Coachella Unincorporated, News Report, Jesus Valenzuela
SALINAS — By the time Alma Torres turned 12, her father had been back and forth between the family’s home in Michoacan, Mexico and the United States so many times that he decided it would be best to just bring the entire family to live with him in King City, California.
The elder Torres, seeing that the price of bread had increased to the point that he could no longer make a living working as a security guard at the local television station, began going to California in the mid-90s to supplement his earnings by working in the fields. But by the early 2000’s, the elder Torres had had enough.
As his daughter, now 23, puts it: “It was in 2002 when we came here for the first, and last, time.”
The Torres family was part of a wave of immigrants who arrived in the mid-90s during a period of economic and politic tumult in Mexico. In 1994, the gruesome assassination in Tijuana of presidential candidate Luis Donato Colosio spurred a massive exodus of international investors; Ernesto Zedillo, a neoliberal, was elected president; and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) inundated the country with cheap, U.S.-produced food products, at the expense of Mexican farmers.
The immigration stories told by young people, like Torres, who crossed the US-Mexico border as children, are often much different than those of their parents, who speak of days spent crossing unforgiving deserts, swimming across rivers and running full speed to avoid La Migra.
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