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Better Days

Immigrants throughout the history of the U.S. have come to this country with the hopes of creating a better life. The members of this Mexican family came to America separately and at different times, but held the same dreams in mind.

Porfirio Alvizu moved to Forperce, Fl. in 1979 from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Through a series of migrant farm work he ended up in Carrboro, NC in 1987. After a job landscaping, he began the roofing job he has now. In 1993, he returned to Mexico to visit his sister and found his nephew, Juan, at eleven years old roaming the streets with no shoes and killing doves for food. Within his three month visit he had adopted his nephew and took him back to America, determined to make him stay in school and give him a better life.

Maria Luisa Jaimes Corona illegally immigrated to San Diego, California with her three kids, Javier, Anna, and Jose in the spring of 1996. After her first husband, a doctor in Mexico City, left her for her sister, she sold her house and used the money to pay to get her family across the border and then to pay for the plane ticket from San Diego to Chapel Hill, where her relatives had settled. The trip had left her completely broke, and she relied on her family to help her get on her feet. Javier became friends with Juan at Chapel Hill High. On December 24, 1996, he invited Porfirio and Juan to dinner at his house. Two months later, on February 24, 1997, Porfirio and Maria Luisa were married.

The focus of this story, however, lies not in the past, but in how they are beginning their life together. Maria Luisa now owes about $3000 in penalties on her family for illegally immigrating. Once she pays these fines, since she is married to a citizen, she can begin applying for citizenship. In the meantime, they have all moved into Porfirio's two bedroom house. They pool their money and make things work the best that they can. They're good people, always laughing and cracking the occasional immigration joke. Hopefully, their hard work will start paying off.



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Cari Jackson
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