THE GREAT DIVIDE: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ON ONE DAY : UNEMPLOYED WORKER

NAME: Noemi

AGE: 24

WORK: Unemployed. Finds temporary work and sells various items.

HOME: Santa Ana

IMMIGRATION STATUS: Illegal immigrant. Entered U.S. in 1992 without immigration documents. Hometown is Acapulco.

"I was living in Tijuana and met someone who said, 'Over there in the U.S., there's work' and so on. I had planned to return. I don't like it here. I don't want to live here. I want to be with my family. But now, we don't have the financial ability to return. We came here to try our luck and to see if everything we heard is true. It's not true. Here, a person who does not work does not eat. And it's hard to find work.

"We didn't come for welfare. One comes here to work, not to get things for free. You feel badly. You know you can to something, but simply for the reason you are not a legal resident you cannot work.

"Why are the Americans racists? For all purposes, they took this land from the Indians. Now the governor, Pete Wilson, does not care for Latinos at all. his family was also immigrant. Why does he have so much rancor? Why does he keep putting down Latinos? This land was made by immigrants.

"All that's here once belonged to the Mexicans. They are the ones working for minimum pay, working in the fields, working in the hot sun. What would the U.S. be without the immigrants?

"It would be good for all the immigrants to unite and decide not to work. What would (the Americans) do? They would have to bring other immigrants from other countries to work.

"One time my husband and I went to Laguna Beach and there were a lot of Anglos. We went into one of the stores and . . . the clerks walked away from us as if we stunk. I don't like that. I am better off going back to my land where they don't yell at me."

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