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

NAME: Beatriz Calderon

AGE: 32

WORK: Garment worker. Earns minimum wage stitching garments for distribution to major department stores.

HOME: Ontario

IMMIGRATION STATUS: Illegal immigrant. Arrived in 1989 from the Mexican town of Erongaricuaro, Michoacan.

"I learned about my rights from my husband. He told me if La Migra ever came, that I didn't have to sign anything saying I was illegal. So I refused to sign.

"The Border Patrol agents just shook their heads. They kept asking me why I didn't want to? Finally they said OK. I filled out another paper with my name and they said, 'You're free.' Now I have to go before a judge.

"We are all working honorably here. We want to know why immigration authorities are coming to do this to us. We haven't committed any crimes. This is what makes me sad. We're working very hard every day for eight hours a day, for not very much money. There is a certain kind of racism about it.

"Before, I was afraid every day that they would come and take me. But now, after this experience that happened to me, I'm no longer afraid. I looked inside myself and now I feel stronger.

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