Imagine being thirteen years old, living “the dream” and enjoying your life until your father says, “pack up we are moving to a different country.” Any person would be in shock after hearing someone say that to them against their will, let alone a teenage girl. Gloria Aguilar was told this by her father in the year 1962 that she would be moving to the United States of America from Jalisco, Mexico. She was living a very luxurious, middle class lifestyle with all her family. She had lots of friends and family who loved her. She lived in a fairly nice house and went to a good school. Gloria’s father had obtained a workers permit to work the fields for himself, Gloria, and her older brother. Gloria, her brother, and her father came by car across the border traveling for seven days. When Gloria Aguilar left Jalisco, Mexico in 1962 at the age of thirteen, she was leaving behind a great life, family, and friends. Her expectations were to find “The American Dream” of a better education, become better off financially, and for her experience to be “like heaven”. When Gloria reflects on her journey she believes she has overcame a lot and met her expectation of the American Dream.
Gloria was expecting to live a better life than she was living when she arrived to California. She soon came to realize she would not have that option. Gloria had to work the olive trees climbing up and down daily to meet her daily quota. In 1963, there was a letter to Congress which basically stated in order for immigrants to obtain citizenship they must first be looked at for “(1) the skills of the immigrant and their relationship to our needs [United Stated]; (2) the family relationship between immigrants to the person already here” (Kennedy). This helped immigrants who were coming into the United States to make the process faster. For Gloria’s family, it was the fact that they were coming to be farm workers. Gloria spent six to nine months out of the year traveling back and forth to Mexico and Woodlake, CA. Gloria, her brother and her father took these long exhausting trips from Mexico to the United States until she turned 18 years old. Although the scenery was just as perfect as she pictured it would be, her daily life was not. Gloria’s father no longer allowed her to get an education. She was always constantly working to make ends meet. There was no telephone to communicate with her friends and family. In the home she was staying in there was a television to help the time go by. Gloria also had a radio to help with the passing of time. “Kennedy’s domestic efforts were in their infancy when an assassin’s bullets struck him down November 22, 1963” (Understanding the American Promise). Kennedy died before he could fulfill the many promises he made to Americans of economic growth. The radio was the way Gloria and her family learned of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This was a major concern for her and her fellow Mexican immigrants because John F. Kennedy was an advocate to bettering the immigration systems. “While JFK’s right legacy is widely recognized, less attention has been paid to his record championing reform that ended an era of deeply discriminatory immigration laws” (Doris). President Kennedy had a power and great had a great vision for immigration that could change the face of America forever. She was in shock and in utter sadness when she learned of the news. The whole country could not believe what had happen. The Immigration Act of 1965 eliminated ancestry, race, or the national origin as a basis for immigrants. It created many fundamentals that still stand in today’s system for legal immigration into the United States. Not speaking English and not having anyone to teach her made life harder for Gloria. The lack of understanding English kept her from having American friends. This made her feel very isolated and like she was in a “deep hole”. The feeling of being isolated was not a feeling Gloria was used to. It wasn’t...
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