Karla Monterroso Profile picture
Jul 1, 2018 19 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I've been thinking a lot about how my Gutemalan family got to the US. I'm gonna tell you a bit about that.
So first thing you need to know is my dad and his siblings are orphans. My great grandmother and great aunt (who was the grandmother I lost this year) would go door to door find food for my dad and his siblings and his cousins. A 20 something and 93 year old, for 10 kids.
Neither could read or write but by a miracle combination of washing and ironing clothes, going door to door to ask for food, and prayer - they just barely fed 10 kids.
My grandfather had gone away for a time. My aunt, 15 at the time, went to go find him because it was time he stepped up. He did. She came back from Guatemala city to their village to get her 4 siblings and bring them back to the city.
They come back hopeful only to realize my grandfather had typhoid fever and died 48 hours from when they arrived. My aunt takes the 4 kids back and stays in the city to work. But can barely scrape by. They are all going hungry.
She writes a letter to some guy who used to live in their village who has moved to the US on the off chance he can help. He writes back 2 months later saying he's broken up with his wife, isnt in a place to help but he might know someone.
So this guy facilitates an introduction to a random Jewish family in Beverly Hills for my aunt. They ask her to write them an explanation for why they should help her.
My Tía writes a 6 page letter explaining the pain of our family story. It is the equivalent of a personal statement to college. She goes for broke writing every painful detail. She sends the letter and for 6 months hears nothing.
At month 6, she had fully given up hope and is continuing to work her tail off at 4 jobs. Still barely eating. Then a telegram comes from the American embassy.
She is surprised but heads down anyway. And at the embassy they tell her this random Jewish family has arranged for her to go to the US to be their maid. They have sent her a check to close out her affairs. She heads to the village to say goodbye to the family.
She gets on this plane to the US not knowing if she'll regret this choice. Not a single dollar to her name. Not even a phone number to anyone in the US. She's on her first ever plane ride having a panic attack.
She's 19. She has nothing but hope at this point. She arrives in LAX to see a family she doesn't know with a large sign welcoming her to the US. She can't read the sign but can recognize her own name.
She drops to her knees in this airport balling from the relief that she was not abandoned at an airport in a strange country.
Over the next decade my aunt begins the process of bringing each of her siblings. 1 by 1. Including my 14 year old father.
It was a miracle. I am here because of a miracle. Some random American family whose patriarch was a lawyer in Beverly Hills is the reason my family made it here.
And the gut punch is that this all happened in the 60's and 70's and exactly none of it is possible in our current immigration system.
For the last few months I've thought of that family so much. I've thought of that miracle so much. I am a non-profit CEO and my brother is an @AlaskaAir pilot. And legit the only reason is our hard work and that miracle.
My heart breaks every day knowing we could be providing that miracle for so many more people but the nativist suspicion of a small minority of people and those that use them keeps us from giving it.
Anyway, by the grace of God go I. Fight for more people to have miracles y'all. #EndFamilyDetention

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