“Before amnesty, Mendez survived her own brushes with immigration officials. She came to the United States from Honduras, by way of Tijuana, in 1976, bringing one son with her and leaving one behind.”
“It made me very, very sad” to leave him, she says, speaking in Spanish but with a tension that is recognizable in any language. After crossing the border illegally, she came to New York, where she had previously—and legally—spent a year on a visa.
Mendez got a job in the garment industry, stitching towels. She would work for the same company for 27 years as it moved its factory from Manhattan to Hoboken to Brooklyn. Before she started, she paid $50 to get a Social Security card in her own name. It was a legitimate number, and she didn’t use it to sponge off the system. Mendez worked and paid taxes, while also sending money back to Honduras. While helping her family there, she built a life here. Working a tough, manual-labor job, she quickly established credit, got a loan for a bedroom set, and even got an American Express card…continue amnesty article.