Antonia Rivera was born in Distrito Federal, Mexico. At age six she crossed the border, and she spent her youth in California before moving around the United States as part of immigration organizing movements. Eventually she received temporary protection and a work permit through DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). She writes about migration and what it means to be part of the 1.5 generation. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her daughter and works at Wells Fargo.
“I sat at a restaurant eating my last Mexican street taco. It was probably lengua, because that was my favorite.
Come tacos. Come mucho, porque si nos agarran, no nos van a dar de comer. Eat tacos, eat many, because if they catch us, they are not going to give us anything to eat,” the scrawny man shoving tacos into his mouth advised me. He had been detained before, and he knew that even if it was only a night in a holding cell, we would be hungry. I knew then, whether I made it without spending a night in jail or not, I was going to start thinking like an outlaw. Like an adventurer.
We didn’t cross the river because it was too dangerous for kids. Instead our plan was to walk across the land, dry, dusty tierra with bushes and nothing else; then through a sewer; and then over a small chain-link fence. They said when we saw the road, we would know we were in El Norte.
I was not afraid. I was saving my mother, and this was an adventure.”