Undocumented Family Flees Arizona, Now Here

From The Shadows of Arizona to the Shadows of the Bay Area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Damian Trujillo reports

    I asked the father of the family of four what he feels when he hears the name of Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio.

    "Terror. Fear," said the father in Spanish.

    Family Flees Arizona

    [BAY] Family Flees Arizona
    An undocumented family from Mexico now calls the Bay Area home after leaving a state that showed them the unwelcome mat. (Published Monday, Aug 2, 2010)

    The family asked we not identify them.

    They sat in front of our cameras with the lights off to hide their identities.

    They spoke with NBC Bay Area a few weeks after arriving in the Bay Area.

    The family left Arizona after the state passed SB1070, the new immigration law, and after numerous raids by the sheriff on suspected undocumented immigrants.

    "There's no liberty to go out with the family, to the park", said the father. "We prefer to stay inside our home because at least we felt protected there."

    The family left everything behind in Arizona, jobs, friends, and family.

    "It was a difficult decision," said the father.

    His tearful wife would prefer to return to Mexico.

    But she knows that is not possible any more.

    There's violence in her home state, a state the family left 10 years ago.

     And her children, now 12 and 18 years old, are doing well in this country.

    The children say they feel like any other American kids. 

    This is home for them.

    "It's what hurts me the most", said the mother, unsuccessful at fighting back tears. "...That I won't be able to see my mom and sisters any more. But just like my mother sacrificed for us when I was young, I have to sacrifice for the good of my children".

    I told the father: "There are people who say, 'you don't belong in this country, that you're here illegally, that you should be shipped back.'

    The father replied, "I understand and respect how those people feel. But I'm doing what any father would do for his family."

    "I find it incredible how much they care for us that they give up family that are there," said their son in perfect English, now 18 years old, and about to start college.

    His 12 year old sister also speaks good English, and had a similar reaction.

    "I think it's just incredible that they would give up everything  they had in Arizona for us," she said.

    About her farther, she said, "He did a lot for us to have an education, to give us everything we had, and he had to give all that up."

    The children still keep tabs with friends in Arizona.

    The son is on Facebook constantly, and he 'Skypes' with his girlfriend whenever possible.

    He also wears a bracelet with the acronym 'PUSH' stitched on it.

    He says PUSH stands for 'Pray Until Something Happens'.

    The son is referring to immigration reform that would allow his family to 'come out of the shadows'.

    "I feel I'm a typical teenager,' he told me. "I like music, I play guitar. I feel like this is my home... Not that I landed in a spacecraft or anything like that. I feel like a typical American 18 year old. (But) when people slander you (and say), 'they're outsiders, they're illegal, they're aliens,' I don't have antennas coming out of my head. My skin isn't green. It is a little darker than others."

    The family still fears deportation, even though they submitted paperwork 10 years ago to legally live in the United States.

    They worry they'll live in darkness a while longer, constantly looking over their shoulder, hoping some day, someone will tell them it's ok, they can turn the lights on now... they can stay.