - is real. Violent attacks on migrants by gangs or thieves are real. Tragically, families being torn apart because of their varying immigrant statuses are most certainly real.
My great-grandparents came to this country in the late 1800s. Husbands arrived first, getting themselves situated with work and a place to live before sending for wives and children, siblings, and other relatives to follow. Many were fortunate enough to be allowed to reunite with family. A few discovered the quota for "their people" had been reached, so they were forced to find a lengthier and more circuitous route to America. But they eventually were able to enter. I assume legally, but I don't know that for a fact.
If you live in the U.S., you may have a similar story about your family. Were your ancestors living here before it became the United States? Were they brought here forcefully? Perhaps they felt unsafe in their prior country, or saw no future for themselves or their children there.
This is not the first time in history that some Americans have shunned immigrants. Whenever large numbers of people arrived here who seemed "different" - Jews or Catholics or Muslims; Irish or Germans or Italians or Chinese - there have been some who rejected and resented their arrival. As time passes, many of these groups become more accepted and we recognize the xenophobia of the past. But we do it all again with another group.
It is my sincere hope that this story will touch the hearts of its readers, reminding all of us that the immigrants seeking a better life are just like us - mothers and fathers, sons and daughters - real people with goals and dreams who should not be shunned simply because of the accident of where they happened to be born.