Magon: The Dreamer Chronicles, Part 2

Oct. 16, 2013 / By

Alma Torres, an undocumented college student, has become active in the comprehensive reform movement. Photo: Jesús E. Valenzuela Félix

Alma Torres, an undocumented college student, has become active in the comprehensive reform movement. Photo: Jesús E. Valenzuela Félix

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of three reports on the DREAMer movement. The first part can be read here.

The Diary of Joaquín Magón Entry 28: The Dreamer Chronicles, Part 2

Alma Torres was born in the Mexican state of Michoacan. By the time she turned 12 her father had been coming back and forth so much from the United States that the family decided that it was best to bring the entire family to live in King City, California. “It was in 2002 that we came here for the first and last time because I haven’t returned since,” says Torres.

The latter 90s in México were marked by a period of recessions. The economy was quickly deteriorating after the 1994 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Donato Colosio spurred a massive exodus of international investors and Ernesto Zedillo, a neoliberal, became president. That same year the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect inundating the Mexican economy with cheap U.S. subsidized agriculture rendering farms in México worthless; further sinking the economy into greater poverty. Greater poverty created greater emigration.

Throughout this time, Torres’ father had been migrating back and forth from México not knowing why the price in bread increased and why he couldn’t make a living working as a security guard at the local television station anymore. Then came the year 2000 when the one party dictatorship of PRI was defeated in elections by Vicente Fox of the PAN party and Torres’ father, two years later, said, enough – to the US!

The story of children crossing the US-Mexico border is always so much different from their parents who speak of spending days crossing a desert or swimming across rivers and running at full speed from La Migra. Torres’ story mirrors the stories of many youth that crossed when they were young.

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Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.