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Lorena and Jesse Perez

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This is the story of Lorena Perez Huerta and Jesse Jesus Perez, who married in Mexico and crossed the border to live with Jesse's family in California at great risk. They worked to provide opportunities for their children and Lorena defeated cancer while pregnant with one of her sons.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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The year was 1997 and my beautiful mother, Lorena Perez Huerta, was 17 years old living with 7 other people including her parents in a small house in Jalisco, Mexico. My mom’s family back then, went to church every sunday because they were really religious and my mom had no choice. My father, the man, the myth, the legend, Jesse Jesus Perez, was 23 years old living with his family as well and also happened to live in Jalisco, Mexico but he was born in California.

My parents meet each other at a church in the city but the only difference is that my dad was born in California and my mom was born in Mexico. Time when on and my my mom was pregnant with my twin brothers Chris & Jesse.My parents were old enough to make their own decision and had to come to a conclusion that they had to come to California where my dad’s family were living so my brothers can be considered “legal”.

My dad then offered my mom to stay with him and my mom was willing to do so but the only problem was that she is an immigrant and she doesn’t have her papers. My parents were devastated for a moment but then my parents came across an idea.

The idea was that my dad goes through the border in a big truck and in the passenger seat there was a bunch of gallons of gas. My mother, being the heroic person that she is, was hiding under all those gallons of gas and she had to cover herself with gas as well so the dogs won’t sniff her and bark. My mom passed the border, illegally. My mom risked it all. She could’ve got caught and been put in jail but she was brave enough to just do it so my brothers can have a better life and have their papers. It wasn’t the best idea, but it worked.

It really hurts me that even now, many people still struggle to migrate to different places because there are considered “illegal”. To be honest a lot people come to just sell drugs or do bad stuff but in the other hand there are a lot of people trying to escape their country or state because of how bad, dangerous, and unsafe it is, such as my mom. My mom didn’t want to come just for a vacation or for herself in general. The only reason why my mom crossed that border with so many guards is because she wanted my brothers to have a good life and didn’t want them to grow up to be a bad person. She wanted them to have opportunities.

Life went on and my parents were happy and enjoying their life. My mom just turned 21 but she couldn’t drink or anything like most girls would do when they turn 21 because she was pregnant with my older brother, Erick. When she was pregnant she was feeling really sick so she went to the hospital and it turned out that she has diagnosed with cancer. Some days went on and the doctors told my mom that if she were to have my brother then the baby would come out with disabilities because the medicine they gave her was really strong. My mom didn’t care she just wanted to have the baby. My older brother Erick came out healthy and strong. My reckless, unstoppable, loving mother defeated cancer.